After the first-team made headlines over the weekend, Crystal Palace Under-23s made history today by starting their first competitive match as a Category 1 Academy. The achievement is the realisation of years of work behind the scenes and marks a huge step-up in the club’s status and future.
To celebrate the occasion, Palace were able to field a roster of players with first-team experience - two, Martin Kelly and Christian Benteke, with hundreds of appearances between them.
- Christian Benteke and Martin Kelly start in a strong lineup
- Fin Thorndike scores for West Brom minutes after Palace’s Alfie Matthews hits the crossbar
- The Eagles enjoy several chances and Scott Banks takes their first after 35 minutes
- Half-time: Crystal Palace 1-1 West Bromwich Albion U23s
- The Baggies net their second minutes into the second-half via Windsor
- After a quiet spell, Palace pull level through a Banks penalty
- Very late in the game, Kian Flanagan drills home Palace's third
- Even later, Cheikh Diaby drills home a dying seconds equaliser
- Full-time: Crystal Palace 3-3 West Bromwich Albion U23s
But the Eagles’ strengthened hand didn’t entitle them to an easy afternoon, and West Brom appeared sharp as they pressed their hosts early on.