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      U18s Report: Akinwale brace fires young Eagles back to winning ways

      West Bromwich Albion U18
      Crystal Palace U18
      Akinwale 64' 73'
      Obou 69'

      Three goals in 10 second-half minutes saw Crystal Palace Under-18s triumph over West Bromwich Albion, on a windy Saturday morning in the West Midlands.


      • Rob Quinn made three changes to the side that faced West Ham, with Joe Sherdian, Matty Vigor and Freddie Bell coming in to the side

      • Fionn Mooney hit the post with a curling effort 17 minutes in

      • West Brom had the ball in the back of the net, but it was ruled out for offside

      • Half-time: West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Crystal Palace

      • Hurlock hit  the bar early on in the second-half

      • Victor Akinwale put Palace in front just past the hour mark

      • Second-half substitute David Obou made it two moments later

      • Akinwale secured his brace with just over 15 minutes remaining

      • Full-time: West Bromwich Albion 0-3 Crystal Palace

      Under-18s manager Rob Quinn made three changes to the side that narrowly lost out against West Ham last weekend, with Joe Sheridan and Matty Vigor coming in for James Leonard and Junior Dixon. Freddie Bell was handed his first start of the season, coming in for Maliq Cadogan.

      U18 Highlights: West Bromwich Albion 0-3 Crystal Palace

      The two sides were evenly matched in the opening exchanges, though neither could fashion any clear cut chances. Fionn Mooney came closest to opening the scoring in the first half after his curling effort from 20-yards out cannoned off the post.

      In-form Mooney was at the heart of Palace’s attacks in the first-half. He combined well with central midfielder David Ozoh in a fast flowing move half an hour in, though the latter couldn’t get his shot away.

      As the first-half went on, both sides struggled to find a breakthrough. West Brom had the ball in the back of the net, though it was ruled out for offside. Jadan Raymond mustered Palace’s best chance of the half, however his goal bound shot after a surging run was blocked.

      West Brom came racing out the blocks at the start of the second half, creating a flurry of chances. The pick of them came from right back Alex Williams, who rattled the crossbar after a counter attack in the 53rd minute.

      Palace needed to spark into life after resisting the Baggies’ early onslaught, and that spark came from Victor Akinwale. The Under-18’s leading goalscorer notched his 18th of the season in fantastic fashion, latching on to a Freddie Bell through ball just past the halfway line and charging towards goal to finish with aplomb.

      His goal turned the tide for the young Eagles, spurring them on to dominate the remainder of the game. Second-half substitute David Obou notched his first goal of the season a few minutes on from Akinwale’s opener, twisting and turning inside the box to beat Ben Cisse at his near post.

      Palace were almost caught out straight after the restart as the Baggies surged down the right through Fenton Heard, however recent signing Laurie Shala did well to save his driven shot at the near post.

      Before the Baggies could catch their breath, Palace were in their half looking for a third. Left-back Vonte Williams found himself in acres of space in the final third and floated a cross into Akinwale, the No. 9’s initial header was saved but he reacted quickest to slot home his second and Palace’s third.

      The young Eagles were comfortably in front and saw out the remaining 15 minutes with relatively no trouble. Joshua Addae came close to adding a fourth as he fired an attempt across the face of goal.

      With no time added on, the referee brought an end to proceedings at the West Bromwich Albion Training Centre. Rob Quinn’s side remain in third place, six points off first place West Ham with two games in hand.

      West Bromwich Albion: Cisse, Williams, Shaw, Machisa, Olofinjana, Jimoh (Oliver, 70), Heard, Hurlock (Okaka, 70), Whitwell, Higgins (Oluwatobi, 77), Love.

      Subs not used: Hollingshead, Phillips.

      Crystal Palace: Shala, Addae, Williams, Ozoh, Sheridan, Rodney, Raymond, Bell (Barton, 79), Akinwale, Vigor (Obou, 60), Mooney (Dixon, 89).

      Subs not used: Jobson, Eastwood.