Bruce Fires Off Salute To Palace Youngsters

Crystal Palace boss Steve Bruce reckoned his young side deserved their Worthington Cup glory long before they clinched victory at Everton in a penalty shoot-out after the sides were tied at 1-1 after extra time.

Crystal Palace boss Steve Bruce reckoned his young side deserved their Worthington Cup glory long before they clinched victory at Everton in a penalty shoot-out after the sides were tied at 1-1 after extra time.

Bruce saw his men hold their nerve and win on penalties 5-4, thanks to Clinton Morrison's clincher after Kevin Campbell had missed Everton's first kick.

Corbridge-born Bruce said: "I think we deserved it. I felt we deserved it even after 90 minutes. I've only been at the club a couple of months and there is still a lot of work to be done, but you can see that I have got a lot of talented young players who could do well with a bit of experience.

"They did me proud out there and we deserve to be in the next round. Overall we deserved it, because we were the better footballing side on the night."

Everton boss Walter Smith accepted Palace just about deserved their victory.

He said: "It was disappointing to lose on penalties like that. On the balance of play we were better territorially, but Palace had the better chances.

"I can't argue on that respect, but after getting off to a good start with that early penalty I felt we should have gone on to take control of the game. But we didn't do that.

"Play was scrappy in the first half and we had all the pressure in the second half without really creating anything.

"Once it goes to penalties, it's anybody's guess who will win in the end. Nobody likes losing like that, I'm disappointed, everybody's disappointed."

v Charlton manager Alan Curbishley was pleased to see youngsters Jon Fortune and Paul Konchesky take their chance against Port Vale as the Premiership side progressed to the third round of the Worthington Cup, writes RICHARD GIBSON.

The pair scored their respective first goals for the London club, one in each half, as Charlton scraped through 2-0 in teeming rain at the Valley.

Fortune's goal was controversial in the build-up as both he and Jason Euell appeared yards offside before the 21-year-old centre-back volleyed home.

It proved a drastic change of luck for the Addicks in this competition, however, having been knocked out by lowly Stoke and Bournemouth in the previous two seasons. "They both got their opportunities and I'm pleased for them that they have got their first goals," said Curbishley.

"I think we needed the enthusiasm that the two of them showed."

Luke Young made way for full-back Konchesky after just 20 minutes but Young should be fit for Sunday's visit of Leeds. His calf problem is not thought to be serious.

Converted defender Fortune - he was a centre-forward until two years ago - also has a chance of pressing a claim for Sunday's match after impressing on his full debut.

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