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U21s Report: Eagles see off the Dons to seal first Papa John’s Trophy win

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Rak-Sakyi 57'
Street 83'

On a cold evening at the Cherry Red Records stadium, goals from Jesurun Rak-Sakyi and Rob Street saw Crystal Palace Under-21s secure their first win of the Papa John’s Trophy campaign against a mid-table AFC Wimbledon side.

Summary

  • Paddy McCarthy named a strong starting XI, including top scorer Jesurun Rak-Sakyi

  • Rak-Sakyi stung the palms of the Wimbledon ‘keeper early on

  • Henry Lawrence hit the post for the Dons 20 minutes in

  • Jack Wells-Morrison’s effort from distance was turned behind

  • Half-time: AFC Wimbledon 0-0 Crystal Palace

  • David Omilabu and Rak-Sakyi almost combined to put Palace ahead early in the second-half

  • The pair combined once more and Rak-Sakyi gave Palace the lead from close range just before the hour mark

  • Nya Kirby came close to doubling Palace’s lead on the counter

  • Rob Street secured Palace’s second seven minutes from time

  • Full-time: AFC Wimbledon 0-2 Crystal Palace

Four days on from the 2-3 victory over Derby County in the Premier League 2 Division 1, Paddy McCarthy’s Eagles were on the road once more to take on League One AFC Wimbledon in the Papa John’s Trophy.

Chances were few and far between in the opening exchanges. AFC Wimbledon’s Quaine Bartley had the first chance of note seven minutes in, though his effort from distance was no issue for Joe Whitworth in the Palace goal.

Palace’s pressing from the front put Zaki Oualah in the Wimbledon goal under pressure 10 minutes in, resulting in him awkwardly miscuing his clearance into the path of Jesurun Rak-Sakyi, however the Palace winger couldn’t capitalise.

Just over a quarter of an hour in, Rak-Sakyi came closest to opening the scoring for Palace as he stung the palms of Oualah after a succession of set-pieces in Wimbledon’s final third.

The hosts’ best chance to open the scoring came 20 minutes in as Chelsea loanee Henry Lawrence hit the post from just outside the box.

The Eagles started to muster more chances as the half wore on - Rob Street’s effort from a narrow angle was saved and Jack Wells-Morrison’s effort from distance was turned behind, though neither side could break the deadlock as they went into the break.

After the interval, Palace came racing out the blocks as David Omilabu made a surging run down the left-hand side on a breakaway. The Palace No. 50 squared it across the box to an onrushing Rak-Sakyi who was in acres of space, but the Dons’ defenders recovered just in time to cut the ball out.

Though Omilabu and Rak-Sakyi were denied in the opening exchanges of the second-half, they managed to combine to find the breakthrough just before the hour mark.

Rak-Sakyi found himself in the right place at the right time to finish from close range after a dangerous ball across the box from Omilabu following a Palace corner.

Palace were on top once they took the lead - dominating most of the ball and restricting Wimbledon’s efforts going forward. Nya Kirby came close to doubling Palace’s lead after a brilliant counter-attack from a Wimbledon corner, though his effort went just wide of the post into the side netting.

The game settled into a rhythm, with Palace looking to hit Wimbledon on the counter as the hosts looked for a way back into the game.

With just under 10 minutes remaining, Palace doubled their lead through Street. The centre-forward found himself in acres of space inside the box to after latching on to an excellent Rak-Sakyi through ball and confidently fired his shot across Oualah.

The hosts did not fold, despite Palace’s dominance, instead they threw more players forward in an attempt to salvage something from the game, though it was to no avail.

Paul Osew came closest for the Dons deep into stoppage time, after drifting free inside Palace’s box, though he fired his effort well wide of Whitworth’s net.

The final whistle blew after a prolonged stoppage, due to Wells-Morrison going down off the ball, and the Eagles secured all three points.

The victory means that Paddy McCarthy’s Eagles remain in third place in Group J, however they are now level with AFC Wimbledon on three points and they will face Portsmouth in two weeks to decide who gets through to the next round.

AFC Wimbledon: Oualah, Csoka, Charles, Jenkins (Sutcliffe 53), Hallard, Osew, Lawrence, Olaniyan (Campbell 62), Chislett, Mebude, Bartley (Sasu 77).

Subs not used: Jones, Williams, Mason, Ali.

Crystal Palace: Whitworth, Robertson, Rich-Baghuelou, O’Brien, Adaramola, Wells-Morrison (D. Boateng 90+4), M. Boateng, Omilabu (Banks 66), Kirby (Gordon 74), Rak-Sakyi, Street.

Subs not used: Webber, Freedman, Quick, Imray.