Under 18's Match Report

BLUES U18S 2 CRYSTAL PALACE U18S1

Akwasi Asante
Akwasi Asante scored the winner on his return to action for the under-18s.
Akwasi Asante marked his first under-18 appearance in four months by hitting the winner as Blues came from behind to beat Crystal Palace at Wast Hills last weekend.

The Holland-born striker has been sidelined due to injury but the team's top marksman showed he has lost none of his eye for goal with a smart turn and shot to conclude the scoring.

The visitors had taken an early lead on seven minutes but their advantage was quickly wiped out by Brice Ntambwe's well-taken equaliser.

The Belgian midfielder unleashed a first-time drive from the edge of the box that found the corner of the Palace net.

Asante's instinctive strike sealed victory just before half-time to the delight of youth coach Steve Spooner.

"It was a typical Akwasi goal where there didn't really seem any imminent danger from the opponents' point of view, then one little twist and turn and it's in the net," recalled Spooner.

"It was nice to welcome him back into the team and the goal was perfect timing so we went into the break in front."

Academy coach Steve Spooner
Youth coach Steve Spooner.
Spooner was pleased with the overall performance of his team, adding: "This was the third game on the trot where we responded to going a goal down, albeit in the first one we didn't get anything but in the last two games we've shown tremendous character.

"We defended better in units, from the front and through midfield. We spoke a lot about condensing play and they seem to have taken that on board in the last few weeks.

"Over the last three games the players have expanded a lot of energy and enthusiasm and their desire to work and press the ball has been very encouraging."

Blues are guaranteed a sixth-placed finish in the ten-club Premier Academy League Group B and round off the season with a trip to rock-bottom MK Dons this Saturday.

"There are three points at stake and the opportunity for them to go through the summer months with a good strong performance from a team point of view, but just as importantly from an individual point of view," concluded Spooner.

Blues: Townsend, Ozturk, Hancox, Ntambwe, Delfouneso, Gasgoigne, Hales, Reilly, Asante, Newell, Bell.
Subs not used: Westley, Ebanks, Brown, Gray.

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