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Crystal Palace U18’s vs Brighton U18’s 21/22

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well.

On Saturday 7th of May I was invited back to the Academy to watch the under 18’s in their penultimate game in the Under 18 Premier League against Brighton. Sadly, it wasn’t as fiery as other M23 Derby’s!

The team lined up slightly differently to last time I watched them live for multiple reasons some of the players, including Kaden Rodney and David Ozoh, had been promoted to the Under 23 squad. Jaden Raymond has sadly picked up another injury so wasn’t available for selection, I’m not sure how long he’s out for but hopefully it’s not too long! The final change saw Owen Goodman back between the sticks. The changes saw an introduction to a trialist to see how he did in a game situation. Ademola Ola-Adebomi re-joined the team after also being called up for the under 23 squad on Monday night but having played no minutes was fit enough for the reintroduction; he has also been training with the first team recently so could be a name to look out for in the near future. The teams last result was a 2-2 draw against Chelsea, after going behind twice they should have high confidence levels for this game.

The game started with some early attacking threat from wing back Vonnte Williams playing the ball into Akinwale, but no one was in the box. The attacking wing backs was a key factor I picked up last time I watched them too. Maliq Cadogan had a very early chance as he picked up a loose ball in the midfield, his shot was just wide of the post. Some good early signs playing the ball round nicely and creating some chances. Brighton’s first shot came from outside box and went straight into the hands of keeper Owen Goodman. This followed with Brighton’s Zak Emmerson getting in behind the Palace defence, his shot went just past the far post. The game started to slow down after a fast paced first quarter of the game, leading to Brighton dominating us forcing multiple blocks to keep our lead. We had a counterattack involving Maliq Cadogen, Victor Akinwale and Ademola Ola-Adebomi but rest of the team were too slow to get up the pitch to support, they did win a corner, but nothing came of it. Brighton’s Zak Emmerson’s shot forced good save from the Owen Goodman; Sheridan looked to be brought down in the build-up, but the ref wasn’t interested leaving him to only be able to clear into path of Emmerson taking him through on goal. In the 28th minute Victor Akinwale finally made the teams dominance count, Akinwale picked up ball just passed halfway line, he made a direct run towards goal going all the way by himself, he miss-kicked the ball slightly but still found the back of the net for his 26th goal of the season! Victor needed some treatment after kicking the ground so hard but was fine to continue! 1-0 up with 15 mins of this half to go. Following getting the first goal of the game Akinwale did some great closing down and tracking back to attempt to win the ball back, showing they weren’t happy with just 1-0. Brighton’s next shot was just too high for Goodman, but the ball hit the crossbar to keep it out. Vigor went down for a lengthy period of time after being taken out, but again he was fine to continue. On the 43rd minute the ball was crossed onto Victor Akinwale’s head, the initial header from him hit and came back off the cross bar, taking it across goal for Ademola Ola-Adebomi to head into back of the net for 2-0! The half ended with a final chance from Brighton as number Emmerson tried to lob the Goodman who had come out just too early, the shot was off target and provided no threat.

A good dominant first half for us with Brighton only allowed to create a few chances causing no real problems, when called to action Owen Goodman made some strong saves.

Early in the second half Brighton’s Joshua Duffus forced save from Goodman’s leg after Palace failed to play out the back inviting unnecessary pressure onto themselves. Brighton’s number 10 Samy Chouchane started to grow into the game becoming their playmaker. Good determination from Freddie Bell to win the ball back before releasing Ademola Ola-Adebomi, he pulled the ball back into the centre of the box, but no one was there! Vonnte Williams showed great composure on the ball to prevent a counterattack when under pressure, he was one of the stand our players the last time I watched this team play and didn’t fail to impress today. In the second half the ref was very inconsistent booking our player for a weak challenge, but then choosing not to book the Brighton man for an obvious foul, it’s extremely frustrating how much referees can influence the game at all ages. Neat turn from Ademola Ola-Adebomi after having the strength and power to hold the player off but the defender got the tackle in just in time. I’m not entirely sure when as both me and my stepdad completely missed the change, but Portuguese Adler Nascimento came on for Victor Akinwale. Once we realised Nascimento was instantly involved as his close range shot was saved. David Obou who had been promoted from the under 16 team, came on for Fionn Mooney. In the 73rd minute it was too easy for Brighton’s Marcus Ifill to drive into the box with Joshua Addae marking him, Ifill went round the keeper for an easy tap in to make it 2-1 and a very nervy final 15 minutes. Addae didn’t have the greatest of ending to the game being completely outplayed by Ifill, but the team stood together to prevent the equaliser being scored! A few chances were waisted by us after players were simply being too greedy when there were better options available. From a Brighton corner we were able to launch a counterattack, Obou picked up the ball just past halfway line, before releasing Matthew Vigor through on goal his shot went just wide of the far post, which seems like my most used phrase of this post! As the half processed it looked more and more likely Brighton would get the equaliser. Brighton’s Leigh Kavanagh was awarded his second yellow card for taking out Obou who was on route to goal, this was the third red card I’d seen in the past 2 games at the academy, thankfully this time it was an opposition player! The free kick went backwards putting is under even more unnecessary pressure. You would’ve thought this would make the game a bit easier, but Brighton still carried their dominance into the enclosing staged. The last chance of the game fell to Brighton as they continued to pressure us for the equaliser, but after a good block from captain Joe Sheridan we saw the 2-1 victory out!

Although it wasn’t a 6-1 performance I’m glad they managed to hold on at the end without conceding the equaliser. Brighton didn’t deserve the point they may have had good spurts, but we were still the better team on the pitch so was definitely a deserved win. We went into the game third and with this victory took a step closer to guaranteeing the third place position with one game remaining and the some of the other teams having already finished their season. Their final game is next Saturday against Fulham, I’m not sure if I’m going to be attending as it is the same day and time as the first teams open training session at Selhurst so need to decide where to go.

After this game I went straight to Selhurst to watch the first team face Watford, my post on that will be up tomorrow so look out for that!

Thank you for reading

Ellie Xx


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