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Crystal Palace Under 21’s vs Chelsea Under 21’s 22/23 PL2

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone, Hope you are all well. Sorry on the delay I have just moved into university so have been settling in! After a weekend away from football following the Queens passing, on Saturday 17th September Crystal Palace under 23’s hosted Chelsea at Selhurst Park for a Premier League 2 fixture. Before we left we always watched the under 18's get a 3-2 victory over Southampton! Palace went into the game on an unbeaten streak since the start of the season sitting second in the table, meanwhile Chelsea were sitting in 6th with only 7 points. The young Eagles’ last result was a 3-0 victory over Tottenham, so the boys would’ve had high spirits going into another London derby; this was very similar for Chelsea who came into the game off the back of a 2-0 win over Everton. Paddy McCarthy made 2 changes to the line-up compared to the Tottenham game, these saw Noah Watson, and Victor Akinwale drop out to the bench and be replaced by Tayo Adaramola and Malcom Eboiwei. Tayo Adaramola was a squad player in the first team along with the under 23’s where he had a great last season, which gave him the recognition to then be rewarded with a loan move to Coventry City to play in the championship, sadly this move didn’t work out and he wasn’t getting many minutes therefore Palace recalled him so I’m sure he’ll be back involved with the first team in the upcoming weeks. With the big break now due to the international games it was good for Eboiwei to get a game in after not being involved in first team games recently. Before kick-off there was a minute silence in memory of the queen, followed by the new national anthem being sung; all players, officials and staff also wore black armbands. It was a 2pm kick off, now we are in September the temperature has definitely dropped! There was an early chance from Malcom Eboiwei driving and dancing through the blue and white shirts, he couldn’t direct his shot goal-wards sending it just over the bar. Kaden Rodney made a very important challenge in the box to prevent the Chelsea shot reaching the goal after originally being given lots of space to control the ball. On the 15th minute mark Omari Hutchinson was given too much time and space to find the bottom corner of the net, he was not closed down by anyone in red and blue which was disappointing to see after how strong they’ve been recently. There was surprisingly a lot of Chelsea fans in the stadium, they were the happier of the fans in the early stages. A Palace free kick was headed back into the danger zone from the back post, but Phillips was just unable to direct the ball into the goal sending it wide past the far post. The effort from the Palace players seemed non-existent always wanting to play long balls which nearly always ended in a switch of possession, we also seemed to be playing very deep and inviting the pressure on. The previous game I watched the under 21’s play against Brighton Eboiwei was a standout player but they really struggled to get him involved in this game which was pretty disappointing. We struggled to find a rhythm with Chelsea having a lot of the ball and us handing over possession too easily; shortly after their goal a Chelsea free kick hit far post, so it really wasn’t looking good. The only memorable chance we had of the half came from a great ball down the line from Adaramola found John-Kymani Gordon in space, he ran towards the goal and had the opportunity to shoot but instead chose to pass, this was the wrong decision as it went straight to a Chelsea player being another wasted chance. There was one half time substitution which saw Victor Akinwale on for Killian Phillips, the midfielder looked to be struggling with an injury so hopefully it’s nothing serious. Just after half time Owen Goodman made a great fingertip save from a headed effort but the ball went straight into the path of Hutchinson at the back post to bury for his second of the game, the keeper had no chance, but the defending was poor. A better second half but still Chelsea matched most issues we caused. Just before the hour mark a beautiful ball was played out wide to John-Kymani Gordon by Eboiwei he cut inside to have a shot, it was initially blocked but into the path of David Omilabu who could finally finish the ball into the net! Sadly, we wasn’t back in the game for long, a deflected long shot from Lewis Hall left Goodman diving the wrong way and unable to make the save allowing it to fall into an empty net. When Akinwale came on he brought energy and confidence to drive towards the box, on one occasion he whipped the ball across the face of goal, but no one was there to tap it in! Adaramola went down a few times holding his leg, McCarthy brought him off for Ademola Ola-Adebomi, this saw us move to a 3 at the back looking to push-up the field more. Some great footwork from David Ozoh taking the ball in his stride after playing a good 1-2 with Ola-Adebomi ended with Ozoh finding the back of the net to make it 3-2 with 8 minutes remaining! A Chelsea free kick found an unmarked man at the back post, his header across found a teammate whose final header went just wide of the post, from our angle it looked like it went in but thankfully it didn’t! Omari was nearly through for his hattrick but a perfectly timed last ditch tackle from Kofi Balmer prevented any danger. The last 5 minutes were the most eventful, an injury time Palace corner which was whipped in by Eboiwei was headed into the path of captain Jack Wells Morrison who was advancing into the box, he was able to bury the ball in the back of the net to level the scores! The final substitution saw goal scorer David Ozoh off for Noah Watson, this was a more defensive change to try keep hold of the point. Injury time saw both teams try get the winning goal with Palace creating chances through Ademola Ola-Adebomi which hyped the crowd up! For an academy game there was a good atmosphere with Palace chants being sung throughout. The game ended 3-3 and was a great comeback from the young Eagles to continue on their unbeaten run. After a poor start, the second half was better and was more of the Palace we’ve been seeing in the recent games, it wasn’t the perfect performance and definitely have things to work on but I personally am very happy with a point especially after being behind for most of the game!

We now have an international break so my next post will be on the England VS Germany game in a few weeks. Thank you for reading Ellie Xx

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