MATCH REPORT: Crystal Palace U21s 2 Swans U21s 3
25th November 2014
The Under-21s went top of Development League Two South with a hard-fought victory over Crystal Palace.
The Swans raced into a three-goal lead by the interval as goals from James Loveridge, Ryan Hedges and Adam King looked on course to give the visitors all three points.
But Palace dominated the second period and after they pulled one back from the penalty spot through Sullay Kaikai, the hosts made it a nervy finish when Jake Gray lashed home with ten minutes to play.
But the Swans held on to stretch their unbeaten run to eight games and move to the summit of the division for the first time this season.
CRYSTAL PALACE U21s: Chris Kettings, Mandela Egbo, Zeki Fryers (Sonny Black, 71), Hiram Boateng, Sam Magri (capt), Luke Croll, Jake Gray, Stuart O'Keefe (Morgan Ferrier, 78), Fisayo Adarabioyo (Kyle De Silva, 62), Sullay Kaikai, Jerome Thomas.
SUBS NOT USED: Oliver Pain, Matthew George.
SWANS U21s: Oliver Davies, Liam Shephard (capt), Alex Gogic, Giancarlo Gallifuoco, Connor Roberts, Adam King, Henry Jones (Owain Jones, 71), Josh Sheehan, Ryan Hedges, Kenji Gorre, James Loveridge (Alex Samuel, 71)
SUBS NOT USED: Gregor Zabret, Joseph Jones, Kyle Copp.
Chris Llewellyn's side knew that victory would take them top of Development League Two South, as they faced a Palace side who had accumulated 18 points from their opening nine games.
But the visitors - on a seven-game unbeaten run heading into the contest - couldn't have asked for a better start as they took the lead after just 40 seconds.
After good work from Ryan Hedges down the right flank, his run and cross wasn't cleared by the Palace defence and James Loveridge pounced to fire home from six yards out.
And shortly after Loveridge's cross was headed wide by Kenji Gorre, the Swans doubled their advantage.
A wonderful, flowing move from back front saw Liam Shephard, Hedges and Gorre all combine as the latter laid on a neat back-heel for Hedges who then clipped a fine finish over Chris Kettings.
Kenji Gorre forced Kettings into a smart stop just past the half hour mark, but on 34 minutes the Palace keeper was again picking the ball out of his net.
Another fine move through the middle of midfield saw Hedges play in Adam King on goal and the Scot fired home from just inside the box.
The closest Palace came in the first period was when Jerome Thomas cut in from the left before firing well wide of the left-hand post.
Half-time: Crystal Palace U21s 0 Swans U21s 3
Palace dominated the early exchanges in the second period and after Jake Gray fired over from the edge of the box, Fisayo Adarabioyo headed wide from six yards out after a teasing cross from the left.
Jake Gray then went through on goal but as he took the ball round Oliver Davies, the midfielder saw his shot blocked by the covering Giancarlo Gallifuoco.
From the resulting corner, Connor Roberts had to be alert as he cleared Luke Croll's powerful header off the line as the home side pressed.
And Palace were rewarded for their positivity when they pulled one back after 67 minutes.
Following an apparent push by Connor Roberts on Gray inside the box, the referee pointed to the spot and Sullay Kaikai converted from 12 yards.
The hosts poured forward but after substitute Kyle De Silva had tested Davies with a low shot, the visitors nearly added a fourth with a rare attack as Hedges saw his powerful strike superbly tipped over by Kettings.
The Swans then made a double change with just under twenty minutes to play as Alex Samuel and Owain Jones replaced James Loveridge and Henry Jones.
But with just ten minutes to play, Palace pulled another goal back as Jake Gray fired home a rebound from inside the box and Morgan Ferrier saw his shot saved by Davies.
However, the Swans held firm and secured all three points to move to the top of the table for the first time this season.