Leading 2-0 from the first leg, everything looked to be going to plan as we kept Chelsea at bay in the first half and added to our overall advantage with a fine strike from Shayon Harrison on 32 minutes.
But it all changed over a 13-minute spell either side of half-time as Chelsea rattled in four goals to lead 4-1 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate.
Charlie Colkett put Chelsea 5-3 from the penalty spot on 72 minutes but to the lads credit, they didn’t crumble and fought to come back into the tie.
Harrison made it 5-4 overall from the penalty spot on 82 minutes and there were two further chances – Josh Onomah was denied by a goal-saving block by Jake Clarke-Salter in the 89th minute before Cameron Carter-Vickers looped a header towards goal in the final seconds of five minutes added time only for Bradley Collins to tip the ball over.
“We came here knowing the importance of the first goal and how we needed to start the game and we did that well,” reflected coach Kieran at Stamford Bridge.
“We played on the front foot, created opportunities and Shayon scored a great goal to put us in a good position in the tie.
“We always had a threat in the first half so for us to concede just before half-time and for the tie to slip away as it did is disappointing and a missed opportunity.
“Chelsea had a really good spell before and after half-time, they have some really strong forward players who caused us problems, especially in the air.
“The lads showed spirit, we kept trying to play and got a goal back late on and from there, we were just hoping for a little bit of luck, unfortunately it didn’t just fall for us.
“The semi-final is played over 180 minutes and I thought we showed a lot of spirit and a lot of quality.
“It’s been a really good run in the competition, the lads have taken a lot of positive experiences out of it and seven will be able to play in it again next season, so there is lots to look forward to.”