Crystal Palace 0-0 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Tuesday, 22nd Aug 2017 20:29
Town’s second round Carabao Cup tie against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park remains 0-0 at half-time.
Manager Mick McCarthy named his expected side, which he said yesterday is the youngest he has fielded in his 25 years as a boss. The 10 outfield players have an average age of 19.3.
George Fowler, 19, Pat Webber, 18, Shane McLoughlin, 20, and Ben Folami, 18, were all handed their first-team debuts, while Luke Woolfenden, 18, made his senior start.
Dean Gerken, a veteran at 32, was in goal and skippered with Woolfenden at right-back, Fowler and Webber the centre-halves and Tristan Nydam, 17, at left-back.
In central midfield, Flynn Downes, 18, was partnered in the centre by Adam McDonnell, 20, with on-loan Manchester City winger Bersant Celina, 20, on the left and Danny Rowe, 25, on the right. McLoughlin and Folami were up front.
Downes, Nydam and Rowe were the only ones in the squad to have played on Saturday, when they all came on as subs. Town named just the five subs.
Palace made seven changes from the side which lost 1-0 at Liverpool at the weekend but still included five players who would be considered first-team regulars. Jason Lokilo, an 18-year-old Belgian attacker, was handed his debut.
Former Blues defender Damien Delaney wasn’t included in the 18, while there was also no place for former loanee Jonny Williams. Andros Townsend, another one-time Town loanee was on the bench, but Connor Wickham is still sidelined with the knee injury which ended his 2016/17.
Palace perhaps unsurprisingly had virtually all the ball in the early stages and Sullay Kaikai, who was linked with a loan move to the Blues last season, hit a second-minute shot wide.
But Town, wearing last year’s all white away kit, gradually began to find their feet with Rowe playing a superb cross-field ball to Celina in the eighth minute.
The Kosovan international, making his second appearance for the Blues, looked to run at the Eagles defence every time he got the ball.
The half developed into a slow-paced game played in an almost pre-season friendly atmosphere with one side having a spell of possession and then the other without either creating a chance.
On 17, after Rowe’s promising run had been thwarted at one end, Nydam intercepted a ball played into Lokilo’s path at the other, the Blues’ left-back diverting it out off the Palace man.
Two minutes later, Downes played a clever ball into Folami’s path inside the Palace box but the Australian was dispossessed as he cut inside a defender.
Celina made a dangerous run into the left of the area in the 22nd minute but the danger was cleared before he could find a team-mate.
Town struck their first shot of the match a minute later. Woolfenden played the ball in to Folami’s feet and the striker held it up for what seemed an age before laying it off to the on-rushing Rowe on the edge of the box, but the former Macclesfield man smashed well over.
At the other end, Yohan Cabaye hit a 25th minute strike which was blocked by Fowler, then Patrick van Aanholt shot well wide. Four minutes later, Woolfenden was forced to nod a cross from the right behind at the far post.
Gerken was forced into serious action for the first time in the 33rd minute, diving low to stop Scott Dann’s header from Palace skipper Jason Puncheon’s corner on the right.
Three minutes later, Nydam made an important sliding challenge as Lokilo chased a Puncheon ball down the middle.
As the half moved into its final five minutes the young Blues found themselves pinned back in their half and shortly before the whistle Gerken was called to make another save.
The former Colchester man got across to his left to brilliantly paw away Cabaye’s 20-yard freekick, which looked destined for the top corner, Downes having fouled Lokilo.
After Folami had chased down Rowe’s long ball and Palace keeper Julian Speroni had deftly taken it past him on the edge of his box, much to the delight of the home fans, the half was brought to a close.
The young Blues had far from disgraced themselves against a strong, if not full-strength, Palace side.
The Eagles had had a lot of the ball but had only forced Gerken into two real saves, while the Town kids had also had spells of possession and carved out a couple of openings of their own, albeit without testing Speroni.
Celina, who had started brightly, had become a peripheral figure as the half wore on and Town need to give the on-loan Manchester City man more of the ball in the second half.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Kelly, Van Aanholt, Puncheon (c), McArthur, Schlupp, Lokilo, Kaikai, Cabaye. Subs: Hennessey, Tomkins, Lee, Fosu-Mensah, Milivojevic, Townsend, Benteke.
Town: Gerken (c), Woolfenden, Fowler, Webber, Nydam, Rowe, McDonnell, Downes, Celina, McLoughlin, Folami. Subs: Crowe, Morris, Patterson, McKendry, C Smith. Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire).
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