The game started with a good tempo and the young Eagles immediately took control of the game, dictating possession and trying to find wide players Tetteh-Quaye Addy and Brandon Aveiro as early as possible. There were a number of dangerous crosses that came in from Addy, Aveiro and Dylan Thisleton at right back, but the QPR centre backs did well to prevent any clear cut opportunities in the opening stages.
The first real sight of goal came for the South Londoners in the 19th minute as Malachi Boateng intercepted a pass from QPR’s Henry Hawkins, Thisleton then found Addy and after struggling to shoot himself Palace’s winger played it back to Boateng who tested Max Little in the QPR goal. From the resulting corner, the away side struggled to clear their lines, but John-Kymani Gordon’s shot was deflected and rolled safely into Little’s hands.
Having barely threatened Jacob Russell in the Palace goal, QPR won a corner following some good defending from Noah Watson. Alex Aoraha played a high ball in and the extremely tall Hamzad Kargbo towered over the Palace defence to head past a helpless Russell.
The Eagles responded instantly - Rob Street controlled the ball on the edge of the six yard box and he swivelled and shot hard and low, with Jude Russell pouncing on the rebound to find the net. The home side continued to look the more threatening side and in the 41st minute they deservedly took the lead.
John-Kymani Gordon received the ball with his back to goal on the halfway line, and with a lovely flick set Addy away. Addy released Aveiro on the left wing who calmly slotted the ball with his side foot into the bottom right corner; an impressive finish from the wide man who had looked threatening throughout the half.
With a minute left on the clock, Gordon pressed well and won the ball deep in QPR’s half, he played through Addy who coolly slotted the ball with his left into the bottom left corner - sending Palace into the break with a well deserved 3-1 lead.
The second half began much as the first half had concluded, McCarthy’s side completely on top with every player pressing well and keeping good possession in dangerous areas. QPR’s Kargbo up front did very well generally to hold the ball up and he had several pot shots from long range, but he cut an isolated figure, largely due to Cardo Siddik and Russell's presence at centre half.
In the 50th minute, Addy played a well weighted pass through to Aveiro who had just the keeper to beat and he tried to round him, but Little did enough. The chances kept coming for the Eagles with Addy at the heart of the action again, he played a pass over to Gordon on the right wing who waited for arrivals in the box, before Addy volleyed past the post.
The decisive fourth goal came in the 61st minute and it was a well worked team goal. Thisleton played in Addy who released Street down the right. Aveiro then played a clever extra pass to the onrushing Aiden Steele whose left foot strike left Little in the lurch.
Hamzad Kargbo pulled QPR back into the game at 4-2 to Palace with 18 left to play, in a rare attack for the young Hoops. Moments later, a poor goalkeeper kick enabled Aveiro to drive into the box and blast the ball into the top right corner to get his second and his side's fifth and complete an excellent performance from the young Eagles.
Watch Palace U18s travel to Wolves in the FA Youth Cup Fourth Round on Thursday 16 January (19:00 GMT) for free on Palace TV.
Crystal Palace: Russell, Thisleton, Watson (Bello, 73), Steele, Russell (Quick, 65), Siddik, Aveiro, Boateng, Street, Gordon, Addy (Omilabu, 77)
Unused subs – Smith, Gonzalez, Rak Sakyi
QPR: Little, Paiva, McClean, Orafu (Franling, 45), Mahorn, Hawkins, Agunbiade (Griffiths, 56), Aoraha, Kargbo, Hayes, Mema (Eze, 75)
Unused subs – Middlehurst