The season seems to be flying by at the moment, with games coming thick and fast. It’s great to be playing regularly, and hopefully it can stay this way.
Since my last blog, we have had some very contrasting results in the Academy League. We lost three games on the spin, with two of those games at home, but we have bounced back and beaten two very good teams in Bristol City and West Ham United.
Academy League: Crystal Palace v Bristol City
Against Bristol City we knew that we needed to ‘stop the rot’ and get something out of the game. It was fantastic to win the game as we expected, but beforehand we would have probably settled for a point simply to end the run of defeats. We trained really hard in the week after the Leicester defeat and it paid off for us on the Saturday.
We started the game on fire and really got at Bristol in the opening 20 minutes. We needed to play at a high tempo and make sure we utilised our strengths, which are our pace and athleticism. After taking the lead we couldn’t afford to sit back and enjoy it, as that had been our undoing in the previous weeks. We can’t afford to be happy with 1-0, we need to push on and get 2, 3 and 4.
We thankfully did push on and managed to score the elusive 2nd and 3rd goals, and held on to the 3 goal advantage until late in the game. As a defender your prime target is to keep a clean sheet and to stop that ball going into your net through whatever means necessary.
With 5 minutes to go I was pretty confident that we would collect our first clean sheet of the season and have a great final score line. We weren’t under pressure and the game was as good as over, so it was disappointing that we gave away two penalties and couldn’t see out the game comfortably.
We need to eradicate these small mistakes from our games, as a very comfortable game of 3-0 quickly turned uneasy. When you see the score line of 3-2 you assume it has been a close, hard-fought game in which both teams had a chance of winning.
Anyone at the game would know this wasn’t the case, so it is disappointing to. Jerry Nnamani played for us against Bristol and I think he really helped us. I enjoy playing alongside him as we have a good understanding, and as he is more experienced then me he is always talking to me to make sure I am correct positionally.
Reserves: Crystal Palace v Brighton & Hove Albion
After a confidence boosting result and performance against Bristol City, I was involved with the Reserves on Wednesday afternoon against Brighton at home. Again I played alongside Jerry, and it was a good experience to play with some more established players such as Lewis Price, Pablo Counago and Jon Obika. We won the game 3-1 and I was happy with how I played. It was my first start for the Reserves this year, so hopefully I can get a few more in before Christmas.
Academy League: West Ham United v Crystal Palace
On the weekend it was back to the league with a very tough away game to West Ham United at their Littleheath training ground. We were lifted from our win against Bristol and felt good going into the game.
The Hammers were sitting top of the League before we visited them so we knew they’d be tough and playing with confidence. We knew about a lot of their players already and talked during the week how we would deal with them, and in the end I thought we dealt with them really well.
The game itself probably wasn’t the best to watch as both teams were cancelling each other out; we had some good chances in the first half, and so did they. It was a battling first half performance by us and we weren’t too disappointed to go in at half time 0-0.
We have great athletes in our team who have bundles of pace and can run forever. This gives us the confidence to know that we can fight ‘til the end and grind out results. As long as we could keep a clean sheet, we are always likely to nick a goal. This is the way the game went in the second half, with Kyle De-Silva scoring two late goals.
It was a great feeling to beat West Ham as we know they are one of the best teams in the league and we will be up there come the end of the season. Personally it’s been nice to have 3 good games in 7 days, so hopefully we can keep that going for this week’s visit of Charlton Athletic.