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      U18s Report: Late Saints winner dents young Eagles’ title hopes

      Southampton U18
      Davis 63'
      Ballard 70'
      Ross-Lang 90+3'
      Crystal Palace U18
      Ola-Adebomi 29'
      Akinwale 50'

      Crystal Palace Under-18s were dealt a massive blow to their title chances, as they succumbed to a stoppage time winner against second place Southampton.


      • Rob Quinn made two changes to the side, with Owen Goodman and Fionn Mooney coming in for Laurie Shala and Jadan Raymond

      • Ademola Ola-Adebomi put Palace ahead half an hour in

      • Play was broken up throughout the half due to a number of injuries

      • Half-time: Southampton 0-1 Crystal Palace

      • Victor Akinwale doubled Palace’s lead from the spot in the 50th minute

      • Just after the hour mark, Southampton clawed one back through Sonnie Davies

      • On the 70th minute, Dominic Ballard levelled for the Saints

      • Substitute Fedel Ross-Lang won the game for the hosts in the 93rd minute

      • Full-time: Southampton 3-2 Crystal Palace

      A week on from the 6-1 demolition of Aston Villa, the young Eagles were on the road to face Southampton in a crucial clash at the top of the Under 18 Premier League South.

      Manager Rob Quinn made two changes to the side, with Owen Goodman returning between the sticks for Laurie Shala and Fionn Mooney slotting in for Jadan Raymond.

      It was a cagey affair between the two sides early on. Southampton mustered one attempt on goal through Luke Pearce 10 minutes in, though Owen Goodman was equal to it at his near post.

      The game sprung into life at the half-hour mark, after Ademola Ola-Adebomi put Palace in front. The striker, who recently signed his first professional contract, latched onto an incisive through ball from Matty Vigor and drove into the box to finish past Eddie Beach in the Southampton goal.

      Palace looked to double their advantage as the end of the first-half loomed. Vigor fired narrowly over the bar after getting on the end of a Vonte Williams cut back across the box, whilst Akinwale also fired over the bar deep into stoppage time.

      The young Eagles went into the break with a slender lead, and the hosts were all too aware of this as they came racing out the blocks in the second half.

      Goodman was called into action straight after the restart to deal with a tricky deflected shot from Southampton’s Sonnie Davis on the edge of the Palace box.

      Southampton’s dominance early on was stopped in its tracks as Palace’s first attack of the half resulted in a penalty. Ola-Ademobi was brought down inside the box after Maliq Cadogan skipped past three challenges to feed him the ball.

      Akinwale stepped up from 12 yards and made no mistake, calmly sending the ‘keeper the wrong way to put Palace two goals to the good.

      The Saints looked to find a way back into the game and they managed to pull a goal back 10 minutes after Akinwale’s penalty. Captain Davis fired a curling effort from 25-yards out on his weaker left foot and managed to find the top corner of the Palace goal.

      Southampton didn’t rest on their laurels after that goal, instead they pushed for an equaliser and managed to find one in the 70th minute through Dominic Ballard. Second-half substitute Fedel Ross-Lang floated a looping ball into this path and he stooped to header it in at the far post.

      Palace now found themselves on the back foot as the momentum of the game swung in Southampton’s favour. With 15 minutes to go, Southampton’s Kamari Doyle rattled the post from a 20-yard free-kick, whilst Pearce fired narrowly wide moments later.

      After a defence splitting pass, Pearce was on the brink of sealing all three points for the Saints, however, as the game ticked into the 90th minute, he was denied by the leg of an onrushing Goodman.

      The young Eagles had a flurry of chances to win the game mere seconds after Goodman’s save. Ola-Adebomi got on the end of a floated Williams ball, though his header was parried away by Beach - skipper Joe Sheridan hit the post with the rebound, and the follow up shot from Akinwale went agonisingly wide of the post.

      In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Southampton took the lead. A long ball from Beach into the path of second-half substitute Rylee Wright split the recovering Palace defence and he managed to find an unmarked Ross-Lang who finished from close range.

      That goal proved to be almost the last kick of the game as the referee brought an end to proceedings. The gut-wrenching result means the young Eagles remain in third place in the Under 18 Premier League South, though they are now four points behind the Saints and six points behind first place West Ham.

      Crystal Palace: Goodman, Addae, Williams, Ozoh, Sheridan, Rodney, Cadogan, Vigor (Bell, 76), Akinwale, Mooney (Obou, 76), Ola-Adebomi.

      Subs not used: Leonard, Shala, Dixon.

      Southampton: Beach, Davis, Hewlett, Finnigan (Ross-Lang, 64), Carson, Edwards (Wright, 80), Tshaka, Bragg, Doyle, Ballard, Pearce.

      Subs not used: Jeffries, Chavez-Munoz, Dobson-Ventura.