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Crystal Palace 2 v 1 Ipswich Town
Carabao Cup
Tuesday, 22nd August 2017 Kick-off 19:30
Crystal Palace 2-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Tuesday, 22nd Aug 2017 21:55

Bersant Celina netted his first Blues goal in injury time but two James McArthur strikes saw Crystal Palace to a 2-1 second round Carabao Cup victory over a very young Town side at Selhurst Park. The youthful Blues did themselves proud and held out until the 76th minute when McArthur curled home the first of his brace, the second coming eight minutes later before Celina's goal threatened to spark a late, late Town comeback.

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 just over 19.

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 needed to get the on-loan Manchester City man more involved in the second half.

Ahead of the restart Palace switched Dann for on-loan Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

Woolfenden made a strong early run down the right before exchanging passes with Rowe but the youngster’s cross was too close to Speroni.

Gerken was forced into his first save of the second half in the 52nd minute, the Town skipper getting sharply down to his right to save Kaikai’s low strike.

Town’s first chance of the second period came three minutes later. A corner on the left, the Blues’ first of the game, was played short to Celina, who cut in and hit a shot which curled wide.

Celina made a strong run down the middle a minute later before laying the ball to McLoughlin to his left but his cross was cleared.

On 57 Downes was booked for a foul on Van Aanholt and as Palace prepared to take the freekick they swapped the Dutchman for ex-Blues loan man Townsend.

Cabaye shot high and wide from distance as the game approached the hour mark with the young Blues still very much in it.

Match Gallery: 8 photos

In the 65th minute the Blues replaced Folami, who can be pleased with his battling debut up front, for Ben Morris, making it five debuts for the Blues.

Town enjoyed a spell of pressure around the 66th minute mark, but without being able to create a clear-cut opening.

But as the match moved into its final 20 minutes, one or two mistakes began to creep in as the young Blues backline tired, Kaikai taking advantage but shooting over before making way for Chung-yong Lee.

Then, as rain suddenly began to fall heavily, Palace took the lead in the 76th minute. James McArthur broke towards goal with the ball, turned inside Fowler and curled a shot past Gerken and into the net.

The young Blues began to find themselves under almost constant pressure and on 78 a run from Townsend, whose introduction had significantly livened up the home side, ended with Lokilo being found in space at the far post. The Belgian should have scored but Gerken got across to save.

Lokilo went close again soon afterwards, hitting the post after finding himself space with some trickery on the left of the area.

Town swapped Nydam, who had greatly impressed in his secondary role as a left-back, and McLoughlin, who had put in his usual combative display up front, for Monty Patterson and Chris Smith, both of whom were making their Town first-team debuts, taking the night’s total to seven.

Gerken saved McArthur’s effort from distance on 82, but two minutes later the Scotland international made it 2-0, smashing his second of the night past Gerken from 20 yards.

As the game moved into four minutes of injury time the Blues youngsters sent their 1,904 travelling fans - who included rested left-back Myles Kenlock - wild by pulling a goal back.

Downes found Morris on the right and the England U18 international cut it back for Celina, who confidently slotted his first goal for the Blues past Speroni.

The goal gave the Town youngsters - and their support - renewed vigour and they went looking for an equaliser in the remaining minutes.

And it almost came seconds before the whistle when New Zealand international Patterson flicked a freekick from the right not too far past Speroni’s right post.

But, while there was to be no dramatic comeback, the young Town side can be very proud of their efforts.

What was a far more experienced Palace team only started to really dominate in the closing 20 minutes as Town ran out of steam and in the end they gave the home side a minor scare in the final moments.

There were promising displays all over the team - Downes, McDonnell, Nydam and Woolfenden probably the pick, while Gerken handled impressively in goal - and manager McCarthy will feel the evening was a very useful exercise with a number of his younger fringe players - as well as Celina and Rowe, who both looked a little off the top of their games - having got vital first-team minutes under their belts.

The senior Blues XI will be back in action in the Championship at home to Fulham on Saturday afternoon.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dann (Fosu-Mensah 46), Kelly, Van Aanholt (Townsend 56), Puncheon (c), McArthur, Schlupp, Lokilo, Kaikai (Lee 75), Cabaye. Unused: Hennessey, Tomkins, Milivojevic, Benteke.

Town: Gerken (c), Woolfenden, Fowler, Webber, Nydam (C Smith 81), Rowe, McDonnell, Downes, Celina, McLoughlin (Patterson 81), Folami (Morris 61). Unused: Crowe, McKendry. Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire). Att: 9,837 (Town: 1,904).

Photo: Action Images

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loyal_Blue added 21:57 - Aug 22
Just left the ground, what a brilliant performance. Never been so happy coming out from a 2-1 defeat. The boys did the club proud tonight, feel like palace are in real trouble this season though. Played football, worked hard, I couldn't ask anything more of them tonight. Flynn the stand out as you would expect. But they all did very well, defence looked solid, midfield were solid and the strikers were causing their back three problems. The difference was a 5 minute spell of lapse in concentration and becoming tired. Glad they got a goal, because they fully deserved it. On to Saturday! Mick has got some decisions to make!!

lilcornishblue added 21:57 - Aug 22
What can I say? That was excellent a complete but pleasant surprise at how well our youth team played against a premier league side that had 6 players from the first team!! Especially when one of my group was predicting a 6-1 hammering to Crystal Palace. All of them should be very proud of themselves as you did the fans proud something we didn't see a lot of last season!! Flynn Downes, Nydam, the other CM and the CB's were particular stand outs it's a shame I can't remember all of their names 😂

Crystal Palace on the other hand where awful and fans should be really concerned about how their team will fare in the Premier League season if they continue to play like that!!!

dangerous30 added 21:58 - Aug 22
Well done town :-)

BlueArrow added 21:58 - Aug 22
We're proud of you we're proud of you we're proud of you we're proud

grumpyoldman added 21:58 - Aug 22
Well done, not disgraced, who cares about this competition anyway.

osborne added 21:58 - Aug 22
MM genius. Bonkers. COYB

SuffolkBlue13 added 21:59 - Aug 22
Fantastic performance from the young lads
Well done all round and let's look forward to Saturday
Bigger setback for Fulham so let's take all 3!

cat added 22:00 - Aug 22
Very respectable score line under the circumstances. Thinking about the kids lining up was like sending your own off to there first day at school.
As 'Big Chris' would have said " it's been emotional" lol

suffolkpunch1978 added 22:00 - Aug 22
Not a result, but pats on back Imo


BlueandTruesince82 added 22:00 - Aug 22
That's a decent showing since it was in effect the u 21s. Well done.

WBTG94 added 22:01 - Aug 22
I am so unbelievably proud to be an Ipswich Town supporter!! Firstly well done to the lads, surely real food for thought for MM! Secondly a huge congratulations to the academy, thoroughly well deserved ! Up the Town

kiwiblue added 22:02 - Aug 22
Well done you blue boys future looks bright

warwickblue added 22:02 - Aug 22
Well deserved congratulations to our youngsters.

dirtydingusmagee added 22:03 - Aug 22
WELL DONE LADS . Listened to match, and sounds like everyone in the team put in a decent shift, certainly were not humiliated as some expected them to be .Far from it, . Heads up lads , .

martin587 added 22:04 - Aug 22
A true gutsy performance from the lads.Very well done and I'm very proud of everyone of you.Even though we lost it's still a happy drive home for me.👍

trevski added 22:05 - Aug 22
Come on then where's the hater army and the MM out army xD

I didn't go to the match but I did watch the play-by-play and the kids should be proud of themselves. For a lot of them either getting their debut or their first full 90 minutes at senior level, playing against a Premiership side that had a lot of their main players in the squad, I thought they did fantastic. Downes and Nydam being outstanding as always, Gerken pulling off some fantastic saves, Morris assist and Celinas goal. If I were MM I would take some of them on Saturday

It was a shame we didn't pull at least level with the flurry towards the end but at least their is no more injury or suspension worries going into Saturday and hopefully this doesn't put a downer on anything

ianmarshall10 added 22:06 - Aug 22
Great effort from all the players tonight proud to be a blue after hearing it on the radio. Well done all the young guns the future is promising.

Bluetone added 22:08 - Aug 22
Well done lads you did us proud.

pinewoodblueboy added 22:09 - Aug 22
Great effort from the boys tonight. They can be proud of that performance. Hopefully a bright future for some of them.

1psw1ch added 22:10 - Aug 22
Fair play to the young lads ,,,brave performance and not a bad result at the end of the day ,,,not gonna lose sleep over it ,,,bring on fulam now and keep our run and confidence going ,,,coyb

TractorBeezer added 22:12 - Aug 22
Listened on the Palace site whose commentators were most complimentary about our boys.
Well done all of proud of you!


Tractamatt added 22:14 - Aug 22
I listened on the radio tonight and cant help wondering what our first 11 would have done to a very poor palace side. I know injuries ECT ECT stopped this but I think it all adds up to a great improvement this season. Radio London does reckon that Saturday's game is 3 easy points for Fulham but they might be slightly biased. Well done the boys tonight you did the club absolutely proud.

prebsa added 22:15 - Aug 22
A real decent performance, I though everyone tried really hard and kept going to the very end of the game. Palace out out a decent team so we stood firm really well for quite a while and tbh there was not a huge difference between the two sides.

People will most likely disagree but if we are going to keep playing 4 strikers, 1 of them on the wing I think we should replace sears with Celina. Like I say people will disagree but thats my opinion. He works hard enough to be in the team and is more skilful than sears.

runaround added 22:17 - Aug 22
When I saw the respective team line ups I feared we might be thrashed 6 or 7 but it sounds like we gave them a good game & were definitely not disgraced. I am not a fan of resting players for cup matches as embarrassing defeats always happen which kills any momentum the team may have. However in the current situation it was understandable the changes that were made & even though we lost tonight, hopefully it won't adversely affect Saturday & will have given some young players their senior debut which they will remember forever. Bring on Fulham

Swn98 added 22:18 - Aug 22
Great showing from the future ITFC stars did themselves proud.
Tractor boys and girls fantastic safe journey home bring on the Fulham.

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