Crystal Palace U23 (2) – QPR U23 (1)

U23 Professional Development League

Played at Dulwich Hamlet FC

Team: Dieng, Paul, Hamalainen, Owens, Arthur, Finney, Bowler, Eze, Wright, Chair, Grego-Cox

Sub Not Used: Herdman

This was my first trip to the Champion Hill Stadium, the home of Dulwich Hamlet FC. This new, smaller Stadium, was built on the same site as their old one and was opened in time for the commencement of the 1992-93 season.

Now, apparently, they are regarded as London’s most ‘hipster’ football club!

I was disappointed to see that Reece Grego-Cox was stuck out on the left-wing? This has been tried before and is ridiculous!

As the match kicked-off, I noticed that a youngster had climbed up one of the trees behind the goal to watch the game.

Palace had a good opportunity to open the scoring when an effort across the six-yard box just evaded both Dieng and their striker, and the ball ended up just past the far post.

The Eagles player cut in from the right, past Niko Hamalainen, but his shot aimed direct at Dieng, lacked any power.

A late challenge forced Alex Finney down for some time and he was in need of some attention. Eventually he limped off and on 26 minutes Dan Rowe replaced him.

Palace had a double effort, resulting in Dieng pushing the ball away, but he managed to get away with it.

Andre Wright took the ball forward and despite being impeded en route, he still managed to shoot at goal, which was blocked in the box.

There had been no real flow to our game and Palace almost scored just before the break but a great, last gasp challenge denied them. Half-time: 0-0.

A Palace player broke down the left and his ball into the box was fired at Seny Dieng. Not only did he make a very good stop, but he also managed to hold onto the ball.

Then just after, and under no pressure, Levi Lumeka shot low and wide of the post. Not surprisingly the Eagles did take the lead after 51 minutes.

With a Palace player down, Mr Venamore waved play on and Lumeka bombed down the left-wing. He cut in and placed the ball underneath the R’s keeper to give the hosts the lead.

Lumeka raced through again, forcing Seny Dieng to come a long way out of his area to stop him with a solid challenge. So strong in the view of some of the Palace players that they (unsuccessfully) appealed for a foul.

Paul Hall introduced Danny Darbyshire on the left-wing around the hour mark at the expense of Reece Grego-Cox.

Josh Bowler was clearly tripped in the box, but Mr Venamore awarded a free kick just outside the area! Just before the kick was taken Eze Ebuzoeme came on for Chris Paul.

Having used up their three subs, the Eagles went down to ten men as their No.3 was clearly struggling and had to leave the field.

Palace were then reduced to nine players and four minutes from time they actually doubled their lead!

A short ball intended for Josh Bowler was easily intercepted and played on to danger man Levi Lumeka, who then knocked the ball over for substitute Francis Jno-Baptiste. He continued his run through the middle and put the ball in the net.

Rangers did pull a goal back shortly after. Danny Darbyshire was fouled in the box and he wanted to take the spot-kick, as did Josh Bowler.

Eventually it was Bowler who took it and he made no mistake. As he went to retrieve the ball, Kleton Pemtreou tried to stop him picking it up and Mr Venamore booked the Palace keeper.

Palace held on and all in all it was a very disappointing afternoon for the R’s.

Steve Russell