Both sides held the lead at various stages of the game but it was the Blues who emerged victorious in the third meeting of the sides within a fortnight – with one more still to come in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday.
It was substitute Tammy Abraham who saved the day for the visitors on this occasion, rattling in a hat-trick in the last 17 minutes to hand his team the points in the first match of the Barclays Under-18 Premier League play-off stage.
The game, held at our Training Centre, marked the return of goalkeeper Harry Voss after a couple of weeks on the sidelines and he was quickly into action, making a fine one-on-one block to deny Jeremie Boga with less than two minutes gone.
Chelsea kept us penned in for the first few moments, but we struck the first blow when Marcus Edwards tricked his way past Josh Grant on the right-hand touchline and cut infield before picking out Harrison in space in the box – the forward gleefully firing into the net to give us a sixth-minute advantage.
Right-back Chris Paul then made a beeline for the visitors’ goal and tried a shot that was repelled by Blues stopper Jared Thompson, with Joe Muscatt subsequently curling over the bar.
Chelsea equalised on 13 minutes when Ruben Sammut scored with a free header from Charly Musonda’s right wing free-kick and it was 2-1 to the visitors nine minutes later as a ball in from the right was flicked onto the crossbar and Ike Ugbo converted from the rebound.
We drew level on 27 minutes when Cy Goddard – also back from injury – drove purposefully through the middle and played in to the feet of Harrison, whose shot was partially blocked by Thompson but squirmed under him and crept over the line.
Shortly after the half-hour mark, Edwards and Goddard pulled off a tantalising exchange of passes on the edge of the area which ended with the former going through on goal. Instead of shooting, Edwards unselfishly pulled the ball back across the six-yard box but Grant was there to intervene and the chance went begging.
The visitors capitalised, taking a 35th-minute lead as Ugbo went clean through on goal and made no mistake as he hammered past Voss. Kasey Palmer then tested our custodian with a long-range drive as the Blues went in 3-2 ahead at the interval.
We began the second period on the offensive and three minutes after the break the game swung back in our favour. Edwards raced down the left and invaded Chelsea’s 18-yard box but was brought down as he approached the near post. A penalty was awarded and up stepped Harrison to complete his treble from 12 yards, despite Thompson guessing the right way.
A fine individual effort from Harrison put us into the lead on 52 minutes – the forward pouncing on a loose ball in midfield, driving forward and clipping a crisp shot across Thompson and inside the far post – but we would come to regret our failure to hold onto that advantage.
Both sides made changes as the half wore on and it was the introduction of tall striker Abraham that would prove most effective. He restored parity on 73 minutes, cutting in from the left and working himself into a shooting position before lashing into the net, before nudging his side back in front five minutes later.
It was an unfortunate series of events that led to the goal – Voss played the ball short to Luke Amos but the defensive midfielder slipped on the edge of the box and, despite the best efforts of Christian Maghoma to block, Abraham crashed the ball in off the underside of the bar.
We then went back on the offensive, Edwards curling just wide and substitute Ryan Loft seeing his shot charged down at the edge of Chelsea’s area.
Musonda went close for the Blues, his rasping drive from 20 yards stinging the palms of the airborne Voss, while Harrison fired wide on the break as he sought to add to his tally.
The visitors wrapped the game up a minute into stoppage time as Ugbo flicked the ball into the path of Abraham, who clipped it over Voss at the near post to complete his treble.
Spurs U18s: Voss, Paul, Muscatt, Amos, Maghoma, Walkes, Stylianides, Goddard (Hayford 61), Harrison, Edwards (Loft 80), Sterling (Daly 66). Substitutes (not used): Ross, Glover (GK).