A four-goal salvo from Shayon Harrison, coupled with a brace from Josh Onomah and a well-taken strike from Lloyd Ross, sealed a 7-2 victory and cemented our position atop the domestic standings with two games to spare.
We’ll now entertain Everton, runners-up in the northern division, in the end-of-season play-offs.
Chelsea, who participated in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup final against Fulham less than 24 hours before Tuesday’s game, fielded a young side – and it was they who went close in the first minute when Ike Ugbo fired just wide under pressure from Filip Lesniak.
Isaac Christie-Davies was also off-target five minutes later as the Blues made a lively start, while Lloyd Ross nearly volleyed us in front after Cy Goddard’s free-kick wasn’t cleared – only for Richard Nartey, as the last line of defence, to block.
George Brady headed the home side into the lead on 11 minutes, rising high at the back post to nod Kyle Scott’s right-sided cross back across goal and into the top corner.
We were back on level terms 11 minutes later as Shayon Harrison picked up the pieces from Josh Onomah’s blocked shot, emphatically finding the net with a well-placed shot on the turn.
Harrison drilled past the wrong side of the upright two minutes later, while Channing Campbell-Young’s looping cross from the right was just taken off the head of the forward by a brave defensive header from Jacob Maddox.
Chelsea regained the advantage with another aerial attack on 36 minutes. A corner was swung in by Christie-Davies and again it was Brady who met it, this time planting a bullet header inside the post after an intelligent near-post run caught our defence napping.
We responded quickly, though, evening the game up within two minutes when Lloyd Ross steered home Nathan Oduwa’s ball in from the right at the first time of asking – netting his first goal at Under-18 level in the process.
Two minutes before the break we went in front for the first time in the game, Connor Ogilvie exhibiting great control as he barrelled down the left before crossing for Harrison. His shot crept under goalkeeper Jared Thompson and, although Nartey tried to scramble it off the line, the referee’s assistant flagged to indicate the ball had crossed the line and we went in 3-2 up at the break.
The home side almost nabbed an equaliser two minutes into the second half when Maddox shrugged off his marker and tried his luck with a fierce right-footed shot. Goalkeeper Harry Voss got a slight touch on the ball, but it took a goal-line clearance from retreating substitute defender Kyle Walker-Peters to deny the Blues a third goal.
Walker-Peters, playing at left-back, was soon involved at the other end as we bagged our fourth goal two minutes later. He passed down the line to Ross, whose cut-back was steered into the bottom corner by Harrison, the forward completing his hat-trick.
Harrison tried to add to his tally when he slid in to meet Nathan Oduwa’s cross, but he couldn’t quite get a clean connection and the ball bobbled wide.
Harrison rattled the crossbar on 65 minutes, but he wasn’t to be denied on the mid-way point of the second half as he received a sideways pass from substitute Daniel Akindayini and clipped the ball into the top corner to make it 5-2.
Five minutes later it was six as Harrison set up Onomah to finish into the bottom corner from 20 yards out, but it wasn’t all one-way traffic as Christie-Davies produce a full-stretch save from Voss after a fine solo run through the midfield.
The scoring was completed on 73 minutes when Walker-Peters beat a mazy path into the area before rolling into the path of Onomah, who surged in from the right to slot into the far corner.
Christie-Davies arrowed a shot over the bar at the other end, while we were forced to play out the closing moments with 10 men after Walker-Peters hobbled off with our three allotted substitutes already deployed.
Spurs: Voss, Campbell-Young, Ogilvie, Lesniak (Winks 64), Maghoma (Walker-Peters 46), Walkes, Oduwa (Akindayini 64), Onomah, Harrison, Goddard, Ross. Substitute (not used): Priestley (GK).