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Bish, bash, Rosh! Mathurin treble caps stunning win for Under-18s at Chelsea

Chelsea 1-6 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League)

Sat 06 March 2021, 14:39|Tottenham Hotspur

Roshaun Mathurin scored a hat-trick against his former club to cap a fantastic team performance from our Under-18s at Chelsea on Saturday.

The attacking midfielder, who was in the Blues’ youth system until the age of 12, curled home a free-kick amid a rampant start that saw us go 3-0 up inside 21 minutes, before adding two brilliant finishes from inside the box in the second half to complete a resounding 6-1 win.

Dermi Lusala had got us off and running after only four minutes with his first Under-18 Premier League goal, before Michael Craig won the ball and set up Dane Scarlett for a routine finish eight minutes later. Scarlett bagged his second from the penalty spot at the start of the second half, with Joe Haigh’s consolation goal for the home side just before the hour mark the only blot on our copybook as we dominated the game all over the pitch, moving to within two points of top spot as a result.

Our trips to Cobham always yield a tough battle, but we showed our intentions from the off and our full-backs combined to give us an early lead, Jeremy Kyezu getting to the byline with an overlapping run on the left before delivering a perfectly-weighted cross for right-back Lusala to run onto and plant home through a congested Chelsea box.

Craig then caught Brodi Hughes in possession and squared for Scarlett to double our lead on 12 minutes before the midfielder epitomised the work rate of the whole team by getting back and getting a touch on Haigh’s shot, allowing goalkeeper Thimothee Lo-Tutala to make a good stop down to his left. We were first to every ball, working through the midfield at will with Alfie Devine and the twins, Michael and Matthew Craig, and it was no surprise when we made it 3-0 on 21 minutes, Mathurin curling over the wall and into the top corner with a free-kick after himself being brought down by Josh Tobin.

We had to remain committed at the back, though, and Lo-Tutala made another fingertip save from Dion Rankine just past the half-hour mark with Hughes’ header from the resulting Chelsea corner cleared off the line by Lusala.

But we ruthlessly put the game to bed at the start of the second period, Mathurin going close before Scarlett sent Chelsea’s substitute goalkeeper Prince Adegoke the wrong way from the penalty spot after being upended in the box by Tobin on 47 minutes. And three minutes later, Devine’s angled shot with the outside of his boot was parried out to Mathurin, who hammered into the net from inside the area.

To their credit, Chelsea kept going and pulled a goal back on 58 minutes when Rankine’s cut-back from the right was swept inside the near post by Haigh, with some sustained superb defending from Marqes Muir at centre-back ensuring they couldn’t build any momentum during a brief spell in the ascendancy mid-way through the half.

With a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Mathurin brought up his hat-trick, getting between defenders in the box with a deft touch and firing a shot inside the far post following Romaine Mundle’s ball in from the left. Despite our healthy lead, we were relentless even in the latter stages and substitutes Kallum Cesay and Tarrelle Whittaker might have added to the scoreline, Chelsea skipper Alfie Gilchrist hurling himself in the way of Cesay’s goal-bound shot before Whittaker somehow spooned Lusala’s cross over the bar from six yards out following good work in midfield from fellow substitute Jez Davies. All in all, it was a great day’s work from our young squad.

‘Our energy was as high as it has been all season’

Under-18s Coach Matt Taylor was delighted with his side’s performance: “From the first minute of the game, we set our stall out early when we were out of possession, we pressed extremely well, we were ruthless in their box and scored some exceptional goals,” he said. “The quality was there from the players today and, for me, when we didn’t have the ball, our energy was as high as it has been all season, so now we’ve got to challenge the players to continue to do that between now and the end of the season.”

On Mathurin’s hat-trick, he added: “It was good for Roshaun and what we saw today is the quality that he offers when we’re in possession of the ball and the ability that he has. The next stage of development now for him and all of the players is to broaden their understanding of the game out of possession, because it’s so important that you press with the correct shape and press from the right areas and we did that all over the pitch today. In midfield I thought we were dominant, we were on top of second balls and played pretty much a perfect game other than conceding and not keeping a clean sheet, so we’re really happy. The boys were very good today and fully deserving of the result that came our way.”

Chelsea 1-6 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Lo-Tutala (c), Lusala, Kyezu, Matthew Craig, Muir, Paskotsi, Mathurin, Michael Craig, Scarlett (J Davies 72), Devine (Whittaker 62), Mundle (Cesay 78). Substitute (not used): Hayton.