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Under-21s suffer defeat at Chelsea

Chelsea 3-0 Spurs (Premier League 2)

Mon 07 November 2022, 21:00|Tottenham Hotspur

Despite enduring an obviously difficult night at Chelsea on Monday as we fell to a 3-0 defeat in the Premier League 2, there were positives to take from the game for our Under-21s.

While the final scoreline naturally tells its own story, our young Development Squad performed valiantly against their experienced opponents for much of the encounter, created a number of bright openings and perhaps could have even taken something from the game. However, having played out a rather evenly contested first half, the home side did dominate after the restart as they took the game to us and were clinical in front of goal.

Jude Soonsup-Bell got our hosts on their way, drilling in from the angle on 56 minutes, although we should have got ourselves level 10 minutes later, only for Jamie Donley to drag a gilt-edged opportunity agonisingly wide just moments after he had entered the fray off the bench. We were then quickly made to pay for that miss as, just three minutes later, Charlie Webster rattled in to double the Blues’ lead.

On 84 minutes, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster had the chance to start a late fightback for us, but his close-range effort was saved remarkably by goalkeeper Eddie Beach. And from that, to compound our misery, our opponents raced up the other end and added their third through Malik Mothersille.

From the off, Chelsea were on the front foot in the game. Aggressive and assertive, they controlled the opening 20 minutes and could have even taken the lead inside the opening 20 seconds as Soonsup-Bell broke free before striking wide of the mark. Webster and Dion Rankine also had opportunities soon after, but neither could find the target.

As we passed the halfway stage of the first half though, we started to grow into the game and perhaps enjoyed the best chance of the opening 45 minutes as Alfie Devine produced a sublime mazy run from the halfway line and beat two men before dragging just wide of the target. In the minutes that followed Romaine Mundle and Roshaun Mathurin delivered two teasing deliveries into the box which were just left begging for some sort of contact before Malachi Fagan-Walcott headed just wide from a Mundle corner.

Towards the end of the first half though, the hosts began to reclaim control of proceedings and forced a number of saves out of Josh Keeley, most notably Webster, whose angled drive on the stroke of half-time was diverted onto the upright by our man between the sticks.

The shot-stopper continued with his heroics into the second half as two minutes after the restart he was again called into action, denying Rankine’s half volley at point blank range to keep us on terms. Alfie Gilchrist then volleyed wide for the Blues from six yards out on 53 minutes before Mundle had our first shot in anger of the second period, drilling into Beach’s arms from range.

Judging by their start to the second half though, it was clear a goal was coming for the hosts and that came on 56 minutes via a slick move down the right which was rounded off by a fine angled drive by Soonsup-Bell. However, despite our hosts' commanding start to the second half, perhaps the key moment in the game came 10 minutes later as Donley, who had just been introduced from the bench, was unable to capitalise on a gilt-edged opportunity, dragging wide at the near post after being slipped in by Nile John. It was a miss we were punished for three minutes later as Chelsea raced up the field and Webster lashed in-off-the-post from inside the box.

The hosts then went on the hunt for a third and would have had it on 79 minutes only for another brilliant stop from Keeley to deny Leo Castledine. Lyons-Foster could have then given us a glimmer of hope on 84 minutes as he also had a gilt-edged chance from eight yards out, but Beach saved his effort expertly. From that opportunity, the Blues then broke quickly and killed off any hope of a late comeback with a composed finish from Mothersille putting the game to bed.

Chelsea 3-0 Spurs (Premier League 2)

Chelsea: Beach, Abu (Akomeah 89), Gilchrist (c), Sturge, Webster (McMahon 89) Williams, Casadei, Rankine, Elliott, Castledine (Thomas 81), Soonsup-Bell (Mothersille, 76). Substitutes (not used): Merrick.

Spurs: Keeley, Fagan-Walcott, Cesay, Lyons-Foster, Sayers (Muir 65), Craig, John (c), Devine, Mundle, Mathurin (Donley 65), Santiago. Substitutes (not used): Hayton, Robson, Paskotsi.

Match data

Goals: Chelsea - Soonsup-Bell 56, Webster 69, Mothersille 84.

Yellow cards: Chelsea – Abu 87; Spurs – Lyons-Foster 18, Cesay 27, Mundle 90+4.

Weather: Cloudy but dry, 14 degrees.

Venue: Kingsmeadow.