Over the course of summer 2015, recruitment began for a new Educational Academy Programme to be housed at Carshalton Boys Sports College in the heart of Sutton. The Academy is designed to provide young talented footballers with a means of playing football at a professional youth standard whilst studying to gain their academic certificates.
Now with the cohort standing at 22 strong, the boys are hard in training whilst studying for their A-level qualifications during the week. The boys are coached by full time professional Crystal Palace FC Foundation coaches, with Head Coach, Gideon Jackson, holding his UEFA B license. The aim is to replicate the professional environment of a Premier League football academy in the hope the youngsters will go on to compete at a high level within the English game.
The competitive fixtures schedule began a few weeks back with our squad competing in the Premier League/Football League Under 19 Development League alongside other Premier League outfits such as Chelsea, Spurs, Bournemouth and Watford.
The boys began their season in style with a convincing 4-0 win over London rivals, Spurs, to take all 3 points from their first official League game. This week the Crystal Palace youngsters took on an experienced Watford side from North Herts College, narrowly loosing out by 2 goals to 1.
Match report follows.
Watford FC (NH) vs Crystal Palace FC Foundation
The Crystal Palace boys were entering the second game of their competitive season on a high, buoyed by the 4-0 win against Tottenham the previous week.
Full of confidence and with morale high, Crystal Palace began the game on the front foot from kick-off, carrying the ball forward with drive and determination to force a smart save from Watford goalkeeper, Ponting.
20 minutes had passed before Watford began to gain a foothold in the game. The yellow’s centre forward, Tommy Orumwense, latching on to a low driven cross to the back post but only managing to poke the ball 3 yards wide of the Palace net.
As the game ebbed and flowed, the Palace youngsters began to control possession in the centre of the park, with Palace’s number 4, Michael Simmons, pulling the strings in midfield.
Simmons again on the ball, burst into the Watford final third, again forcing a fine save low to the left hand corner of Watford’s resilient goalkeeper.
It was now Watford’s turn to have a go at the Palace goalmouth, as a smart break resulted in a 1 v 1 with Palace goalkeeper, Nicky Dhanjal, who moved off his line well to smother the danger.
As Watford’s passing play gained momentum, they were gifted a penalty by the referee as Dhanjal carelessly brought down the Watford forward in his penalty area. Watford’s Josh Coley stepped up to take the penalty but Palace goalkeeper Dhanjal was equal to the task, atoning for his error with an astonishing save low to his left hand post.
Half Time – 0-0
The Watford boys began the second half the quicker and shortly after the restart were rewarded with a second penalty as a clumsy challenge brought down the Watford centre forward in the box. Josh Coley again stepped up to take his second penalty of the game and this time slotted the ball confidently passed Dhanjal in the Palace net.
Watford 1-0 Crystal Palace
Trailing by 1 goal to nil, the Palace boys began to apply some pressure on the Watford backline as a searching ball was played over the top, looking for Palace forward Tyler Barnard. Acknowledging he was in an offside position, Barnard correctly ignored the ball and began retreating when a rapid Josh Danquah advanced from a midfield position to latch on to the lofted pass and produce a composed finish over the advancing Watford keepers head.
Watford 1-1 Crystal Palace
Having worked hard to get on level pegging, the Palace boy’s efforts were undone as Watford surged forward from the kick-off and after some confident two-touch football found the net to produce the games winning goal.
The game ended 2-1 to Watford FC with Palace goalkeeper NICKY DHANJAL picking up man of the match.
A narrow loss has not dampened spirits and the team have knuckled down in training since the loss, with a great team ethic developing and demonstrating plenty of positive attitudes.
For those potential students who would like to enroll on our College Education programmes there will be trials held soon; keep an eye out on the Foundation website for dates and venues.