Crystal Palace 1
Dymond (own goal) 45mins
- Match reports
- 03 April 2013 20:57
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
Micah Richards and Maicon both returned to action in another hotly-contested encounter between City EDS and Crystal Palace.
It was thought that this Barclays u21 Premier League would be the perfect opportunity to put vital minutes into the legs of the City Academy graduate and the Brazilian international.
Tooting and Mitchum FC’s Imperial Fields played host to the defensive duo’s comeback where Darcey Blake’s 17th minute header was cancelled out on the stroke of half-time by a Connor Dymond own goal in another breathless meeting between the teams.
It was the second game between the sides in five days, after Platt Lane hosted a Good Friday thriller, with Palace coming out on top with a 4-3 victory. On that occasion, City were undone by a couple of wonder strikes from quick Palace breakaways.
This time, Attilio Lombardo was able to name his most experienced defence of the season so far, with Richards partnering Belgium u21 international Boyata in the centre and with Maicon given license to bomb on from right-back.
Behind them, in a bizarre twist of fate, goalkeeper Angus Gunn made his City u21s debut on the same ground that his father Bryan made his reserve team bow at Norwich City 27 years before.
However, there was nothing the England u17 stopper could when the Eagles notched first on 17 minutes, courtesy of former Cardiff City midfielder Blake, who met a corner from the left with a glancing header.
Richards, showing little ill-effect from his five-month lay-off, was his usual all-action self, and he nearly levelled for the Blues minutes later when he latched on to a wayward Denis Suarez shot and fired for goal but Palace keeper Pryce got down and saved well.
It was the fourth time that the teams had met in the 2012/13 season and this familiarity had seemed to have bred a degree of contempt late in the first-half when handbags were locked and loaded for a flashpoint involving several players which originated from a tackle by Dymond on Richards.
After tempers were suitably cooled, City set about finding a way back into the match and they found it with the last action of the first-half.
Rusnak jinked on the left of the box and pitched in a cross which hit Crystal Palace's Dymond and trickled into the back of the net to restore parity.
As planned by the City medical department, Richards was withdrawn at half-time and Ellis Plummer took his place for the second period.
Chances were thin on the ground after the break, with only a half chance whistling wide from Crystal Palace’s Wynter to speak of in the opening 20 minutes of the half.
Maicon made way for Mathias Bossaerts after 65 minutes - again, as planned by the medical department - but the half never quite managed to live up to the previous 135 minutes between the teams.
Emyr Huws was a stand-out performer for City at the base of midfield, standing up to the physical challenge of the home side and keeping the ball moving for Lombardo's men - likewise Gunn was accomplished in all of his duties in goal on his u21s debut.
City dominated possession more as the game went on, with Suarez and Albert Rusnak looking particularly threatening but, despite plenty of perspiration and the odd half chance, neither side could force the winning goal, meaning that there was a third draw between City and Crystal Palace under-21s this season.
The Blues are next in action away at Bolton Wanderers on Monday afternoon.