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U18s Report: Eagles fall to resolute Millwall in difficult conditions

Crystal Palace U18

Paddy McCarthy’s Crystal Palace made the short journey to Millwall this afternoon, looking to extend their three-game winning streak as the home side looked to put daylight between the two mid-table sides.

The game kicked off in blistering wind and heavy rain. The torrid conditions helped Millwall earn a lead within a minute and a half of play. Jacob Russell in the Palace goal cleared the ball but Millwall’s No.5 sent it straight back and watched the wind carry it high into the net. 

Palace’s unfortunate start gave Millwall confidence to take control of the opening exchanges, and soon their No.8 stormed past Tayo Aderamola with pace and power and shot straight at Russell who got down well. 

Neither side really took control of proceedings in the opening 15 minutes as the rain and wind were a definite factor in what felt like a scrappy start.

The Eagles struggled to create anything of any real note as Millwall defended resolutely, with only a TQ Addy shot falling into the home ‘keeper’s gloves. The hosts continued to pile on the pressure and threatened along the right-wing. Siddik dealt with a dangerous cross from the Millwall right-back as the Palace defence were sent a clear warning sign. 

The warning sign soon materialised into something more concrete and, in the 15th minute, Millwall made it 2-0. The Lions’ right-back overlapped extremely well to make his way up the wing and drove a low ball into the No.10, who took a touch away from Siddik and fired hard into the bottom left corner. 

Millwall deservedly sat in the game’s driving seat following the smart finish from their alert striker, but 10 minutes later Place almost pulled a goal back. The Palace skipper, Jashaun Chamberlin-Gayle, played a splitting pass through to Aidan Steele who in turn found John-Kymani Gordon to cut in and fire a beautiful shot just over the top right corner.

Minutes before ending, the half looked as if it would finish with Millwall holding a 2-0 lead. However three minutes before the whistle the home side were gifted a third goal. 

Palace’s Denzelle Olopade collected the ball in the box but, facing his own goal, his attempted back-pass was short. The Millwall No.8 pounced with a calm finish into the bottom right. 

The opening 10 minutes of the second-half saw Palace come out at a higher tempo as Addy and Gordon on either wing looked to influence the game with their pace and trickery. 

On a number of occasions, McCarthy’s side worked the ball into promising positions, however were unable to find the net with Addy being dispossessed and Gordon striking high.

Throughout the majority of the second-half, Millwall’s left-flank gave Dylan Thiselton at right-back a really tough game. The Millwall No.3 at left-back was quick and very powerful, and his overlapping runs brought several chances for more goals. 

In the 80th minute he received the ball and whipped a brilliant cross the box only for his teammates to squander the fine opportunity. 

Ultimately, McCarthy’s side were unfortunate in trying to fight back into the game against a robust and structured Millwall side who played well. Up next: another south London derby, with the Eagles facing Charlton in a week's time.

Palace: Russell, Thiselton (Wright, 80) Aderamola, Steele, Chamberlin-Gayle, Siddik, Addy, Olopade, Ajayi (Omilabu, 59) Mooney (Gonzalez, 74) Gordon.

Subs not used: Whitworth, Woodman.

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