Goals from Fabio Carvalho, Sylvester Jasper and Jean-Pierre Tiehi secured the perfect start to the year for Fulham’s under 23s as they won a five-goal thriller at Crystal Palace this afternoon.
Colin Omogbehin’s side made the perfect start in the seventh minute after enjoying the better of the early exchanges. Talented England youth international Fabio Carvalho opened the scoring in magnificent style with a beautiful chip finding the top corner after he had seized on some sloppy home defending from Sam Woods. The Whites were denied a second by a fine reaction save from Oliver Webber, but they soon doubled their lead with a wonderful move.
Jayden Harris worked clever one-twos at pace with Carvalho and Tiehi before threading a through ball between the Palace defence to release Jasper. The in-form winger made light of the acute angle – clinically converting the chance with a modicum of fuss. But for all the sublime quality of Fulham’s flowing football, some worrying defensive naivety allowed the Eagles back into a game that looked well beyond them.
A clumsy challenge from Lesley Duru on striker John-Kymani Gordon earned the hosts a spot-kick, which Sion Spence comfortably converted, and after Tiehi had seen a predatory finish chalked off for offside, the Eagles levelled just before the break. Woods won possession high up the pitch, fed Spence and the skipper’s smart lay-off allowed Brandon Pierrick to skip inside and fire past a helpless Luca Ashby-Hammond.
The young Whites would have been incredibly disappointed to go in level at half-time and it took just five minutes of the second half for Fulham to forge ahead once more. Tiehi eventually got the goal another excellent all-round performance merited when Carvalho seized on a poor Palace pass to surge away from inside his own half and his perfectly judged pass allowed the French forward to guide home his eighth league goal of the season.
Palace pressed for an equaliser with Pierrick’s deflected shot bringing a smart stop from Ashby-Hammond, Harlem Hale sending a volley wide and Ashby-Hammond making a sublime stop after dashing off his line to deny Pierrick in a one-on-one. The Whites managed the remainder of the game impressively and the win sees them climb above their south London rivals in the Premier League 2 table.
CRYSTAL PALACE U23s: Webber, Taylor, Hannam, M. Boateng, Hobbs, Baghuelou (Hale, 60), Kirby (Giddings, 60), Woods, Gordon (Matthews, 71), Spence, Pierrick. Subs (not used): Russell, Watson.
FULHAM U23s: L. Ashby-Hammond; Duru, McAvoy, Larkeche, Murphy; Davis, Harris, De Havilland (O’Neill 45); Carvalho, Jasper, Tiehi. Subs (not used): Abraham, Mee, Biereth, Benjamin.