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U23s Report: Rak-Sakyi and Gordon fire Eagles to victory over Red Devils

1
McNeill 13'
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Rak-Sakyi 2'
Gordon 46'

On a sub-zero afternoon at Leigh Sports Village, Crystal Palace Under-23s saw off a strong Manchester United side. Goals from John-Kymani Gordon and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi, were enough to record a third successive away win.

Summary

  • Paddy McCarthy named an unchanged side from the team that won at Liverpool last weekend

  • Jesurun Rak-Sakyi opened the scoring in the second minute with his ninth goal of the season

  • Manchester United drew level 13 minutes in through Charlie McNeil

  • Both sides pushed to go in front, with Scott Banks coming close, but went in level at the break

  • Half-time: Manchester United 1-1 Crystal Palace

  • Palace took the lead straight after the restart through John-Kymani Gordon

  • Nya Kirby, Rak-Sakyi and Banks had further chances to add to Palace’s lead

  • David Omilabu came off the bench with 15 minutes remaining and nearly made an instant impact

  • Full-time: Manchester United 1-2 Crystal Palace

A week on from the 3-0 thumping of Liverpool, Paddy McCarthy’s Eagles were on the road again to face Manchester United in their third successive away game.

The Eagles got off to the best possible start as Jesurun Rak-Sakyi netted his ninth, and possibly his easiest, goal of the season. The winger had the whole goal at his mercy after excellent pressing from the front saw John-Kymani Gordon win the ball back from experienced Manchester United ‘keeper Tom Heaton.

Spurred on by the opening goal, the Eagles looked to add another as quickly as possible within the opening 10 minutes. Malachai Boateng had an effort from about 25-yards out that was turned behind by Heaton, while Scott Banks had skewed an effort just wide of the post.

Palace looked in control with the efforts to double their lead, however the hosts drew level against the run of play 13 minutes in through Charlie McNeil.

The goal for the hosts effectively reset the tempo of the game - bringing Palace down a notch from their fast front-footed play early on.

It wasn’t until after the half-hour mark when Banks registered the first chance of note since the Red Devils’ equaliser. The Scottish Under-21 international was played through on goal by an excellent outside of the boot pass from Jack Wells-Morrison, but a recovering defender managed to block his shot on goal.

The south Londoners were well on top in the final 15 minutes of the half. Skipper Jake O’Brien headed narrowly wide from a Banks corner and Gordon nearly found a second just before half-time. Man United did manage to break on a counter-attack late on, though Joe Whitworth did very well to deny a powerful shot from Anthony Elanga.

The two sides went in level at the interval, despite Palace having the majority of the chances and more of the ball.

Much like the first-half, Palace got off to a blistering start. Banks’ press right from the referee’s whistle saw him win the ball high up the pitch to slot through an onrushing Gordon who calmly finished past Heaton on his left foot.

The hosts looked for an immediate way back into the game, though Palace stood firm to deny them any clear cut chances and limit them to efforts mostly outside the box.

As the hour ticked over, Kirby fashioned two chances for himself - the first was deflected, whilst the second was an audacious effort from 35-yards out which Heaton spilled, though no one in a Palace shirt was near enough to capitalise.

With 20 minutes remaining, Palace dialled up the pressure. A surging run from Tayo Adaramola down the left saw him pick out Kirby who in turn fed Rak-Sakyi. The winger’s fierce shot inside the box looked destined to burst the back of the net, though Heaton did just enough to turn it behind.

Second-half substitute David Omilabu nearly made an instant impact after coming on in the 75th minute. He combined well with Adaramola down the left and found himself through on goal, albeit at a narrow angle. His ball across the box to Rak-Sakyi was just cut out by recovering United defenders.

Manchester United poured more players forward in an attempt to salvage a point in the final 10 minutes, but it was to no avail. Whitworth pulled off a strong save to stop a low driven shot from McNeil, whilst moments later a Palace counter-attack saw Rak-Sakyi and Gordon breaking from the halfway line - though neither could get a clean shot away.

The referee brought an end to proceedings, after five minutes of time added on, signalling a third successive away for Paddy McCarthy’s Eagles. They now sit in fifth place in the Premier League 2 Division 1, level with Manchester City on 21 points.

Manchester United: Heaton, Wellens, Fernandez, Mengi, Hardley, Svidersky (Garnacho 70), Iqbal, Savage, McNeil (Hoogewerf 83), Hansen-Aarøen, Elanga.

Subs not used: Jurado, Mastny, McShane.

Crystal Palace: Whitworth, D. Boateng, Adaramola, M. Boateng, Rich-Baghuelou, O’Brien, Banks (Taylor 83), Wells-Morrison, Kirby (Omilabu 75), Gordon, Rak-Sakyi (Imray 89).

Subs not used: Trialist, Quick.