U18s: Crystal Palace 3-1 Bolton Wanderers

Wanderers’ Under-18s were beaten in their play-off semi-final clash away at Crystal Palace last Friday afternoon.

The Whites started the game well against their London-based counterparts and dominated possession, looking for an early breakthrough.

A couple of half chances meanwhile fell to Shakeel Jones-Griffiths who was unlucky not to open the scoring against the Eagles.

Palace did look a threat on the break and had a couple of half chances themselves, while before half time, both Luca Connell and Dennis Politic had shots blocked for the Trotters.

Come the break though, the scores remained level.

At the start of the second half however, Wanderers conceded after only 90 seconds as Palace hit a cross long and won the header before Sean Robertson reacted first and ran onto the ball to score past James Aspinall.

Despite falling behind, Nicky Spooner’s side’s reaction was excellent and they looked to equalise as soon as possible.

And that leveller came in some style, with Matthew Fearnley hitting an unstoppable volley from the edge of the box with 18 minutes remaining.

Buoyed by their goal, Wanderers pushed for a second but were hit on the counter attack, with one such move resulting in Lawrence Smith fouling Joseph Hungbo as the Palace man found himself in on goal, with the youngster receiving his marching orders as a result.

With extra time looming, the Whites attempted to stage a late rally but with six minutes to go, they were undone as Hungbo was able to take a touch following some link-up play with Robertson before rifling the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

And despite Bolton’s best attempts to level late on, the home side put the result to bed as David Boateng forced the ball over the line from close range to ensure that the Trotters’ hopes of making the Play-off Final were dashed.

Crystal Palace: Luthra, Russell, Matthews, Ossai, Pierrick, Hanson, Boateng, Malcolm, Robertson, Hungbo, Street

Subs: Russell, Gurung, Donkin, Watson, Baptiste

Bolton: Aspinall, Smith, Edmondson, Fearnley, Hartsthorne, Boon, Moore, Connell, Brown, Jones-Griffiths, Politic

Subs: Darcy, James, Brown, Preston, Navarro

Photo Credit: Crystal Palace FC

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