Monday night’s hard-fought clash at Stevenage saw chances go begging at both ends, Luke McGee making a superb save to deny Ola Aina in the second half before Sonupe smashed home from eight yards out to give us victory in the first of two big Under-21s games this week – Liverpool set to be our opponents at St Helens on Friday night.
There was an early warning sign for us as Dominic Solanke collected Aina’s ball down field in a dangerous position, but the commanding presence of Cameron Carter-Vickers meant the striker was never able to get a clean shot away and goalkeeper McGee gathered.
Cristian Ceballos then tested Chelsea stopper Mitchell Beeney with a rising effort, while Sonupe sent Alex McQueen racing towards the byline on 18 minutes – the right-back doing well to clip in a cross, only for Alex Kiwomya to prevent Ceballos from getting on the end of it.
We almost forced our way into the lead on 20 minutes when Josh Onomah robbed Alex Davey of possession 20 yards out and sent Will Miller scampering into a crowded area. His effort was blocked, with Onomah forcing Beeney to tip low around the post from the rebound.
The Blues had their best spell of pressure in the first half with around 10 minutes to go until the break. Jeremie Boga’s effort was blocked but only as far as Fankaty Dabo, whose well-struck volley was helped over the crossbar by the fingertips of McGee.
Solanke’s drilled effort was routinely gathered by the stopper two minutes later following a counter-attack led by Todd Kane before Harry Winks initiated a forward foray of our own, Ceballos collecting the ball and intelligently exchanging passes with Sonupe in the right wing position before cutting in and trying a left-footed effort which Beeney gathered at his near post.
An exciting contest slowed in pace for the first 15 minutes of the second period, with Charly Musonda’s rasper that just cleared the bar the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock.
Connor Ogilvie rose well to prevent Kiwomya from getting on the end of a dangerous diagonal pass on 64 minutes, before we invaded Chelsea’s area in intricate fashion and very nearly claimed the upper hand. Winks flicked Ceballos’ pass into the path of Miller, but Beeney was out quickly to save at his feet.
Winks himself blasted wide from 20 yards out after being teed up by Ceballos, before McGee pulled off a fantastic stop to keep his clean sheet intact. Chelsea won possession in the centre circle, Musonda sending Aina racing clear down the right channel, but McGee read the situation well and sprinted off his line, throwing his arms in the air to claw away Aina’s attempted lob at the edge of the box.
We were finding more and more space in Chelsea territory as the game progressed, Ruben Lameiras proving a lively influence following his introduction as a substitute, but it was his namesake in the Blues’ ranks who caused us problems in the 78th minute – Ruben Loftus-Cheek racing forward down the right, only to fluff his lines and allow Dominic Ball to clear.
Kiwomya’s blast from the left side of the box took a deflection but still couldn’t beat McGee, the keeper collecting at his near post, while Winks hooked wastefully over the bar at the other end after substitute Daniel Akindayini shifted the ball to him from the left side.
Akindayini was in a similar position a minute from time – his low centre falling to the feet of Sonupe, who turned in the box and rifled into the top corner to put us into the lead.
Chelsea never recovered – the closest they came was when Kyle Scott scooped harmlessly over the bar from Charlie Colkett’s corner in four minutes of stoppage time – as we ended their unbeaten start to the league season with a hard-fought victory.
Spurs U21s: McGee, McQueen, Ogilvie (Walker-Peters 73), Lesniak, Ball, Carter-Vickers, Sonupe, Winks, Ceballos (Akindayini 81), Onomah (Lameiras 73), Miller. Substitute (not used): Miles (GK).
Chelsea U21s: Beeney, Kane, Davey, Aina, Dabo, Houghton (Colkett 46), Musonda, Loftus-Cheek, Solanke, Boga (Palmer 69), Kiwomya (Scott 89). Substitutes (not used): Clarke-Salter, Granger (GK).