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      U18s Report: Akinwale winner seals third-place finish for the young Eagles

      Crystal Palace U18
      Akinwale 27'
      Fulham U18

      Crystal Palace Under-18s signed off their remarkable 21/22 Under 18 Premier League South campaign with a third-place finish, thanks to leading goalscorer Victor Akinwale’s 27th goal of the season to see off Fulham.


      • Rob Quinn made three changes to the side, with Laurie Shala, Adler Nascimento and David Obou coming in for Owen Goodman, Maliq Cadogan and Fionn Mooney

      • Nascimento’s shot was saved, whilst Joe Sheridan headed over in the opening 10 minutes

      • Victor Akinwale opened the scoring for the young Eagles with a dinked effort in the 27th minute

      • Nascimento and Freddie Bell had efforts late on in the half from distance

      • Half-time: Crystal Palace 1-0 Fulham

      • Fulham started the second-half brighter and enjoyed a strong spell

      • Play was intermittently delayed due to a number of injuries to both sets of players

      • Akinwale nearly netted a second five minutes from time

      • The Cottagers hit the post in additional time, but Palace held on

      • Full-time: Crystal Palace 1-0 Fulham

      A week on from the 2-1 triumph over Brighton & Hove Albion, the young Eagles welcomed Fulham to Copers Cope for their final game of the season.

      Manager Rob Quinn made three changes to the side that beat the Seagulls, with Laurie Shala, Adler Nascimento and David Obou coming in for Owen Goodman, Maliq Cadogan and Fionn Mooney.

      Nascimento caused a number of problems for the Fulham defence early on. After winning the ball back high up the pitch, he forced a corner which skipper Joe Sheridan got on the end of. His looping header was well met, though it looped over the bar.

      The winger then had an effort saved by Alfie McNally in the Fulham goal in the 10th minute, after great work down the left from Vonte Williams and Victor Akinwale.

      Fulham grew into the game after Palace’s initial dominance in the early exchanges, however neither side really fashioned any chances until Akinwale opened the scoring halfway through the first half.

      Williams did well to win the ball on the halfway line and then pushed on into the final third. Though he initially lost the ball to the recovering Fulham defence, he flicked a loose ball into the path of Akinwale and the striker made no mistake to chip the ball over McNally with a first-time effort.

      With the goal advantage, Palace started to control the game and enjoy more of the ball. Late on in the half, Nascimento and Freddie Bell had efforts from distance, though their efforts were saved and deflected out respectively.

      After the interval, the west Londoners emerged with a spring in their step. They started to enjoy more of the ball and penned the young Eagles back into their own half.

      Despite this, Palace arguably had the better chances. Matty Vigor floated in a ball towards the far post which Ademola Ola-Adebomi got on the end of, though the striker couldn’t make clean contact and saw his effort deflected out for a corner.

      With 20 minutes remaining, Akinwale went on a surging run from inside the Palace half and managed to evade challenges all the way to the Fulham byline. He cut the ball back across goal, inviting a touch, but no one from either side could get anything on it.

      Palace stood firm to deny a late surge from Fulham as the game approached stoppage time. Shala was called into action to deny a long range effort from second-half substitute Lemar Gordon.

      It was all hands on deck as Fulham hit the post two minutes into the five allotted minutes of stoppage time. Delano McCoy-Splatt’s free-kick late on cannoned back off the woodwork and the followup from Oliver Sanderson was blocked by Ola-Adebomi inside the six-yard box.

      The Cottagers’ onslaught was brought to an end by the referee’s whistle. The victory means the young Eagles finish the Under 18 Premier League South season in third place, behind West Ham United and winners Southampton, but ahead of the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion.

      Crystal Palace: Shala, Addae, Williams, Bell, Sheridan, Trialist, Nascimento (Barton, 78), Vigor, Akinwale, Obou (Agbinone, 64), Ola-Adebomi.

      Subs not used: Izquierdo, Leonard, Dixon.

      Fulham: McNally, Lanquedoc, Parkes, Robinson, Benjamin, Okkas, Caton (Parker, 75), McCoy-Splatt, Sanderson, Olakigbe, Works (Gordon, 65).

      Subs not used: Amissah, De-Jesus, Loupalo-Bi.