YOUTH TEAM REPORT: IPSWICH TOWN 3 CHELSEA 0
It was a disappointing end to the league campaign for our Under 18s who were beaten 3-0 away at Ipswich in the last fixture of the season, and attention now turns to the second leg of the FA Youth Cup final against Blackburn Rovers next week.
Having gone in at the break 2-0 down it was always going to be an uphill struggle in the second half, and while we dominated the game in terms of possession, we lacked a cutting edge and, in truth, never really looked like scoring.
Adi Viveash fielded a largely experienced side, with a few fringe players also being given an opportunity to stake a claim ahead of next week's cup clash with Blackburn.
Archange Nkumu captained the side, while there were also starts for regulars such as John Swift [pictured], Lewis Baker, Adam Nditi and Alex Davey. Anjur Osmanovic played as the furthest forward midfielder, while Walter Figueira led the line.
The home side took the lead midway through the first half when David October flicked the ball beyond a hesitant Davey and fired his strike past Mitchell Beeney in goal, albeit with the aid of a deflection.
Shortly after, Ipswich doubled their advantage in a similar fashion. A long ball was played in behind Nkumu, and while Jack Marriott finished well, it was another goal that could, and probably should, have been prevented.
It was a devastating blow for the Blues' youngsters to go in at half-time 2-0 down, but we came out for the second half in a positive manner and were almost back in it when Amin Affane struck the post.
For a brief moment, the ball appeared to have crossed the line but the referee signalled for the game to carry on. Baker reacted quickest to the rebound and crossed expertly to Osmanovic who was waiting at the far post, but his header was well saved by the Ipswich goalkeeper.
The third and killer goal put the game beyond doubt. Alistair Gordon failed to clear his lines and was dispossessed by Marriott who rifled his effort past Beeney to score his second of the game and seal the points for the hosts.
Viveash was frustrated at the way in which the goals were conceded as opposed to the actual defeat, but insisted it would be a steep learning curve for his young side.
'I can't be too critical of the side,' he said. 'We went 11 games unbeaten which, in youth football is a bit of a rarity, particularly given the way in which teams change so often.
'We have to learn the lessons from it, and any of those boys fortunate enough to be selected against Blackburn have had a bit of a rude awakening as to what type of game football is.
'That tie is definitely not dead, and hopefully this result will act as a spur to them.'
Chelsea (4-3-3): Mitchell Beeney; Alistair Gordon, Archanke Nkumu (c) (Danny Stenning 65), Nortei Nortey (Ismail Seremba h/t), Alex Davey; John Swift, Anjur Osmanovic (Samuel Bangora h/t), Lewis Baker; Amin Affane, Walter Figueira, Adam Nditi.