Guidetti 30mins, Boyata 38mins, Fofana 45mins
Crystal Palace 4
Sekajja 40mins & 42mins, Daniel 57mins, Appiah 60mins
- Match reports
- 29 March 2013 15:06
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
A Good Friday blockbuster was served up at Platt Lane but Crystal Palace emerged as 4-3 victors in a topsy-turvy u21 Premier League encounter.
Goals from John Guidetti, Dedryck Boyata and Seko Fofana were cancelled out by two goals in three second half minutes from the South London visitors.
The Bank Holiday weekend may be a break for the rest of the working nation but for footballers it’s a busy weekend and plenty of industry was on show at this lunchtime kick-off at Platt Lane.
Britain’s endless winter finally seemed to thaw for the occasion, bathing this corner of Moss Side in pale sunshine, which allowed this rearranged game from February to take place at the second time of asking.
City entertained a Crystal Palace side rooted to the bottom of National Group 2 of the Barclays u21 Premier League, having accrued just two points from their opening four games.
Former Eagle Attilio Lombardo has locked horns with the club he briefly managed in the late nineties twice already this season, with both matches finishing all square.
Lombardo made two changes from the team that went down 3-2 to Norwich City last time out, with Mathias Bossaerts and Albert Rusnak making way for Boyata and Fofana in the line-up.
Jose Angel Pozo was also missing from the XI after turning out for Spain u17s three times in Euro Elite Round qualifiers, so Guidetti, scorer of four goals in his three appearances at this level going into this one, kept his place in the XI.
With just one qualification place up for the finals up for grabs from this pool, three points were imperative for the Blues to keep their hopes of a play-off place alive and they made a bright start to the game, with Lopes, Suarez and Fofana making a nuisance of themselves between the Palace lines.
Despite this early domination, City were unable to force Gregory into a meaningful save in the first 30 minutes of a tense opening but Guidetti made no mistake with his first attempt on goal.
Although there was a heavy deflection on his strike from a narrow angle after a City corner, there was no doubting the Swede’s predatory instincts as he took his tally to five in four games.
That goal sparked the game into life and a crazy few minutes before half-time followed.
First, City doubled their advantage from another corner – this time it was Boyata who bundled home before Sekajja hit a composed double on the break to level up the game.
It looked like it might stay that way until the half-time break until new signing Fofana arrived at the back post to steer in under the keeper to make it 3-2 to Lombardo’s men.
The two matches between the teams earlier in the season had been tight, cagey affairs but this one was anything but, with the game being played in a buccaneering, carefree spirit.
This pattern continued after the break and the Londoners soon turned the game on its head on the hour mark with two goals of the very highest quality.
If Daniel's thunderbolt equaliser from 20-yards on 57 minutes was a stunning strike, then Appiah’s control and volley on 60 minutes was even better, looping over Lawlor and leaving the Irishman with no chance.
Lombardo had no choice but to react and he gambled on an extra striker, swapping Fofana for Devante Cole as the Blues somehow found themselves in a position where they were seeking an equaliser.
Unfortunately for City, this Jekyll and Hyde encounter finally crystallised into its earliest state with clear-cut chances at a premium for the latter stages.
Only substitute Sinan Bytyqi’s half-hearted penalty shout on 85 minutes provided an albeit short-lived suggestion of a response.
It’s a quick turnaround now, with just four days before until the reverse fixture at Selhurst Park on Wednesday night.
Revenge will most certainly be on the agenda.