YOUTH REPORT: CRYSTAL PALACE 1 CHELSEA 5
The Under-18s secured their first league win since the post-Christmas split at Crystal Palace with an impressive win on the road.
Goals from Jeremie Boga (pitcured) who scored two, Connor Hunte, substitute Tom Howard and Chike Kandi did the business in drizzly Beckenham before a late consolation from the hosts.
Adi Viveash made two changes from the side that started last weekend's 1-1 draw to Manchester United, with Hunte and Dion Conroy replacing Howard and Reece Mitchell.
Kandi continued at centre forward, with Boga, Jesse Starkey and captain John Swift behind in midfield. Isak Ssewankambo moved from defence to midfield as Conroy returned, with Jonathan Muleba, Kevin Wright, Fankaty Dabo and Mitchell Beeney at the back.
The opening exchanges were even with David Gregory, the Palace goakeeper, forced into an early save from Kandi after a dangerous corner delivered by Starkey, before the hosts' Luke Croll hit a free kick straight into the Chelsea wall,
The deadlock was broken after just a quarter of an hour however, as Boga received the ball heading towards goal after a neat flick by Kandi and won a free kick on the edge of the box after a jinking run drew a foul. The Frenchman stepped up, dusted himself down and whipped the ball beyond the goalkeeper into the far corner to give the visitors an early lead.
Palace could have been level within 10 minutes as Jerome Williams headed a corner towards the top corner before Wright's headed intervention to nod it up on to the bar before Beeney grabbed the loose ball, amid half-hearted appeals it had crossed the line.
Viveash's boys took control of the game as the interval loomed, with Swift bursting down the right and delivering his cutback just beyond either of the advancing Boga or Kandi, before Boga forced Gregory into a comfortable low save.
It was a blistering five-minute salvo at the start of the second half that finished the young Eagles off. Boga grabbed his second of the morning with an arrowed finish that bounced over the line despite a decent hand from Gregory, before Hunte finished a great move involving Swift with a super first touch and cushioned finish into the far top corner.
Palace were noticeably deflated after those two early goals after the break, while the visitors were brimming with confidence and displaying it within their play. Croll fired a free kick into the wall before the Blues wrapped the match up on the hour mark. More impressive interplay around the box fashioned an opportunity for striker Kandi, whose low finish was enough to beat the goalkeeper and make it four.
Palmer had a good chance to pull one back after doing well to come in off the touchline and beat Muleba before flashing an attempt beyond Beeney's far post. Yet it was Gregory again picking the ball out of his net after Howard finished another good move down low beyond the 'keeper, despite the attempts of a covering defender to clear off the line, to bag his first goal of the season.
Palace did grab a consolation as the game entered the final 10 minutes, with Connor Dymond executing a neat overhead effort inside the box that looped over Beeney, however the young Blues held on to secure their fifth point in three league games since the New Year.
Chelsea: Beeney, Dabo, Conroy (G Cole 70), Muleba, Wright, Starkey, Ssewankambo, Swift (c) (Bangura 78), Hunte, Boga (Howard 60), Kandi
Crystal Palace: Gregory, Gordon, Williams, Dymond, Croll, Inniss, Palmer, Sow, Tieku, Gabsi, Gray.