YOUTH RETURN TO MATCH ACTION

Chelsea Under-18s got their pre-season action underway this weekend as they hosted a Brighton and Hove Albion side at Cobham.

While the first team were preparing for their opener against Singha All-Stars in Bangkok on Wednesday, and the Under-21s were busy readying themselves for the new campaign in the USA, it was the familiar surroundings of the training ground that provided the setting for the youth team to return to action.

After a fortnight of rigorous training to get back in shape after the summer break, last season's FA Youth Cup runners-up ran out 2-0 winners as the sweltering midday temperatures gave them a serious workout.

Adi Viveash shuffled his pack throughout to give the full squad exposure to pre-season , using 19 players overall including regulars from last term Dom Solanke, Jon Muleba and George Cole. New scholars Charly Musonda, Kasey Palmer and George Brady also featured, while there was a host of Under-16s involved as well, including goalscorer Nias Butungu.

Musonda bagged the pick of the goals, arrowing a brilliant left-footed effort into the top right corner midway through the second period, to add to Butungu's opener several minutes earlier. Through the roll-on, roll-off substitution system allowed in friendly action, the minutes were shared equally and most players got an important first 45 minutes under their belts.

Viveash's boys now head to Austria on Monday for their annual pre-season training camp, which involves a match against Bayern Munich in Salzburg, before returning to host Stevenage at Cobham in two weeks' time.