CRYSTAL Palace's Development Squad played out a goalless draw against Conference South outfit Havant and Waterlooville this evening. It was a good test and step up for the young Eagles following their 4-1 win at Beckenham Town last Friday. A number of players were given a run-out, which is what it's all about in pre-season, while powerful defender Ryan Inniss came on for the final few minutes after five months out with injury. Palace nearly took the lead after just 22 seconds when Sullay KaiKai controlled the ball inside the box and smacked the crossbar with a ferocious shot. KaiKai had a half chance soon after when he found space 12 yards out and swivelled to shoot but was crowded out by three home defenders Jacob Berkeley should have given the young Eagles the lead when KaiKai played a superb ball into his path, and in a one-on-one situation he decided to square to trialist Fizz but the ball was poor. Havant conjured up their first chance of the evening when Ben Swallow cut in from the right and sent a shot over the crossbar. A mistake from the home defence from a free-kick allowed Reise Allassani a chance to run at goal but his effort was well blocked, before the ball was sent up the field and Shamir Mullings shot narrowly wide. Palace had skipper Connor Dymond to thank to keep them in the game on the half-hour mark when he headed off the line following a corner. Allassani fired a dangerous cross into the box after taking on the Havant left-back but none of his team-mates could control the ball. KaiKai sent a low shot from outside the box which Havant goalkeeper Ryan Young did well to smother, while Mullings blazed a shot well wide at the other end before the break. Allassani continued to pose problems down the right and got the better of his marker to win a free-kick on the stroke of half-time. And KaiKai was close to finding the back of the net from the resulting dead ball but it went narrowly over. Academy boss Gary Issott decided against making any changes at the break, while the hosts should have opened the scoring when Scott Donnelly placed a shot just wide after a clever backheel from Bradley Bubb. Young had to be alert in the Havant goal when he denied Allassani from latching onto a threaded pass from Berkeley, and then Allassani was involved again, this time getting to the byline and saw a low cross cut out. The home defence was alert to cut out another Allassani cross following good hold-up play from KaiKai, while Mandela Egbo came on for trialist Henry at right-back. KaiKai was a whisker away from breaking the deadlock when he found space 25 yards out and sent a rasping shot just past the post via a deflection. And from the corner, Dymond rose to head towards goal by Young held on. A number of changes were made by Issott midway through the half, with the likes of Gus Sow, Morgan Ferrier and Luke Croll all coming on. Allassani thought he should have had a penalty soon after when he appeared to be brought down but the referee waved away his protests. And Palace cranked up the pressure when Ferrier shot across goal, the ball deflected off a Havant defender into Fizz's feet and the ball somehow went the wrong side of the post. To be fair to the trialist, the ball came to him at pace and he probably didn't know much about it. Issott gave three Palace's U18 players some game time with 12 minutes remaining, while Ryan Inniss came on for Allassani in the final few moments after five months injured since his loan debut for Gillingham in February. Pakace looked for winner late on and they should have come away with victory with the final chance of the game when Ferrier did brilliantly to beat a defender but the big striker blasted wide. A good workout for both sides but a little disappointing not to see a goal on the south coast. Palace U21s: Gregory, Henry (Trialist) (Egbo 60), George, Magri (Trialist), Chambers, Dymond ©, Black (Sow 70), Allassani (Inniss 85) Berkeley, KaiKai (Ferrier 70), Fizz (Trialist).
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