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U18s Report: Palace fall for first time this season

Crystal Palace U18
Burnley U18

Paddy McCarthy’s Under-18s side travelled to Hemel Hempstead to take on Tony Philliskirk’s Burnley yesterday afternoon and suffered a tough-fought loss due to a late Claret winner.

Both sides were looking to build on recent results, with the Eagles aiming to remain unbeaten after a win and two draws kick-started their season. Burnley were looking to get another win after getting their first three points last week.

In the opening exchanges, neither team really took control, with Palace’s Jesuran Rak-Sayi finding pockets of space but struggling to create against an organised Burnley defence.

The only chance in the opening 10 minutes came when Philliskirk’s charges worked the ball well down the left flank, and Matty Rain at left-back fired a ball low to the edge of the box which Ben Woops capitalised on. His shot looked goal-bound but was blocked by the impressive Cardo Siddick at centre-back.

Standing out on the warm Hertfordshire morning, Siddick looked composed and won all of his early aerial duels. He was again in the action in the 24th minute as he headed the ball after a threatening cross from Kane Patterson.

From the resulting corner which was whipped in with pace by Chris Conn-Clarke came the opening goal. The Palace defence struggled to pick up their men and there was nothing Jacob Russell in the Palace goal could do to stop the visitors from taking the lead after a congested penalty area scrapped for the ball.

The Eagles’ first real chance came when Rak-Sakyi picked up possession on the right-wing, cleverly dribbled past a couple of Burnley midfielders into the middle and curled a shot just wide of the ‘keeper’s right-hand post.

In the latter stages of the first half, McCarthy’s men found themselves in advantageous positions several  times. In the 43rd minute, Aiden Steele delivered a free kick from the corner of the 18-yard box which was won by Siddick but the centre-back’s effort was easily caught by Calderbank-Park in goal.

On the stroke of half time, a Burnley goal-kick was well won by Olopade in the midfield and fell to Rak-Sakyi who beat his man and from the left of the box struck it. Burnley’s centre-half blocked with his head but it fell kindly to David Omilabu who poked in to make it 1-1.

With Palace back in the game, the second half started with a higher intensity. The game unsurprisingly started to open up with half an hour to go, and Palace’s wide men, Josh Ajayi and David Omilabu, looked to stretch the well-knit Burnley defence.

SEE ALSO: Palace's Jadan Raymond named in England Under-17 squad

In the last 15 minutes, Burnley started to take the initiative and looked the more likely to score as Chris Conn-Clarke dribbled past Steele into the centre of the pitch and his left-footed shot cannoned off the post for a Palace goal kick. Soon after, Siddick made a very important block with his head to prevent a certain goal after Olopade lost the ball on the edge of the box.

Philliskirk’s introduction of fresh legs paid off as Burnley looked more energetic than Palace.  Mitch George scored the winning goal in the 89th minute as Palace failed to clear a corner and Matty Rain fizzed a ball in low and hard from the left wing, for George to finish with his left into the roof of the net.

Overall, Burnley’s structure and pressing caused problems for the Eagles. In bursts, Palace looked explosive and dangerous. Cardo Siddick was a shining light but the Eagles were unfortunate to suffer their first loss of the season nevertheless.

Palace: Russell, Thiselten, Bello (Watson 78), Steele, Chamberlin-Gayle, Siddick (Woodman 90), Ajayi, Olopade, Gordon, Rak-Sakyi, Omilabu.

Subs not used: Witworth, Wright, Quick.

Burnley: Calberbank-Park, Patterson, Rain, Brennan (Connolly 84), Pruti, Rooney, Conn-Clarke (Armstrong 90), Woops, George, McGlynn (Moonan 45), Tucker.

Subs not used: Allen, Carson.

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