CRYSTAL Palace U18s were comfortable 3-0 winners against Ryman Premier League side Cray Wanderers this evening. No first team players were included with a view to this weekend's trip to Ireland to face Waterford United, but fans got the chance to see Reise Allassani, who had trained with Ian Holloway's squad in Portugal a few weeks ago. Included in the Eagles' line-up was Jesse Starkey, an England U18 international recently released by Chelsea, and he took place in the middle of the park alongside Jermaine Smith. Cray were certainly up for the game in the opening stages, with much of the play coming down the left side to fire an early warning sign to the young Eagles. Elliot List provided the first spark for the visitors, making surging through the Cray defence but he was thwarted by the home goalkeeper. And then he managed to win Palace a penalty after he was tripped just inside the box following good hold-up play from Allassani. But Jake Grey saw the spot-kick saved with ease. Starkey looked tidy and assured in the middle, spraying a number of passes from left to right. But Cray were inches away from taking the lead midway just before the half-hour mark when their striker smacked the crossbar with a powerful header. They also went very close with another header which sailed a foot wide from a corner. However, Palace took the lead after 38 minutes when List burst through the middle, rounded the Cray goalkeeper and angled a shot home despite the best efforts of a back-tracking defender. Palace doubled their lead on the hour-mark when substitute Ambrose made a good run down the middle, and despite Wanderers' best efforts to clear their lines, Grey was on hand to fire the loose ball into the empty net. And two minutes later Palace grabbed their third of the evening thanks to Allassani, who tapped home into an empty net following a good save from the Cray goalkeeper. There should have been a fourth soon after when Gray nicked the ball off a hesitant Cray defender, squared to Palmer, who looked for a way through but instead squared the ball back across to Grey whose shot was cleared off the line. The hosts deserved a goal for their efforts and went close late on, again rattling the crossbar through a thunderous volley from a cross-field pass. A number of further changes were made by the Palace management to give run-outs to the full squad, and first year scholar Kyle Spence went closest with the final chance of the game when he danced his way through the home defence but was denied by a fine save. Palace U18s: Gregory, Wright (Egbo), George (Berkeley), Khinda-John, O'Dwyer, Smith (Kennedy), List (Ambrose), Starkey (Hoare), Palmer (Mohammed), Grey, Allassani. Attendance: 576By Croydon Advertiser Sports Reporter Mark Ritson
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