Our under-18s slipped to a 2-0 defeat away at Chelsea on Saturday.
Marc Guehi and Billy Gilmour both struck in the first half as the Blues maintained their 100 per cent record in this season’s Under-18 Premier League.
SETTING THE SCENE
Kwame Ampadu made just one change from our emphatic 6-1 victory against West Ham United in our previous fixture, with Bukayo Saka coming into the starting lineup for Zech Medley, who joined up with the under-23s side on their away trip to Manchester United.
Joao Virginia started in goal once again, behind a defence of Vontae Daley-Campbell, Jospeh Olowu, Daniel Ballard and Tobi Omole. In midfield, Kwame Ampadu paired Josh Benson and James Olayinka together, with Saka, Robbie Burton and Emile Smith-Rowe forming a three-pronged attack in behind Fol Balogun, who led the line.
Heading into the tie, Chelsea hadn’t lost a game or conceded a goal in any of their previous fixtures and proved to be tough opponents at home in Cobham.
It took just seven minutes for the hosts to open the scoring, with George McEachran’s corner finding Guehi, who impressively volleyed the ball past Virginia. The centre-back peeled off at the far post and leapt into the air acrobatically to meet the ball and give his side an early lead.
In search of an equaliser, we came close to scoring through the sloppiness of Chelsea’s goalkeeper Jamie Cumming, who awkwardly met Smith-Rowe’s curling free-kick delivery and dropped the ball at the feet of Benson and Balogun, with the latter snatching the ball. Cumming did well, however, to put the striker under immediate pressure and the bodies in the box proved to be too many, with Balogun only able to send an effort trickling just wide of post.
Shortly before the half-time break, in the 43rd minute, Chelsea doubled their lead, with Gilmour completing a well-worked move for the Blues by firing a powerful shot past Virginia.
Following the interval, we restarted positively and came close to scoring through Olowu, who sent a point-blank header at Cumming. The centre-half rose up to meet Smith-Rowe’s corner, but could only direct his header straight at Cumming, who parried the ball down, and after a short scramble Chelsea cleared.
Looking to add a third, Chelsea fashioned a great chance when Martell Taylor-Crossdale broke our defensive line with a great ball to Juan Castillo, who raced through on goal, but was denied by the sprawling leg of Virginia.
We came close to reducing the deficit shortly after, when Benson teed up Tyreece John-Jules, who took the ball with his back to goal on the edge of the penalty area and turned smartly, but fired his shot straight at Cumming.
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