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      Report: Rak-Sakyi brace gives Palace late victory v Brighton

      Crystal Palace U23
      Rak-Sakyi 76' 90+5'
      Brighton and Hove Albion U23

      Jesurun Rak-Sakyi scored twice in the second-half to seal a crucial victory for Crystal Palace Under-23s against Brighton & Hove Albion, after a brusing encounter at the Academy ground.


      • Brighton dominate the opening exchanges, Wells-Morrison stooping to clear off the line early on.
      • Miller breaks through twisting and turning, but Whitworth stands tall and saves.
      • Rak-Sakyi cuts inside and fires low to force a smart save from McGill.
      • Ferguson gets in behind, bouncing from tight angle, fires over cross bar.
      • HT: Palace 0-0 Brighton
      • McGill denies Gordon and Rak-Sakyi in quick succession as Palace break forward with real intensity.
      • Gordon and Malachi Boateng receive lengthy treatment for a clash of heads.
      • Rak-Sakyi gives Palace the lead from close range after the ‘keeper was charged down by Omilabu.
      • Puepilon strikes the inside of the post as Brighton seek an equaliser.
      • Rak-Sakyi seals all three points with his second, pouncing on another defensive error.
      • FT: Palace 2-0 Brighton

      Much as in the recent game between the senior sides this season, Brighton dominated possession for much of the first period – but it was Palace who had arguably the biggest chance.

      The Seagulls were intense in the press and won the ball back high up the field, trying time and again to cause problems for Dan Quick and Noah Watson by firing passes beyond the back-line for the forwards to latch on to.

      Quick’s manoeuvre forwards was cut out early on, with Evan Ferguson advancing and trying to dink the ball over Joe Whitworth, but Jack Wells-Morrison stooped to head the ball off the line before a visiting player could apply the finishing touch.

      Todd Miller was the next to break through, one-on-one with Whitworth as he tried to twist this way and then that to throw the Palace ‘keeper off balance; Whitworth stood tall and blocked the shot, and another Brighton chance went begging.

      With an attacking trio of Scott Banks, John Kymani-Gordon and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi to call upon, Palace were always going to be a danger whenever they made a foray into the Brighton half, and it was the latter who came closest to opening the scoring.

      Cutting in from the right-hand side, he moved into the penalty area and fired low towards the near post, forcing Thomas McGill into a really smart save.

      It was an isolated incident in a tricky first-half for the Eagles however, and the break arrived in familiar circumstances as Ferguson fired over the crossbar from the angle.

      Palace were improved after the break but Brighton were showing no sign of easing up either, and a more physical game developed. Cameron Peupion’s arrived at the far post to volley towards goal, but Whitworth was equal to it once again and pushed over the crossbar.

      On the break, Rak-Sakyi found Gordon whose shot from the angle was parried, the ball falling to Rak-Sakyi in the area but his shot without the requisite power to trouble McGill.

      The second-half was disrupted by a lengthy injury break, as a clash of heads between Gordon and Malachi Boateng led to a lengthy period of treatment for the pair; David Boateng and Aidan Steele came on to replace them.

      When the game eventually restarted Palace made the most of their fresh legs, forcing Brighton further and further back into their own half. Eventually it paid dividends.

      McGill took one too many touches on the ball and David Omilabu pounced, nipping in to guide the ball towards Rak-Sakyi who slotted home to give Palace the lead. Having soaked up the pressure, the Eagles had struck with devastating effect and had a lead to protect.

      Peupion did his best to get Brighton back on level turns. Advancing into the Palace box, a number of stepovers gave him the space to move onto his right foot and shoot, the ball cannoning off the inside of the post and back out to safety.

      Moments later he was in again, this time Whitworth standing tall and making the save.

      For all their attacking endeavour, however, Brighton were let down at the last by defensive mistakes - and once again Palace were there to capitalise.

      Stumbling over a pass into the six-yard box, the visiting defenders found themselves in all sorts of trouble and Rak-Sakyi was the fastest to react, scoring his second and sealing three valuable points for Paddy McCarthy's side.

      Palace: Whitworth (GK), Rodney, Quick, Watson, Hannam, M. Boateng (D. Boateng, 71), Wells-Morrison, Kirby (Phillips, 54), Banks (Omilabu, 61), Gordon (Steele, 71), Rak-Sakyi.

      Subs not used: Goodman (GK).

      Brighton: McGill (GK), Offiah, Turns, Roberts, Furlong, Spong, Leonard, Peupion, Caicedo, Miller (Eneme-Ella, 82), Ferguson.

      Subs not used: Beadle, Tanimowo, Dendoncker, Hinchy.