U18s Report & Gallery: Crystal Palace 5-0 Crewe Alexandra
A comprehensive victory for Crystal Palace Under-18s made it a double celebration for boss Paddy McCarthy on St Patrick's Day as his side thumped Crewe 5-0.
A change in formation saw Palace move to a 4-4-2 set-up which saw them earn a 3-2 victory at Hull last week, and it proved effective again as they eased through the game, helped by a fine target man performance by Rob Street.
The threat of postponement loomed over the game due to heavy snow on Saturday morning but the game went ahead and the young Eagles started brightly and on nine minutes came inches away from taking the lead. Street took the opportunity to shoot from 30 yards as the Crewe goalkeeper left space to the right of the goal, but the sweetly-struck shot cannoned back off the post.
But four minutes later Street's efforts were rewarded with an assist when he flicked on a ball by Martin Onoabhagbe for Francis Jno Baptiste (pictured) to run onto and his strike partner rounded the keeper to tuck the ball into the back of the net.
Jno Baptiste was unfortunate not to double the lead on 19 minutes when he saw an effort clip the top of the crossbar. But with Palace continuing to dominate proceedings the pair linked up superbly after half an hour when Jno Baptiste’s delightful pass found Street who curled the ball into the top corner to cap a free-flowing move with a sensational finish.
It remained 2-0 going into half-time, but McCarthy's side were in no mood to let up. Crewe had been given one sniff at goal in the opening 45 minutes but came out more determined in the second, only to see the Eagles step up a gear.
It would take until the 78th minute to extend the lead to 3-0, with Joseph Hungbo finding himself in space at the back post only to see his cross-cum-shot deflected into the goal by a defender on the line.
Four minutes later it was 4-0. Jude Russell, who turned 16 last week, linked up well down the right and burst into the box to latch onto a through ball and fire between the goalkeeper's legs with a composed finish for his first goal at this level.
That wasn't the end though, as they hit the woodwork for a fourth time when David Boateng's effort was deflected. To cap off a perfect team performance, Hungbo played in substitute Joshua Malcolm on the stroke of full-time and he fired in low to make it 5-0.
Palace: Webber; Russell, Onoabhagbe, Lynch, Chamberlain; Robertson (Watson 80), Boateng, Hanson (Malcolm 84) Hungbo; Jno Baptiste (Parris 84’), Street.
Goals: Jno Baptiste (13’), Street (31’), OG (78’), Russell (82’), Malcolm (90’)