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U18s Report: Young Eagles overturn late Royals rally to keep unbeaten run alive

3
Kanu 66'
Ehibhationham 83'
Okine-Peters 90+4'
3
Akinwale 21'
Rodney 45+1'
Dixon 90+6'

Crystal Palace Under-18s maintained their unbeaten start in the U18 Premier League South in dramatic fashion, securing an equaliser with almost the last kick of the game in the torrential rain at Bearwood Park.

Summary

  • Rob Quinn named a strong starting XI, with a change in goal - Jackson Izquierdo coming in for Owen Goodman

  • Victor Akinwale put the young Eagles ahead 20 minutes in

  • Play was delayed due to an injury to Palace’s Tayo Adaramola

  • Kaden Rodney doubled Palace’s lead right on half-time

  • Half-time: Reading 0-2 Crystal Palace U18s

  • Abraham Kanu pulled one back for the hosts 66 minutes in

  • David Obou nearly scored in the 75th minute with his first touches after coming off the bench

  • Reading levelled 82 minutes in through Princewill Ehibhatiomhan

  • The Royals took the lead five minutes into stoppage time through Jeremiah Okine-Peters

  • Junior Dixon struck with effectively the last kick of the game to level for Palace

  • Full-time: Reading 3-3 Crystal Palace U18s

One week on from topping the U18 Premier League South with a 1-0 victory over Southampton, the young Eagles were on the road to face Reading.

The opening exchanges were cagey, and neither side could muster a clear chance at goal in the opening quarter of an hour.

Palace had the first chance of note through Ademola Ola-Adebomi. Great build-up play from Tayo Adaramola and Maliq Cadogan down the Palace left saw Ola-Adebomi with the ball in the box, though the striker’s left-footed effort went narrowly wide of the post.

The young Eagles broke the deadlock through Victor Akinwale 20 minutes in. The Palace No. 9 found himself in the right place at the right time - tapping in from close range after Ola-Adebomi’s initial effort was saved by Matt Rowley in the Reading goal.

Ten minutes later, Akinwale almost turned provider - squaring a ball across for Jadan Raymond inside the six-yard box. The Palace midfielder looked certain to score, but recovering Reading defenders forced him to skew his shot over the bar from close range.

With just under 10 minutes remaining in the first-half, the Royals had a flurry of free-kicks from the edge of the box; though they did not challenge Jackson Izquierdo in the Palace goal.

On the stroke of half-time, Palace doubled their lead through Kaden Rodney. Reading failed to deal with a corner deep into first-half stoppage time and the Palace midfielder managed to lash home the second from inside the six-yard box.

The second-half commenced in a much more open fashion, with chances falling to both sides early on. Cadogan looked to add another to Palace’s lead, though his effort was charged down by the Reading defence.

The Royals were searching for a route back into the game, and nearly pulled one back in the opening 10 minutes of the second-half, however excellent defending from Cameron Lewis-Brown and Kalani Barton kept the hosts at bay.

Shortly after the hour-mark, Reading got the goal they had been searching for as Abraham Kanu netted from a corner - despite good work from the Palace defence initially to clear off the line.

Palace responded by bringing on David Obou for his first appearance of the season and the winger nearly made an instant impact. His effort with effectively his first touch unfortunately rippled the side netting, after being played in down the left hand side.

As the rain turned torrential in Berkshire, the floodgates opened towards a frantic final 10 minutes.

The Royals dialled up the pressure in search of an equaliser and managed to get one 82 minutes in through striker Princewill Ehibhatiomhan.

Spurred on by the equaliser - the hosts were on the front foot in search of a late winner. A breakaway three minutes before the end of normal time saw a combination of Izquierdo and skipper Joe Sheridan deny an onrushing Kanu.

A considerable chunk of injury time was added on due to the intermittent stoppages and fouls in the second-half and this was where the hosts pounced, making their pressure count.

Reading’s Jeremiah Okine-Peters found the back of the net in the 95th minute and looked to have secured all three points for the hosts, however, with what was essentially the last kick of the game, Junior Dixon clawed back an equaliser for the Eagles.

Dixon, who was subbed on moments before Reading took the lead, scored with effectively his first touch. The midfielder was one of many Palace players who were thrown forward in the dying embers of the game and fired home past Rowley in the Reading goal.

The late equaliser salvaged a point for Rob Quinn’s men and also maintained the unbeaten start, though the young Eagles have dropped to third in the U18 Premier League South - behind Arsenal and Fulham.

Reading: Rowley, Abdul-Salam, Abrefa, Kanu, Daniel-Spray, Borgnis, Campbell, Okine-Peters, Vickers (Greaver 57), Ehibhatioman, Nyarko.

Subs not used: Murray, Trialist, Addo-Antoine, Giscombe.

Palace: Izquierdo, Barton, Lewis-Brown, Adaramola, Rodney, Cadogan, Sheridan, Ozoh, Akinwale, Raymond (Dixon 90+4), Ola-Adebomi (Obou 70).

Subs not used: Bell, Ling, Eastwood.