Kian Flanagan’s goal 20 minutes from time was enough for Crystal Palace to defeat Crewe Alexandra in the Under-23 Professional Development League at the Alexandra Stadium this afternoon.
Manager Alex Morris named Dave Richards in goal (as captain) with a back 4 of Travis Johnson, trialist Christian Mbulu, Billy Sass-Davies and Rio Adebisi in front of him. Josh Lundstram and James Jones played in central midfield flanked by Owen Dale and Callum Ainley with Ollie Finney playing in behind Lewis Reilly.
In a game of few chances, Finney should have put the Alex in the lead on the quarter-hour mark after a great run down the right saw the midfielder unmarked in the centre with his effort missing the target as he elected to get it on his favoured left foot. He would also have a shot a couple of minutes later from a tight-angle with his effort hitting the side-netting.
Into the second half where Palace had a couple of chances in the early minutes with Nya Kirby and Jason Lokilo both had chances, the latter from a long-range free-kick that Richards saved easily. The goal came in the 70th minute following a break where Jones couldn’t find the right angle to get a shot off with Flanagan and Lokilo playing a 1-2 with the former firing past Richards. While the final Alex chance came with 5 minutes to play as an inswinging corner from Adebisi was headed goalwards by Sass-Davies and flicked onto the bar by David Boateng.
Crewe (4-2-3-1): Richards (c); Johnson, Mbulu, Sass-Davies, Adebisi; Lundstram, Jones (Offord 71); Dale, Finney (Heath 62), Ainley (Griffiths 71); Reilly
Crystal Palace (4-4-1-1): Henry; Tavares, Inniss, Woods, Hobbs (D. Boateng 3); Pierrick, McGregor, Kirby (M. Boateng 63), Lokilo; Flanagan; Daly (Street 75)