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U18s Report: Crystal Palace 4-1 Charlton Athletic


The high-flying Crystal Palace under-18s continued their unbeaten start to the season with a resounding 4-1 victory at home to fellow south Londoners Charlton Athletic.

It was a quick start for the Eagles, who took the lead in the fifth minute, when Francis Baptiste's well timed run was rewarded with a gift of a cross, which he directed beyond the goalkeeper and into the far bottom corner with his right foot.

Palace's number eight was a regular threat, driving forward with the ball and bringing his teammates into play. He, Joseph Hungbo and Brandon Oddy combined well on a number of occasions, but struggled to double the home side's advantage.

Charlton levelled things up on half an hour, when a deep corner was guiding over the line from close range, but their joy was shortlived.

Five minutes later, Oddy - preying on a loose ball and hesitant defence - ghosted in behind the Addicks' backline to guide a header over the onrushing goalkeeper to nestle in the net and restored the Eagles' lead.

On the cusp of half time Oddy had his second and Palace's third of the game. Superb work from left wing-back Joshua Malcolm created the chance, as the number 11 wriggled free of several opponents before teeing up the Eagles' number nine for a close-range prodded effort, which left the goalkeeper no chance as it squirmed into the far bottom corner.

Half time saw Malcolm withdrawn and James Daly return after a spell out through injury to get 45 minutes under his belt on the left flank.

Charlton had half-chances in the second period, but rarely threatened enough to give Paddy McCarthy's side real cause for concern - and the Eagles still looked likely to add another on the break. Baptiste, Hungbo and Oddy were full of running and continued to give the visitors a worry whenever they got on the ball.

Eventually it was Baptiste who added the fourth, meeting an inch-perfect cross with a thumping header to leave the goalkeeper no chance on 74 minutes.

Palace saw out the game comfortably with Watson and Gurung replacing Boateng and captain Hungbo in the final minutes.

"The result was fantastic, 4-1 against local rivals, a team that finished second last year, so we knew it was going to be tough," McCarthy said after the game.

"The result was really good, but the performance I wasn't too pleased with to be honest. People probably think I'm nuts, but I know my team, I know my individuals and I know what we're capable of. Last ditch defensive blocks and some fantastic forward play by Brandon Oddy, Francis Baptiste and Joe Hungbo really got us out of what could have been a sticky situation."

Crystal Palace XI: Funnell; Ossai, Onoabhagbe, Mitchell; Robertson, Boateng (Gurung, 84), Hanson, Malcolm (Daly, 46); Baptiste, Hungbo (Watson, 90); Oddy.

Subs: Webber, Elliott.

GOALS: Baptiste (5, 74), Oddy (35, 45)