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U18s Report: Spoils shared in close clash with Citizens

Crystal Palace Under-18s were pegged back twice in their Under 18 Premier League Cup clash, against a resilient Manchester City side, at a rainy Copers Cope on Saturday morning.

Summary

  • Rob Quinn named a strong starting XI, with two changes from the side that drew 3-3 with Reading in the league

  • Victor Akinwale opened the scoring for the Eagles 10 minutes in

  • Man City levelled five minutes later through Will Dickson

  • Akinwale nearly secured his second in the 23rd minute

  • David Obou curled home Palace’s second 10 minutes before half-time

  • Half-time: Crystal Palace U18s 2-1 Manchester City

  • Dickson added his and City’s second five minutes into the second-half

  • Play was broken up by injuries to Owen Goodman and Liam Smith

  • Neither side could find a breakthrough in the final third of the game

  • Full-time: Crystal Palace U18s 2-2 Manchester City

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Two weeks on from the dramatic 3-3 draw at Reading Crystal Palace Under-18s were back in action at Copers Cope in the U18 Premier League Cup.

The U18 Premier League Cup is a competition in which all 28 Category 1 Academies take part, with the initial group phase seeing two teams from the north section matched up with two teams from the south section.

Palace were narrowly edged out 3-2 by Liverpool in their first game in the competition in September, and welcomed reigning U18 Premier League North champions Manchester City to Copers Cope.

The young Eagles were on top in the opening exchanges, pressing with intent and looking to strike early in the pouring rain. Central midfielder David Ozoh did brilliantly to win the ball back in midfield three minutes in and drove directly into the box, fashioning a shot from a narrow angle that stung the palms of Josh McNamara in the City goal.

A breakthrough came not long after, with leading goalscorer Victor Akinwale heading home the opener for Palace 10 minutes in. The No. 9 was picked out inside the six-yard box by a great ball from left-back Vonte Williams which beat the ‘keeper and three City defenders.

The visitors, who had hardly had a sight of Palace’s goal, responded almost immediately. Excellent defensive work from Palace ‘keeper Owen Goodman and Cameron Lewis-Brown saw them deny City’s first attempt on goal from the restart.

Man City came knocking once more and managed to equalise five minutes after Akinwale opened the scoring through Will Dickson.

Though City drew level, Palace were undeterred and looked to regain their lead. Fionn Mooney forced McNamara into a save from after a free-kick on the edge of the box 22 minutes in, and Akinwale came close to adding his and Palace’s second moments later after linking up well with Ademola Ola-Adebomi.

Conditions deteriorated as the first-half went on, allowing the visitors to grow into the game, enjoying brief spells of possession and creating half-chances. However, as City grew into the game, Palace reclaimed the lead.

David Obou, on his first start of the season, curled home from the edge of the box 36 minutes in. The winger was played in by Ozoh after a well-worked throw in routine in the final third.

The young Eagles were in front and on top as they went into the half-time break, enjoying the lion’s share of possession and chances in the first-half.

The Citizens were looking to level once again, as play resumed in the second-half, and did so five minutes in through Dickson. The forward added his and City’s second after an incisive breakaway.

After the hour-mark, the game began to open up, with chances flowing freely for both sides. There were brief delays which broke up the tempo of the game due to injuries to Goodman and City’s Liam Smith respectively.

Junior Dixon, who scored the equaliser in a two-minute cameo against Reading last time out, came on in the 70th minute and nearly made an instant impact again after latching on to an Akinwale flick-on inside the box, though his effort was charged down by the onrushing McNamara.

Neither side could muster a clear-cut chance to win the game in the final 15 minutes, and the points were shared. The young Eagles now sit third in their group with Man City, Liverpool and Aston Villa - with their next U18 Premier League Cup clash against Aston Villa scheduled next month.

Crystal Palace: Goodman, Lewis-Brown, Williams, Ozoh, Sheridan, Rodney, Cadogan, Mooney, Akinwale, Obou (Raymond 59), Ola-Adebomi (Dixon 70).

Subs not used: Barton, Izquierdo, Vigor

Manchester City: McNamara, Samuel, Simpson-Pusey, Katongo, Whittingham, Lewis, Dickson, Breckin, Ogwuru, Adam, Smith (Oboavwudo 86).

Subs not used: Carrington, Murray-Jones, Wright, Galvez.