Hard fought win for Under 18’s over Crystal Palace.

CoymayLast week CIty’s Under 18’s played very well for an hour, but ended up beaten 2-1 by league leaders Brentford after a late fade out – this lunchtime their play never really hit the heights reached at times a week ago, but this time around they ended up on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline.

City’s opponents today, Crystal Palace, have traditionally produced strong youth sides that have tended to get the better of us at this level down the years and they were somewhat unlucky to lose today because the teams were very evenly matched.

However, maybe City just about deserved their win because, after falling behind early in the second half, they were able to create the only two goalscoring opportunities in the remainder of what became a pretty scrappy affair and score from both of them to edge home.

The game got off to a pretty lively start which saw CIty get themselves into a threatening position straight from the kick off as they forced the first of a series of early corners that didn’t come too anything.

For Palace’s part, they showed a capacity to counter attack quickly and this helped them to create the game’s best early chance when they got to the bye line and the resultant low cross rolled invitingly into the path of one of their strikers only for a superb block by City’s right back to come to their rescue when scoring had looked a formality.

I should apologise at this stage if I get the names of any of the City side wrong – I’m taking a guess in many cases when I give a name because there were a few unfamiliar looking faces in the CIty side today and often I’m basing their identities on the players who have usually played in those positions in previous matches this season.

Therefore, I think it was it may have been Dylan Rees who made that fine block, but I could be wrong. That one opportunity apart, the visitors didn’t really suggest they had a goal in them until a strange incident with about ten minutes left of the first half when their centre forward chased a through ball that City’s goalkeeper first starting backing away from, but then came charging out for and, for me, took out the striker for what looked a pretty obvious penalty, only for the ref to give CIty a free kick for a foul by the Palace player,

Rollin Menayese, here seen being presented with the young player of the year award at the FAW Community Awards  in 2013 by Ian Rush,  was, arguably, City's best player in the win over Crystal Palace.

Rollin Menayese, here seen being presented with the young player of the year award at the FAW Community Awards in 2013 by Ian Rush, was, arguably, City’s best player in the win over Crystal Palace.

There were some Palace fans sat quite close to me and they were amazed that a penalty wasn’t given – they also thought the officials gave their side very little throughout the game and while I wouldn’t go that far, I do agree that there were quite a few arguable decisions that went City’s way.

For their part, City had slightly more of the play than Palace in the opening forty minutes or so without creating anything as clear cut as the those two opportunities their opponents had. What problems there were for Palace tended to involve Jake Watkins on CIty’s right as a couple of neat build ups flaw him first cut in threateningly only to scuff his left shot which allowed the Palace keeper to make an easy save and then, somewhat surprisingly, he opted to pass rather than shoot only for the ball to be diverted for a corner by a defender,

In the five minutes before the break though, City had their best attacking moments of the half when their number 10 (think it was Jamie Veale) curled a lovely shot from twenty five yards on to the crossbar and then a fine cross by Watkins was headed just wide by their number eleven.

0-0 was a fair scoreline at half time, but, within a few minutes of the restart the visitors were ahead as City paid for a lack of concentration when facing up to a free kick about thirty five yards from their goal. For me, it was too far out for a wall to be needed, but with the keeper lining one up anyway, Palace took.a quick free kick which caught City completely on the hop and this time the ref agreed it was a penalty as Watkins’ clumsy challenge sent one of their players flying inside the area.

The keeper went the right way for the penalty taken by Palace’s number eleven, but it was well placed into the corner and, having reacted so poorly after conceding a penalty last week, City now faced a test of character as well as stamina.

Within a few minutes though they were level as Veale was put in possession inside the penalty area  after some fluent passing. For a second it seemed like the midfield player had worked himself a shooting position, but a defender got a foot to the ball which only knocked it into the path of Eli Phipps and City’s top scorer this season is too good a finisher to miss a chance as simple as the one he was presented with,

Two goals inside the first ten minutes of the second half offered hope for an entertaining final third of the game, but, partly due to a wind that was stronger than it appeared to be from the stand, it was all pretty disjointed from then on in with chances at a premium,

In fact, I can only remember the one which came inside the last ten minutes when City managed to keep possession well and some patient passing enabled their left back to work himself a position. where he got by his marker and put in a beauty of a cross which was swept in from about six yards out by sub Jamie Bird for the winner.

The quality of the cross was out of keeping with most of what was on offer in the second half, but in a game where the two sides were so evenly matched, moments like this make such a difference – sorry, I don’t know who the left back was, but I thought he, along with centre back Rollin Menayese were City’s best players on the day.

Finally,news of a couple of games played this weekend – Palace won the Under 16 match between the two sides 3-2, but I assume that City’s team was a little below full strength because there were four of our players in the Wales side which kicked off their Under 16 Victory Shield campaign with a 1-0 win over England in Bangor with one of our players getting the goal – here’s a report on the match.

Edit – Since typing this report up I’ve learned what the City team was, Luke Wakeman was in goals, it was Cameron Coxe who made the excellent block in the first half, Rhys Abbruzzese was the left back who played so well and it was Tom Pearson who headed just wide in the first half.

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4 Responses to Hard fought win for Under 18’s over Crystal Palace.

  1. Graham says:

    Thanks Paul – I logged on looking forward to reading your report and analysis of our superb win against Leeds yesterday, with the only real disappointment being Le Fondre’s failure to convert two excellent chances – but his luck will change [or he'll have to be changed ..] .. what a delight to read instead your report of our U-18s – how important it is that we continue to develop our own younger players and how pleasing to read that we had 4 players selected for the Wales U-16 team which beat England [especially when we clap away enthusiastically during 'Men of Harlech' before every game bellowing that Welshmen never yield when we haven't got even one in the team .. hopefully that too will change ..!]

  2. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Morning Graham, the Leeds report is here now.
    It’s typical that Wales beat England in the Victory Shield and the game’s not shown by Sky – apparently, there are highlights of the game on Sgorio today.
    I’m hopeful Declan John can find his way back into the team and I’d like to think Tommy O’Sullivan will get a first team chance as well. There are some talented local boys in the Under 21’s who would already be first team regulars in many of the City sides I’ve seen down the years, but it’s much tougher for them these days when the policy seems to be to spend another few million on a new player rather than look for one among your youngsters.
    As for the younger lads I was was watching yesterday, I like the look of Robbie Patten a defensive midfield player who has a very mature air to his game and Rollin Menayese has the physique and ability to become a good footballing centre back.

  3. Graham says:

    Thanks Paul – I’ve now read the Leeds report and as usual find myself in agreement except you’re probably more sympathetic than I am to Le Fondre’s continuing failure to do what he was bought to do and which he did regularly for his previous club .. you can’t afford to have two upfront if one of them keeps on missing clear chances. If Jones had been available for Tuesday’s game I might have preferred to see him start – at least he does score goals, although in the past I’ve been more impressed by his heading contributions in defence, but with the arrival of the magnificent Manga that’s no longer so necessary.
    But back to the U-18s and U-16s – I’m afraid that if we do have ‘Sgorio’ here at all in London I don’t and have never heard of it so I’ll miss the Wales victory.
    As for Declan John getting back regularly into the 1st team, yes I too would love to see that .. but where, since Fabio and Brayford have made the full-back positions their own? And Tommy O’Sullivan I first saw in the same game as Declan John – a reserve game against Crystal Palace at a Mitcham, South London ground. They were both outstandingly good. Their day will come – I hope it’s with us!

  4. The other Bob Wilson says:

    I’ve just been listening to Russell Slade’s post match interview Graham and he was saying that we needed to be better at spotting the runs LeFondre makes – i think there is something to that, but, of course, he has to finish better than he has been. I was hoping his lucky goal against Ipswich would make a difference, but, despite all the talk of David Forde’s great double save, it was a bad miss by LeFondre and when hsi sharpness and good movement got him into good p[ositions yesterday, he twice made a mess of the header.
    I still think Declan John may switch back to the wing and his experience at playing full back would be beneficial to him then. joe Ralls did very well yesterday I thought, but if Noone and/or Pilkington were out for any reason and you wanted someone to play more like a winger than a wide midfield player, I’d say Declan would do the job as well as anyone (particularly as Kadeem Harris seems to be injured).

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