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U18s Report: Late Birmingham City sucker punch ends Palace’s unbeaten run

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Akinwale 89'
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Williams 48'
Khela 90'

Crystal Palace Under-18s fell to a gut-wrenching last-minute defeat against Birmingham City on a grey Saturday afternoon at Copers Cope.

Summary

  • Rob Quinn named a strong starting XI, with three changes from the side that drew with Manchester City in the U18 Premier League Cup

  • Palace started the first-half well, with Joe Sheridan leading from the back

  • Ademola Ola-Adebomi tested the ‘keeper a number of times, but couldn’t find a breakthrough

  • Birmingham City’s best chance came from a free-kick 20-yards out from Rico Patterson half an hour in

  • Half-time: Crystal Palace 0-0 Birmingham City

  • The visitors took the lead through Pharelle Williams just after the restart

  • Palace pushed and probed for an equaliser, Maliq Cadogan and Fionn Mooney came closest

  • Victor Akinwale levelled it for the young Eagles from the spot in the 89th minute

  • Birmingham City responded immediately through Brandon Khela in the 90th minute and came away with all three points

  • Full-time: Crystal Palace 1-2 Birmingham City

A week on from their well-earned draw against Manchester City in the U18 Premier League Cup, the young Eagles were back in U18 Premier League South action as they welcomed Birmingham City to Copers Cope.

Palace started the first-half well, with midfield stalwart David Ozoh putting a foot in early on and driving forward to test Brad Mayo in the Birmingham City goal.

Skipper Joe Sheridan led the young Eagles from the back - defending well to block early attempts on the Palace goal, whilst also stepping up from defence to help Palace seek out an opening goal.

A number of chances in the first-half fell to Ademola Ola-Adebomi, the pick of which was an effort from inside the box 25 minutes in where the forward’s fierce shot was only kept out by a strong hand from Brad Mayo.

The Blues did have chances of their own, the best of which coming just before the half hour mark when their captain Rico Patterson fired a free-kick from 25-yards out narrowly wide of the post.

Palace’s full-backs Kalani Barton and Kadan Rodney did well late on in the half, with the former driving a shot on goal that was turned behind and the latter managing to get a foot in to stop an onrushing Patterson.

The two sides went in level at the break, though Palace had the better chances and more of the ball.

Birmingham City started the second-half on the front foot and managed to take the lead just moments after the restart through forward Pharelle Williams. They almost added another straight after through Harry Manton, though Owen Goodman did well to turn his driven shot behind.

The young Eagles were in search of an equaliser - Maliq Cadogan did brilliantly to dance his way into the box, though he curled his effort just wide of the post on his left foot.

On the hour mark, Sheridan got on the end of a floated corner from Jadan Raymond but couldn’t divert his looping header towards goal.

Play was broken up in the final half hour due to intermittent injuries to Goodman and Akinwale, though this didn’t hinder Palace’s attempts at searching for an equaliser.

Second-half substitute Junior Dixon combined well with Jadan Raymond to find Fionn Mooney - the young winger did well to find space inside the box to shape an attempt on goal, however he was charged down by recovering Birmingham City defenders.

It looked as though the visitors were going to come away with all three points, but Palace were handed a lifeline as Akinwale was brought down inside the box in the 87th minute.

The Palace No. 9 stepped up from the spot and made no mistake, calmly slotting the ball to the ‘keeper’s left as he dived the other way.

The young Eagles looked to have kept their unbeaten run intact by the skin of their teeth, however a late sucker punch by Brandon Khela moments after the Akinwale penalty gave the visitors all three points.

Though Rob Quinn’s men now have a blot on their copybook, they still remain in fourth place in the Under 18 Premier League South, two points behind leaders and reigning champions Fulham.

Crystal Palace: Goodman, Rodney, Barton, Ozoh, Sheridan, Leonard, Cadogan, Raymond, Akinwale, Mooney (Nascimento 75), Ola-Adebomi (Dixon 63).

Subs not used: Bell, Izquierdo, Jobson.

Birmingham City: Mayo, Oni, Manton (Pendleton 74), Odulra, Carsley, Browne (Rushton 56), Ichela, James, Williams, Patterson, Osor.

Subs not used: Brooks, Beresford.