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Crystal palace

      U23s Report: Gunners defeat spirited ten-man Palace

      Arsenal U23
      Hutchinson 7' 15'
      Biereth 39'
      Swanson 90+8'
      Crystal Palace U23
      Roles 17'
      Kirby 83'

      The ten men of Crystal Palace Under-23s were edged out by a strong Arsenal side at a cold Meadow Park on Friday evening.


      • Paddy McCarthy made four changes to his side after defeat against Leeds
      • Palace’s Jack Roles stung the palms of Hubert Graczyk in the opening minute
      • The Gunners took the lead with their first attack of the game through Omari Hutchinson
      • Hutchinson made it two for the Gunners 15 minutes in
      • Roles pulled one back for the Eagles moments later
      • David Omilabu broke away brilliantly, but skewed his chance narrowly wide
      • Mika Biereth put the hosts 3-1 up
      • Scott Banks was unfortunately sent off just before half-time for a second bookable offence
      • Half-time: Arsenal 3-1 Crystal Palace U23s
      • Eagles goalkeeper Joe Whitworth denied Kido-Taylor Hart early in the second-half
      • Street had an effort from inside the box blocked
      • Whitworth denied multiple Arsenal chances on the hour mark
      • Nya Kirby pulls one back for the Eagles with less than 10 minutes left
      • Arsenal counter in stoppage time to make it 4-2 through Zak Swanson
      • Full-time: Arsenal 4-2 Crystal Palace U23s

      The Eagles started the first-half brightly, with a free-kick from Jack Roles in the opening minute stinging the palms of Arsenal’s Hubert Graczyk.

      Excellent pressing from Palace saw Scott Banks through moments later, though the Scottish U21 international skewed his shot narrowly wide of the post.

      Though the Eagles were on top in the opening five minutes, it was the hosts who took the lead through Omari Hutchinson. The No.7 dribbled his way into the Palace box from within his own half to slot home.

      Palace tried to find a way back into the game immediately, as Rob Street fired a shot just over the bar from a corner.

      Hutchinson made it two for the Gunners a quarter of an hour in, as he linked up with Charlie Patino in the Palace box after an Arsenal breakaway.

      The Eagles were again looking to respond immediately and they did exactly that, with Roles scoring a scrappy goal inside the box two minutes later. The former Spurs Academy midfielder capitalised on lax Arsenal defending to squeeze the ball past the ‘keeper.

      With 25 minutes on the clock, Joe Whitworth parried out an Arsenal corner into the path of Tayo Adaramola who set David Omilabu up on an incisive Palace counter-attack. Last season’s U18 Premier League South top scorer saw his shot from a narrow angle go agonisingly wide of the far post.

      Chances were flowing freely for both teams in the opening half an hour, with Arsenal’s skipper Miguel Azeez firing a free-kick from 25-yards over Whitworth’s post.

      Patino and Hutchinson linked up again once more for the Gunners, the latter slicing a chance for his hat-trick wide of the Palace goal.

      Just over five minutes before half-time, the visitors got their third as Mika Biereth scored from close range.

      Roles arrowed in a shot from a cleared corner moments later which looked destined for the top corner, however his effort was cleared away as the Eagles looked to find a way back into the game.

      The Eagles were unfortunately reduced to ten men for the second match in a row as Banks was sent off for a second bookable offence just before half-time. The winger was adjudged to have brought down Biereth unfairly as Arsenal broke from a Palace corner.

      Arsenal almost made their man advantage count in the opening exchanges of the second-half. Kido Taylor-Hart forced Whitworth into an excellent save after breaking through on a counter-attack.

      Fantastic link-up play between Omilabu and Street almost saw the Palace No.9 claw another one back, but his effort inside the box was blocked by scrambling Arsenal defenders.

      On the hour mark, Whitworth was forced into a fingertip save from a point-blank Azeez header. The Palace ‘keeper was called into action once more from the resulting corner, denying a flurry of Arsenal shots inside the box.

      Despite being down to ten men, the Eagles were on the front foot and were still searching for a way back into the game. This nearly came in the 75th minute as a speculative effort from Nya Kirby caught Graczyk in the Arsenal goal by surprise as he almost spilled it into the path of the onrushing Jack Wells-Morrison.

      A corner from Palace a few minutes later was met by the skipper Jake O’Brien, but his effort was cleared off the line by the Arsenal defence.

      The Eagles ramped up the pressure in the final 10-minutes and managed to claw one back through a fierce Kirby shot on the edge of the box. The midfielder latched onto a defence splitting ball from Omilabu down the left hand side and struck his powerful shot right into the top corner.

      Pressing for an equaliser, the Eagles were almost caught out before stoppage time as the Gunners were awarded a penalty after Joel Ideho was brought down in the box.

      Azeez stepped up from the penalty spot for Arsenal, but his effort was comfortably saved by Whitworth. The Eagles ‘keeper recorded another save from the spot in successive games.

      The Eagles poured everyone forward in an attempt to salvage a point after winning a free-kick in the final minute of stoppage time, but it was to no avail as the Gunners hit back on the counter-attack to make it 4-2 through Zak Swanson.

      That proved to be the last kick of the game as the final whistle blew immediately after the restart. The ten-men of Palace were edged out once again by a two goal margin.

      Palace: Whitworth (GK), Quick (Hannam 79), Adaramola, Kirby, O’Brien, Jach, Banks, Wells-Morrison, Street (Gordon 73), Roles (Robertson, 54), Omilabu.

      Subs not used: Webber (GK), Rich-Baghuelou.

      Arsenal: Graczyk (GK), Norton-Cuffy (Monlouis 45), Kirk, Rekik, Ogungbo, Swanson, Azeez, Patino, Hutchinson (Ideho 45), Biereth, Taylor-Hart (Butler-Oyedeji 83).

      Subs not used: Ejeheri (GK), Cottrell.