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Report: Bristol City U23s 0-1 Crystal Palace U23s

City Under-23s suffered a narrow 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace in the Professional Development League at Ashton Gate.

Corie Andrews gave Palace an early second-half nodding past Ivan Lucic in the 51st minute after good work from Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong on the left.

Jamie McAllister was without George Dowling, Shawn McCoulsky, Joe Morrell and Jonny Smith due to their loan commitments while Ash Harper (knee) missed out through injury.

Former Bayern Munich goalkeeper Lucic made his first league appearance for the young Robins while James Difford continued to lead the line following an impressive performance against Hull City last week.

It was the striker’s quick press that almost produced the game’s first goal as he forced former City academy stopper Kleton Perntreou to scuff  a clearance which just evaded Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, who would have had a certain chance to score.

Diego De Girolamo sent a low drive straight at Perntreou shortly after, before Difford saw his long range effort warm the hands of the Eagles keeper.

The visitors looked to exploit City in wide areas but full-backs Charlie Harris and Lloyd Kelly defended efficiently to minimise any clearcut opportunities.

City’s main threat proved to be the pace of Difford and the youngster’s clever running saw Joe McNulty clip over to De Girolamo who could only poke wide.

Difford was again in the thick of the action ending a mazy dribble with a curling attempt over the bar.

On the half-hour Palace winger Berkeley-Agyepong poked a warning shot at Lucic but City continued to dominate the first period. 

However, McAllister’s side failed to turn their control of the match into an opener and fell behind just after half-time.

Berkeley-Agyepong received the ball on the left before delivering an inch-perfect cross to Corie Andrews who headed home past Lucic.

Palace grew in confidence following the goal and tested Lucic with shots from Berkeley-Agyepong and Noor Husin.

Harris tried to draw things level with a 25-yard attempt and De Girolamo saw his powerful drive beaten away by Perntreou but the Under-23s failed to test the away side’s goal enough to earn at least a point.

City Under-23: Lucic, Harris, Baldwin, Challis, Kelly, Lyons-Foster (Pring 80), McNulty, Andrews, De Girolamo (Moss 74), Lemonheigh-Evans, Difford (Sweeney 68). Not used: Wollacott, Omofe.

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