Late Palace Penalty Defeats U23s
Monday, 16th Oct 2017 15:08
Jason Lokilo’s 88th minute penalty saw Crystal Palace inflict a third Professional Development League Two South defeat of the season on Town’s U23s at Playford Road as a game of few chances ended 1-0 to the visitors. Tommy Smith played the first 45 minutes for Gerard Nash’s side as he continues his comeback after his hamstring injury.
Neither side had created a chance in bright and warm but breezy conditions before Shane McLoughlin - again operating in the centre of midfield - saw a header from Monty Patterson’s corner on the left headed off the Crystal Palace line.
The Eagles weren’t too far away moments later with a shot which flew across the face of Michael Crowe’s goal.
Town went close on 28 when, after a high tempo move, Patterson crossed from the right and Ben Morris, partnering Ben Folami up front, turned goalwards but Eagles keeper Dion-Curtis Henry reacted sharply to turn over the bar.
Noor Husin struck a shot just wide for Palace on 40 then, moments before the referee’s whistle brought to an end an evenly-balanced half in which chances were rare, former Colchester man Freddie Ladapo beat Dylan Crowe down the Palace left and cut the ball across the area but Pat Webber cleared.
Smith made way at half-time having had a comfortable 45 minutes in what looked like a planned substitution with manager Mick McCarthy an interested observer from the sidelines ahead of Sunday’s East Anglian derby against Norwich City at Portman Road.
Academy first-year scholar Clements came on at left-back with Webber moving to centre-half alongside Luke Woolfenden.
On 49 Folami played in Patterson on the left of the area but Palace keeper Henry was quickly off his line to block.
Palace went close in the 52nd minute when Michael Phillips’s header from Belgian striker Lokilo’s wind-affected freekick from the right looped over the bar.
The Blues began to get on top - with the wind becoming stronger - and in the 61st minute Dylan Crowe crossed from the right and Morris headed over at the near post.
At the other end, Kian Flanagan curled a shot through to Michael Crowe, before Town switched first-year scholars, Armando Dobra taking over from Lounes Foudil in central midfield.
The Eagles threatened again on 70 when Ladapo was played in on goal but keeper Crowe quickly came off his line to save well.
Town went as close as the would come to a goal in the 78th minute when Folami drove forward after the referee had played a good advantage. The Australian hit a low shot which beat the keeper but struck Henry’s right post.
In the aftermath Dobra was crowded out, then Morris’s subsequent effort from the left of the box was deflected behind.
As the game moved into its final five minutes Lokilo struck a shot from distance which Crowe claimed comfortably.
But with two minutes remaining Palace were awarded a penalty after Clements’s clumsy challenge on Lokilo following good work on the right from Eagles sub Andre Coker.
Lokilo, who coincidentally made his senior debut for Palace in the Carabao Cup tie between the clubs at Selhurst Park in August, took the kick himself and sent the ball low to Crowe’s left with the keeper going the other way.
In injury time Crowe did well to come off his line and save from Ladapo, who had dispossessed McLoughlin, and the Eagles saw out the final minutes to claim the three points.
A draw would probably have been a fair result from a not overly entertaining wind-hampered game.
Both sides had a handful of chances - Folami was unlucky not to notch his eighth goal of the season when he struck the post - and the match seemed destined to end 0-0 until Palace’s penalty.
The U23s are in action again against QPR at Loftus Road on Friday afternoon (KO 2pm).
U23s: M Crowe, D Crowe, Webber, Foudil (Dobra 64), Woolfenden, T Smith (Clements 46), McKendry, McLoughlin, Morris, Folami, Patterson. Unused: Marshall, Hayes, Daniels.
Crystal Palace: Henry, Bissaka, Brown, Phillips, Woods, Tavares, Flanagan (Coker 73), Husin, Lumeka, Eyenga-Lokilo (Robertson 90), Ladapo. Unused: Hungbo, Tupper, Mitchell.
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