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Crystal Palace under 21’s vs Blackburn under 21’s

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all well.

On Friday 28th April 2023 I got the chance to go to the Crystal Palace academy to watch Crystal Palace under 21’s penultimate league game against Blackburn under 21’s in the Premier League 2 Division 1. As I’m now based in Wembley for university it is difficult to attend matches as they are normally Monday or Friday evenings, the last game I attended was back in February, but when I saw this game overlap with when I was home I was extremely happy and once again thanks to Susan I was able to attend!

Four days prior to this game palace suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat away at Wolverhampton, they did go down to 10 men with the dismissal of Noah Watson with a straight red after denying a goal scoring opportunity. Before this the Young Eagles went 10 games unbeaten sitting 3rd in the league 2 points behind Chelsea proving the quality they possess. The two sides met at the beginning of the month with the game ending 3-1 to palace, so the hosts would’ve been hoping for a repeat!

Blackburn came into the game in 11th position having lost their most recent game 3-0 to Manchester City. Although they did win their previous two games against Tottenham and Nottingham Forest with convincing scores, despite this were still 2 points from the relegation zone so had a lot to play for!

Since the last time I watched the under 21’s there was a managerial change with Darren Powell taking over after Paddy McCarthy moved into the first team with Roy Hodgson. Powell made 2 changes to the lineup following the recent defeat, these saw suspended Noah Watson and Danny Imray be replaced by a Trialist and Matthew Vigor. They were without Ademola Ola-Adeboml who has a hamstring injuries, this was a big blow as he was on a goal scoring run prior to getting injured. On a positive note they did have newcomer 18 year old Franco Umeh-Chibueze who joined the club a few weeks ago as an option off the bench.

In a game full of fouls third place Crystal Palace under 21’s fall short in a 3-0 loss against eleventh place Blackburn under 21’s seeing the visitors climb the PL2 table slightly away from the relegation battle.

Despite an eight position difference the visitors, Blackburn Rovers, started the game much stronger looking comfortable on the ball keeping possession and creating chances. They had a good chance after knocking ball round the box, ending in a shot over the bar from Blackburn’s Harley O’Grady-Macken.

Another Blackburn chance created by moved up field with pace, Harry Leonard’s shot was blocked by Kaden Rodney.

After a dominate start, on the 15th minute mark Blackburn were rewarded with a goal. Some poor marking from the Young Eagles allowed Blackburn to pass the ball around the box before the play was completed with a header in the bottom corner by Leonard.

Palace struggled to play out of their own half and looked like they didn’t have the hunger to score or even create chances.

The game was full of countless fouls preventing any team creating real momentum. A Blackburn free kick was quickly played out wide before being whipped across face of goal for Kofi Balmer to clear over bar.

Palace’s first chance of the half didn’t come till the 38th minute, and saw Jadan Raymond put shot wide of the post.

Another quick free kick from the visitors saw Sam Burns free in space with no closing down from Palace, he drove towards goal before finishing with a low driven shot to take them into half time with a 2-0 lead.

Fionn Mooney saw his low driven free kick saved as the Young Eagles hunted for an early way back into the game.

In small spurts palace were good on the ball with some lovely link up play down right by substitute Franco Umeh-Chibueze and the trialist advancing up field. This urgency just wasn’t present enough but Umeh-Chibueze did make a difference when he came on injecting some energy to a deflated Palace side.

Tayo Adaramola did well to hold off his defenders and pick out David Ozoh, the midfield his shot from outside the box saved by the keeper

Much like the first half Blackburn were allowed lots of space, a simple drive run towards goal forced a diving save from Owen Goodman, the goalkeeper himself was quick to shout at his teammates to try wake them up!

Blackburn hit Palace on the counterattack and after some even more poor closing down had their lead extended by substitute Charlie Weston.

The final chance of the game saw substitute David Omilabu miss from two yards out putting the ball over the bar, the story of Palace’s day! This result saw Blackburn climb the table two positions 4 points away from the danger zone, at the other end Palace remain 3rd needing to beat Liverpool to remain there and Chelsea to lose to move up to 2nd on the final match week.

This was probably the worst I’ve seen the under 21’s play, there was just no urgency and they lost the ball way to much. A player I was impressed by was 18 year old Franco Umeh-Chibueze, like previously mentioned he brought the energy the game was missing, he only had 30 minutes to make a difference which is even harder when the team was having a bad day!

The Young Eagles’ next game is a Premier League International Cup semi-final against Valencia on Wednesday at Selhurst park, I sadly can’t make the game as I am in Manchester for an exciting sport conference. They then have their final game of the season against Liverpool, if they want to be winning these games they need to hugely improve but will be glad to have some regulars such as Noah Watson available.

My next game is Crystal Palace first team against West Ham tomorrow as Hodgson and his boys look to bounce back after the midweek loss to Wolves, so look out for that post!

Thank you for reading

Ellie Xx


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