A clinical Crystal Palace showed why they are the national champions in the U23 Professional Development League 2 with a 4-0 victory over Crewe Alexandra at the Alexandra Stadium yesterday afternoon.
Manager Alex Morris named Dave Richards in goal (wearing the captain`s armband) with a back 4 of Travis Johnson, Brad Walker, Luke Offord and Zoumana Bakayago. In front of them, Josh Lundstram and Ollie Finney played centrally with Alex Hurst on the right and Tom Lowery on the left whilst Lewis Reilly was partnered by Luke Walsh up front.
The opening chance of the game fell to the hosts with Finney hitting the post from a right-wing cross from Reilly with a volley from the edge of the area before Lundstram fired a shot past the far post after being played in by Walsh.
Palace took the lead just after the half-hour mark as Tyrick Mitchell`s low cross was turned in by Nya Kirby from just outside the 6-yard box before the lead was extended 6 minutes later as a Kirby in-swinging free-kick was headed home by James Daly, his 7th in 10 games at this level.
They extended it further 5 minutes after the break as half-time substitute Joe Hungbo was fouled by Bakayago with Jason Lokilo scoring into the top corner despite Richards getting a hand on it. The final goal came 5 minutes from time as Kian Flanagan scored from 30 yards out past Richards` dive.
The final 2 games at this level see Sheffield United travel to Reaseheath on Thursday afternoon before the final game sees a trip to Loftus Road to face QPR next Monday afternoon.
Crewe: Richards ©; T. Johnson, Walker, Offord, Bakayago; Hurst (Griffiths), Lundstram, Finney (Adebesi), Lowery; Reilly, Walsh
Crystal Palace: Tupper; Stabana, T. Brown ©, L. Brown, Mitchell; Lokilo (Dremer), Kirby (Hungbo), McGregor, Lumeka; Daly (Street), Flanagan