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      U18 Report: Crystal Palace 3-1 Bolton Wanderers

      Crystal Palace U18

      A thrilling 3-1 home win over ten man Bolton Wanderers secured Palace's under-18s a place in the League Final.

      Bolton had a lot of the early possession, controlling the ball in the centre of the park, but Palace looked the more likely to find a way through, with Sean Robertson having a few half-chances to worry the visitors.

      Ryan Hanson put a diving header over the crossbar at the back post early on and Rohan Luthra was forced into a smart save at the other end as both sides fought for their place in the final.

      A smart last-ditch challenge from Drew Matthews denied the visitors the opening goal in what was a physically demanding encounter. Tackles were flying in from both sides and the Eagles did well to match the aggression of the visitors, who tried to intimidate the Champions in order to seize momentum.

      Half time came and went with the game goalless, but a fast start to the second period saw Palace take the lead. A long ball up the field was flicked on expertly by big Rob Street and Sean Robertson was too quick for the Bolton defence. The winger took a touch and coolly slotted it beneath the on-rushing goalkeeper to give the Eagles the advantage.

      Ten minutes later and Street nearly doubled the lead. Joseph Hungbo's inviting cross found the number nine at the back post, but his header bounced into the ground and looped up for the goalkeeper to tip over the crossbar.

      Bolton began to ask questions of Palace's resolute back line. An attack on 72 minutes brought rewards for the visitors as a clearance fell to the Trotters' skipper on the edge of the area and he made no mistake in smashing a volley over Luthra's head and under the crossbar to level things up.

      The Eagles responded well to having their wings clipped, taking the game to Bolton once again. Two minutes after the equaliser Hungbo tore through on goal. He was too quick for the defence and bore down on goal, with the ball sitting kindly on his favoured left foot. A reckless last-ditch challenge from a desperate defender saw him dragged back and clamped in a scissor challenge on the edge of the area - leading to a straight red card and Palace free kick. Hungbo took it, but narrowly missed the target.

      Palace looked to turn the screw against ten men and finally regained the advantage on 84 minutes. Hungbo found Robertson on the left and he drove in-field into the box, beating a defender and shaping to shoot before deftly rolling the ball backwards into the path of Hungbo, who - in space created by Robertson's ingenuity - was able to take a touch and rifle the ball low into the far corner.

      With the game looking like it was Palace's Bolton attempted one last throw of the dice minutes after the 90 had been played, sending the goalkeeper up for a corner. Russell dealt with the set piece and fed Robertson on halfway. The winger looked up and tried his luck from 40 yards, but the shot hung in the air and was set to go wide, but for the endeavour of David Boateng. The industrious central midfielder chased the ball down, neck and neck with a Bolton defender, and got his toe to it as it was about to cross the line for a goalkick, angling it between the posts to wrap things up.

      The win means Palace are in the final, details of which will be available shortly.

      Luthra; Russell, Matthews, Ossai; Pierrick, Hanson, Boateng, Malcolm; Robertson, Hungbo (C); Street.

      Subs: Russell, Gurung, Donkin, Watson, Baptiste.