Norwich City Under-18s took a 3-2 loss to Crystal Palace after a second-half hat-trick from Victor Akinwale on Saturday afternoon.
It was a scrappy affair in the first ten minutes of the game, which was natural since the sides both had to take time to figure each other out, having never played each other before. Nevertheless, the Canaries looked the more comfortable side, but Palace weren’t without their chances.
Although, it didn’t take long after the first ten minutes for the City side to find the opener. Sean Stewart was causing problems down the wing early, cutting in and out from the defenders to free up a cross. One cross in the eleventh minute proved that danger, when Omotoye Adaramola looked to clear, instead heading into his own netting to give up the first goal.
Just two minutes later, Palace almost found their leveller when Akinwale was given a volley inside the six-yard box, his shot firing over the crossbar.
The next real chance of the game came City’s way, when a Jon Rowe cross darted for the boot of Abu Kamara in the visitors’ 18-yard box. The threat was there, but Kamara was just inches off seeing it home, the ball rolling past him away from danger.
Palace almost got that equaliser in the 30th minute, when scrappy play inside the City box saw the final shot go the Eagles’ way, shooting over the bar once more.
When it was least expected, City doubled their lead with just ten minutes of the half remaining. Coming to the halfway line for a clearance, Sam Blair looped the ball into Palace’s box, with some neat passing play finding Tony Springett, who cutting inside and slot his shot under the ‘keeper.
Unable to get a goal back, whilst the young Canaries were unable to get a third, the first half ended with a two-goal advantage in favour of the hosts.
The only real chance in the first 20 minutes was unpleasant news for the Canaries - Palace getting one back. A save from Blair deflected into the path of Akinwale in the six-yard box, who wasn’t making a mistake again, chesting the ball into the bottom corner to get Palace just one behind.
City’s most meaningful chance after that goal came for Rowe, who’s header from a corner was just wide of the post.
Going up the other end just seconds later from the goal-kick, Palace were given the best chance possible to level the scores, receiving a penalty after a push from behind from Ola Okeowo in the box. Akinwale stepped up to the spot, converting for his brace as Blair couldn’t get a good hand to the shot.
Pushing on after scoring, Akinwale bagged his hat-trick just five minutes later with a diving header at the far post, also giving Palace the lead with just over ten minutes to go.
Looking for what was now a leveller, City just couldn’t quite find another serious chance, seeing the Eagles taking all three points at full time.
Norwich City starting XI: Blair, Okeowo, Stewart, Brown, Warner (Shipley, 46), Alidor-Hamilton (Brooke, 64), Pitcher, Earley (c), Kamara (Kamara, 80), Rowe, Springett
Subs not used: Jackson, Hills
Goals: Adaramola (OG, 11) Springett (36)
Crystal Palace starting XI: Goodman, Watson (Quick, 46), Adaramola, Steele (c), Siddik, Bartley, Thisleton, Wells-Morrison, Akinwale, Mooney (Gonzalez, 57), Omilabu
Subs not used: Cadogan, Whitworth, Sakyi, Jobson
Goals: Akinwale (57, 73, 78)