U23sLiverpool 0-3 Crystal Palace: Match report
Liverpool U23s suffered a disappointing 3-0 defeat by Crystal Palace at the Academy on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors were well worth their win in the Premier League 2 encounter, against a Reds team missing several regulars on the day.
A one-goal deficit at the break was stretched by another two in the second period and a comeback never looked likely, with the home side lacking cutting edge around the opposition box.
A quiet opening phase of the game proved to be the calm before the storm as Palace took the lead just before the quarter-hour mark.
The Reds lost the ball in midfield and Scott Banks advanced to unleash an unstoppable shot past Marcelo Pitaluga from 20 yards out.
It was almost two within a minute, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi finding only the side-netting from a good position in the Liverpool box.
The home side eventually stirred and went close to an equaliser courtesy of a fine effort from James Norris – playing on the left of the front line – after Jack Bearne’s shot had been charged down.
Palace were still continuing to set the pace, though, and were disappointed not to extend their lead from a huge goalmouth scramble following a corner.
A couple of fine diagonals from centre-back Billy Koumetio helped create some dangerous situations for the Reds, but they were still unable to trouble Joe Whitworth in the Palace goal.
Another loss of possession allowed the visitors to send in a dangerous cross from the left for Nya Kirby, who lent back on his half-volley and scooped it over.
Pitaluga was one of Liverpool’s better performers and kept the gap to one just before the interval as he did well to smother at the feet of John-Kymani Gordon.
The second half began in the worst possible fashion for the hosts as Palace won a penalty within three minutes, Jarell Quansah diving into a challenge on Omotayo Adaramola.
Banks stepped up to convert for his second goal of the game despite Pitaluga going close to a save.
Bearne hit a decent effort too close to Whitworth as the Reds tried to respond, while at the other end Rak-Sakyi dragged a shot wide after a cross evaded several defenders.
Stefan Bajcetic was forced off from his holding midfield position with just over 20 minutes left and within seconds Liverpool had conceded a third.
Kirby was one of three Palace players with too much space in the box and his shot on the turn was enough to beat Pitaluga.
Elijah Dixon-Bonner brought energy and direction off the bench as Barry Lewtas’ team went looking for a consolation, Tony Gallacher’s attempt was deflected on to the roof of the net with Whitworth scrambling, and Norris’ low drive was spilled by the goalkeeper but with no-one there to turn home the rebound.
The closest the Reds came was deep in injury time when the impressive Dixon-Bonner took Tom Clayton’s ball, cut inside and almost squeezed it past Whitworth at his near post.
Liverpool U23s: Pitaluga, Quansah, Gallacher, Koumetio, Boyes, Bajcetic (Corness, 70), Clayton, Bearne, Norris, Woltman (Dixon-Bonner, 75), Musialowski.
Unused substitute: Kelly.