On a blisteringly cold Sunday afternoon at Kirkby, Crystal Palace Under-21s overcame Liverpool thanks to Victor Akinwale’s fifth goal of the season.
Six days on from the narrow 1-2 defeat to Fulham at Champion Hill, Palace’s Under-21s travelled to Merseyside to face Liverpool as their quest for top spot in the Premier League 2 Division 1 wore on.Manager Paddy McCarthy made four changes to the side, with recent first-team debutant David Ozoh returning to the fold in place of Matty Vigor. Owen Goodman returned between the sticks for Joe Whitworth, while Caleb Kporha earned his first start at Under-21s level in place of Danny Imray. Jack Wells-Morrison returned to captain the side as Noah Watson dropped to the bench.Palace got off to the perfect start. Wells-Morrison floated an inch-perfect down the left, in behind the Liverpool defence, for Tayo Adaramola to run on to. The left-back raced to the byline and cut it back across into the path of Victor Akinwale, who finished with ease to give the visitors the lead five minutes into the game.Liverpool looked to find a way back into the game after going behind early on and sought to do so immediately. A move across the Palace final third resulted in Luke Chambers firing over the bar for the hosts 10 minutes in, while a long-range effort from Dominic Corness was saved excellently by Goodman.The Eagles did have the ball in the back of the net once more through Akinwale, after the striker was played in behind by Wells-Morrison, though the striker was adjudged to be offside by the narrowest of margins.With 10 minutes to go, a long-range Goodman ball beat the Liverpool defence and saw Akinwale in behind once more. The Palace No. 9 latched on to the ball and attempted a deft chip over Fabian Mrozek in the Liverpool goal, but his effort went just over the bar.After the interval the hosts had Palace by the scruff of the neck, enjoying most of the ball and creating a number of chances. Ben Doak threatened immediately after the referee’s whistle, though Goodman was equal to his effort, as was the case for another attempt from Chambers five minutes later.The first chance of note for the Eagles came on the hour-mark. David Omilabu used his tricky feet to dance into the box from the right-hand side and managed to cut it back across into Kaden Rodney who saw his first-time effort go just over the bar.It was back and forth between the two sides in the final half an hour, though neither could create any gilt-edged chances. Omilabu came close with 15 minutes remaining after Wells-Morrison worked it brilliantly to him, however the forward saw his effort charged down by Mrozek.Fionn Mooney broke free, following an Akinwale flick-on, deep into second-half stoppage time. The winger skipped past Mrozek and managed to fashion a shot on goal that went agonisingly wide of the mark.Though he missed the chance to put the game to bed, the referee called a halt to proceedings shortly afterwards. The result means Paddy McCarthy’s Eagles now sit third in the PL2 Division 1, three points behind leaders Chelsea