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Crystal Palace U21 vs Manchester United U21 23/24

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all well!

On Monday 14th August 2023 Crystal Palace Under 21’s commenced their Premier League 2 2023/24 season facing Manchester United at the Academy.

Crystal Palace came into this game off the back of a 3-0 victory over Bromley, they would’ve been hoping to use this momentum to finish higher than their last season position of fourth in the league.

Manchester United had a poor end to the season finishing in ninth in the league without a win in their last five games. Although they aren’t a side to be complacent against!

Darran Powell named a strong starting lineup containing players with first-team experience, Chris Richards and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi; along with regulars Jack Wells-Morrison as captain, Joe Whitworth and Ademola Ola-Adebomi. The Young Eagles were still without some of their regulars including Noah Watson and David Ozoh out with injury so again gave the replacements time to impress the coaching staff.

Crystal Palace under 21's began their 23/24 Premier League 2 campaign with an exciting 3-2 win over Manchester United featuring a late minute goal from Jadan Raymond.

With this being the opening game of the new season, both teams started highly motivated with the ball going end to end. Ademola Ola-Adebomi had an early chance to put the home side ahead just two minutes in, though the striker took a little too long to shoot giving United keeper Tom Wooster a chance to smother the shot.

At the other end new signing Chris Francis was called to action to deny Joe Hugill’s inside the box shot after a mistake at the back.

Following his earlier chance Ola-Adebomi did have the ball in the back of the net in the eighth minute after reacting well to a Wooster’s spillage, though he was deemed offside.

On the 24th minute mark the visitors were handed an opportunity to break the deadlock after Trialist A fouled Mateo Mejia in the box following his being allowed to drive down the wing. After winning the penalty Mejia stepped up and converted to give United the lead.

The goal gave the northern side a lot more confidence controlling the possession. Francis was again relied upon after Shola Shoretire was given the space and time to weave towards goal, but the Palace number 6 stood strong and stopped the attack with an extended leg.

Trialist A was again at fault for another United chance with his touch bouncing into the path of an opponent, the attack thankfully for him saw Joe Hugill’s shot go just wide of the far post.

Just before half time Palace were given a way back into the game. Jadan Raymond played Franco Umeh in tons of space down the wing, the young Irishman got his head up and stopped Jesurun Rak-Sakyi in the box, his first time pass across the face of goal found its intended recipient who netted Palace’s opening goal.

With the score being level as the teams came out for the second half, both were again motivated to regain the lead. Just five minutes after the break Manchester United were awarded a second penalty. Marc Jurado stepped up but this time Palace keeper Joe Whitworth guessed the correct way diving to his right with a strong hand to stop the effort and keep the scores level.

The Young Eagles were almost able to punish the visitors as the newly introduced Danny Imray found Rak-Sakyi heading towards the bi-line, the Palace number 11 picked out Ola-Adebomi in the box but his shot was weak and allowed United to clear.

After being given a chance to impress Trialist B took the opportunity on the wing with both hands and looked very comfortable on the ball. Unfortunately for him his first shot was blocked after a confident driving run towards goal with some cleaver footwork, though he was later rewarded.

Just 14 minutes after being on the pitch Trialist B put Palace ahead! Receiving the ball from Raymond, much like his previous chance the young winger drove towards goal before cutting inside and finishing the move with a fantastic finish past three players and into the far corner.

The home side had a much stronger grip on the game as the second half progressed with United quality fading, it seemed as though palace would see the game out comfortably. Until against the run of play United scored an equaliser in the 90th minute through Noah Emeran after a lack of closing down.

With seven minutes added on the Young Eagles threw everything they could at the game to try reclaim the three points, they created countless chances but just couldn’t find the back of the net.

Well that was until the 90+7th minute … Trialist B was once again involved faking a shot on the edge of the box sending his defender sliding and instead picked out Rak-Sakyi who after rushing towards the bi-line, cut the ball back into the path of Raymond who claimed all three points from inside the six-yard box.

There was no more time left to play and the final whistle blew seeing Palace emerge with their first win of the new Premier League 2 season!

In moments of the game I was a little worried especially in the first half, but as the game progressed as did Palace’s talent making the game an exciting watch and by the end they fully deserved the win. I was very impressed with Trialist B who had a great game and looked so confident, as too did Caleb Kporha taking on players down his left flank making a good impression once again. Joe Whitworth was once again fantastic and proved his quality with the crucial penalty save. Overall a great way to start the season and hopefully many more to come this season!

The Young Eagles next play Reading away on Sunday, before returning home the following week for a London derby against Fulham. I’m not sure how many games I’ll be able to attend this year with university but hopefully I get to go to a few more!

My next game is Palace first team’s first home game of the season on Monday, so look out for that post!

Thank you for reading.

Ellie Xx


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