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Crystal Palace U21’s vs Fulham U21’s 23/24

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all well.

On Monday 28th August 2023, Crystal Palace under 21’s hosted Fulham under 21’s at Selhurst Park for a Premier League 2 fixture.

The young Eagles came into the game off the back of a 2-0 lose away to Reading u21’s and were sitting in the lower half of the table with just 3 points in their opening two games.

Their visitors from West London Fulham, managed by newly introduced Hayden Mullins, had a much stronger start to the campaign winning their first two fixtures. Their most recent result was an impressive 2-1 win over previous league champions Manchester City. Last season Fulham did finish one position below Palace in 5th just one point being, so this game was set to be a challenge based on their previous campaign.

Darren Powell made two changes to his starting side, which saw Seán Grehan and Adler Nascimento coming in to replace Joe Sheridan and Dylan Reid. The bench also saw an inclusion for Malcolm Ebiowei along with newly signed players Roshaun Mathurin (aka Trialist B) and Justin Devenny. With a cup game coming up for the first team, Powell lacked options of experienced players such as Jesurun Rak-Sakyi.

Crystal Palace Under 21’s suffered a heavy defeat at Selhurst Park to Fulham Under 21’s.

As Palace took to the Selhurst Park pitch for the first time this season, they were immediately met with a strong Fulham side who took the lead just three minutes in. Martial Godo slipped Tyrell Works in down the wing and the Fulham number 7 cut inside before finding the far bottom corner.

Both Fulham’s number 11 and 7, Godo and Works, were threats for the visitors the whole match, creating the opener and shortly after forcing saves from Joe Whitworth in the Palace goal.

With just 12 minutes on the clock, Franco Umeh handled the ball in the Fulham box leading to a penalty. Matt Dibley-Dias took responsibility for Fulham, but Whitworth matched his effort diving to his right to stop the lead being doubled.

Palace’s first good piece of attacking play came down the left wing with Umeh working his way into the box, though the move ended with newly substituted Justin Devenny sending a shot into the stand behind.

Fulham did manage to double their lead 26 minutes in with Godo finding space in the box to drive towards the biline and shooting past Whitworth into the far corner.

The visitors managed to get a third before half time with Chris Donnell reacting first to Matt Dibley-Dias’ corner firing the ball into the far side of the net leaving Whitworth flat-footed.

On the stroke of halftime Palace were handed a lifeline as Caleb Kporha was brought down inside the box. Captain Jack Wells-Morrison stepped up and finished past Alexander Borto in the Fulham goal.

After a poor first half Palace had a lot of work to do in the second half. The young Eagles did come out from the break significantly brighter with Umeh working down the left wing and earning an early save. Devenny came very close to getting Palace’s second, though his effort was denied by the cross bar.

The home side’s opening efforts weren’t enough with Fulham getting their fourth of the day just after the hour mark. Devan Tanton was left in lots of space in the box and after receiving the ball from Works found the bottom corner with a good strike.

Fulham didn’t become complacent at any moment continuing to search for goals. Finally for the visitors Godo secured his brace from the spot after a foul from Chris Francis in the box.

With nothing left to play for, Palace did get the final goal of the game in stoppage time. A Wells-Morrison corner was kept alive by the captain allowing a shot at goal from Fransis, his attempt was deflected off both the keeper and Harry Araujo, making it an own-goal.

Overall a very disappointing result for the Eagles as the game ended 5-2 after a dominate performance from Fulham.

A very frustrating watch with a poor performance and even worse result leaving the young Eagles in 19th position in the league. The only positives were Joe Whitworth’s penalty save along with his constant shouting to try motivate his teammates, and Franco Umeh and Caleb Kporha’s runs down the wings though these were rare. Fulham had complete control of the game from the start and deserved the win, Martial Godo being their standout player and too strong for Palace.

The under 21’s will next play on Friday 1st September away to Wolverhampton where they will hope to pick up some needed points! My next game is watching Palace’s first team face Wolverhampton at Selhurst Park on Sunday 3rd September, so look out for that post.

Thank you for reading.

Ellie Xx


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