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U21s Report: Pompey end Palace's run in the Papa John’s Trophy

Azeez 32'
Ahadme 54'
Hirst 90+3'

On a cold Tuesday evening at Fratton Park, Crystal Palace Under-21s fell to defeat at the hands of League One Portsmouth - bringing their first ever run in the Papa John’s Trophy to an end.


  • Paddy McCarthy named a youthful side, with a number of players out on international duty

  • Palace nearly took the lead early on through John-Kymani Gordon

  • The hosts enjoyed most of the ball and chances as the half went on

  • Portsmouth went in front just after the half hour mark through Miguel Azeez

  • Rob Street found the back of the net five minutes before the break, though he was ruled offside

  • Half-time: Portsmouth 1-0 Crystal Palace

  • Michael Jacobs and George Hirst tested Owen Goodman in the Palace goal early in the second-half

  • Gassan Adhame made it 2-0 for Pompey 55 minutes in

  • Play was broken up due to minor injuries after the hour mark

  • Malachi Boateng hit the post for the Eagles with five minutes remaining

  • Portsmouth added a third in stoppage time through Hirst

  • Full-time: Portsmouth 3-0 Crystal Palace

Two weeks on from their first ever win in the Papa John’s Trophy against AFC Wimbledon, Palace were on the road for their final clash of the group against Portsmouth.

The Eagles came into the game in third place of the four-team group, level on points with AFC Wimbledon but behind on goal difference. They needed to better the result AFC Wimbledon achieved against Sutton United, who were also playing at the same time.

John-Kymani Gordon came close to giving Palace early on, after winning the ball high up the pitch and pressing forward into the box. His effort from a narrow angle was deflected off a Portsmouth defender onto the post and out for a corner.

The hosts would’ve had their first attempt on goal moments later if it weren’t for astute defending from David Boateng - the Palace right-back put in a brilliant last-ditch challenge to cut out a deadly through ball which would’ve seen Portsmouth through on goal.

Portsmouth grew into the game, with efforts from Harvey Hughes and George Hirst forcing Owen Goodman in the Palace goal into multiple saves, and took the lead half an hour in through Miguel Azeez.

The on-loan Arsenal youngster broke free inside the box and curled an effort in to put the hosts in front.

Palace looked for an immediate response and saw the ball in the back of the net 10 minutes later through Rob Street. An excellent ball from Jack Roles saw the striker through to finish brilliantly, though he was adjudged to be offside by a narrow margin.

As Street’s goal was ruled out, the Eagles went into the half-time interval behind, though they were not out of the contest and were still in contention of qualifying for the next round.

Pompey came racing out the blocks in the second-half - Michael Jacobs had an effort saved by Goodman in the opening seconds and Hirst fired another effort minutes later wide of the post.

Last season’s U18 Premier League South top scorer David Omilabu tried to curl an effort into the top corner five minutes into the second-half, after finding space inside the Portsmouth box, though his goalbound effort was headed away by the Portsmouth defence.

The hosts doubled their advantage through Gassan Adhame as he headed in from close range with 55 minutes on the clock.

Play slowed down after the hour mark due to minor injuries to Jay Rich-Baghuelou and Dan Quick, however the hosts still maintained the upper hand. Goodman pulled off another excellent save to deny a Hirst header off the goal-line.

With 10 minutes remaining, Palace pushed forward in search of a route back into the game. Omilabu came close after being picked out by a brilliant ball from Jay Rich-Baghuelou, though his curling effort was held by Alex Bass in the Pompey net.

Skipper Malachi Boateng came agonisingly close to securing a lifeline for Palace in the 85th minute, however his well-hit effort from the edge of the box struck the post and bounced clear.

Palace broke forward in the dying embers of the game, as Omilabu made a surging run from inside his own half to pick out Street, though the striker’s effort did not test Bass.

Portsmouth added a third deep into stoppage time through Hirst as he got on the end of a corner.

The full-time whistle blew after six minutes of additional time and that signalled the end of the Eagles’ first ever campaign in the Papa John’s Trophy.

Portsmouth: Bass, Freeman, Raggett, Ogilvie, Hughes, Payce (Bridgman 88), Thompson (Jewitt-White 45), Azeez, Jacobs, Ahadme (Kaba 90+6), Hirst.

Subs not used: Steward, Setters, Howell, Gifford

Crystal Palace: Goodman, D. Boateng, Watson (Imray 76), Rich-Baghuelou, Quick, M. Boateng, Kirby (Mooney 76), Roles (Taylor 57), Omilabu, Gordon, Street.

Subs not used: Izquierdo, Thiselton, Sheridan, Cadogan.