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      U23s Report: Banks brace sees Eagles triumph over Liverpool

      Liverpool U23
      Crystal Palace U23
      Banks 13' 50'
      Kirby 71'

      Crystal Palace Under-23s put in a performance of the highest quality as they dispatched a strong Liverpool side, on a blisteringly cold Saturday afternoon at The Liverpool Academy.


      • Paddy McCarthy named a strong side, with John-Kymani Gordon leading the line

      • Scott Banks opened the scoring for the Eagles 13 minutes in

      • Jesurun Rak-Sakyi came close to doubling the lead moments later

      • Palace had chances late in the half to add another

      • Half-time: Liverpool 0-1 Crystal Palace

      • Banks doubled the lead from the spot 50 minutes in

      • Nya Kirby found a third for Palace in the 70th minute

      • Joe Whitworth reacted brilliantly to deny Liverpool in the final five minutes

      • Full-time: Liverpool 0-3 Crystal Palace

      Two weeks on the come-back victory at Chelsea the Paddy McCarthy’s Eagles found themselves travelling to Merseyside to face Liverpool.

      The opening exchanges at The Liverpool Academy were cagey, with neither side mustering a chance of note in the first ten minutes.

      That all changed in the 13th minute as Palace broke through and scored with their first attempt of the game. Scott Banks went on a marauding run directly through the centre of the park and shaped to shoot outside the box.

      The Scotland Under-21 international made no mistake, effortlessly finding the top corner with a left-footed strike to put Palace in front.

      Palace looked to capitalise immediately after going in front and found themselves in the Liverpool box straight after the restart. Top scorer Jesurun Rak-Sakyi fashioned a shot from inside the box that went just wide into the side netting.

      Liverpool tried to respond and pushed up the pitch to register their first shot of note from Jack Bearne, though it was charged down by Palace centre-back Jay Rich-Baghuelou.

      At the half-way point of the first-half, Palace looked to double their lead. A corner from Banks saw chaos unfold in the box as it was spilled by Marcelo Pitaluga in the Liverpool goal - the ball fell to Rak-Sakyi who scuffed a shot on goal.

      The ball then broke to Banks as he pushed up into the box; his effort looked destined to nestle the back of the net if it weren't for a deflection that helped it into the palms of the 'keeper.

      As the first-half wore on, the hosts enjoyed more of the ball and looked to find a way back into the game, though they couldn't find a way through the astute Palace defence.

      Nya Kirby and John-Kymani Gordon had half-chances in the final moments of the first-half to double Palace's lead, but the visitors went into the break a goal to the good.

      The Eagles came racing out the blocks in the second-half and within five minutes of the restart Banks was wheeling off celebrating his second goal.

      Banks secured his and Palace's second after left-back Tayo Adaramola was brought down inside the box. While his effort from the spot wasn't as cleanly struck as his first goal, it was enough to sneak under the diving Pitaluga.

      Palace were in the driving seat after Banks' second, controlling the game. The Reds did enjoy more of the ball, but much like the first-half they couldn't really break through the resilient defence marshalled by skipper Jake O'Brien.

      With 20 minutes remaining, Palace added a third. Excellent pressing from the front four saw the ball break to Nya Kirby inside the box and the England U17 World Cup winner coolly slotted home into the bottom corner.

      Kirby's goal put the result beyond doubt, however the Eagles still pressed for more and almost had a fourth with just over 10 minutes remaining. Rak-Sakyi was picked out inside the box after a surging run from Jack Wells-Morrison and the winger's shot was just parried behind by a scrambling Pitaluga.

      Liverpool poured bodies forward in an attempt to salvage something from the game, but it was to no avail. Whitworth kept Palace's clean sheet in tact with two great saves late on to deny James Norris and Elijah Dixon-Bonner.

      The final whistle blew after six minutes of additional time, signalling a sixth win for Paddy McCarthy's Under-23s, as they moved up to sixth place in the Premier League 2 Division 1 with 18 points from 12 games.

      Liverpool: Pitaluga, Quansah, Koumetio, Bajcetic (Corness 71), Gallacher, Musialowski, Boyes, Bearne, Norris, Clayton, Woltman (Dixon-Bonner 75).

      Subs not used: Kelly.

      Crystal Palace: Whitworth, D. Boateng, Adaramola (Imray 83), M. Boateng, Rich-Baghuelou, O’Brien, Banks, Wells-Morrison, Kirby (Taylor 90+3), Gordon, Rak-Sakyi (Omilabu 89).

      Subs not used: Webber, Quick.