UNDER-18S REPORT: READING 3 CHELSEA 0
Chelsea Under-18s conceded three goals without reply to fall to defeat away at Reading.
With a number of the regular starters featuring in Friday night's FA Youth Cup win at Liverpool, Andy Myers, who took charge in the absence of Adi Viveash, handed starts to youngsters Dominic Solanke and Jay Da Silva.
The Blues, who were up against a physical Reading side, more than matched their hosts in the opening 45 minutes, but were unable to make the most of the opportunities created in the final third.
Reading took the lead just before the hour mark in controversial circumstances. The referee ignored what looked like a clear foul on a Chelsea player in the middle of the park, and the hosts capitalised, with Uche Ikpeazu firing them in front.
We responded well to going behind, and saw plenty of the ball as we attempted to get ourselves back in the game, but Myers' side were dealt a severe blow shortly after when Reading were awarded a dubious penalty.
Ikpeazu was the player entrusted with taking the kick, and he made no mistake, doubling his, and Reading's tally from the spot.
With a two-goal deficit to claw back, the Blues unsurprisingly threw men forward at the clock ticked down.
In doing so, the possibility of being caught on the break increased, and so it proved late on when a quick Reading counter-attack culminated with Ikpeazu netting his hat-trick and sealing the points for the home side.
Myers was understandably disappointed with the result, but had nothing but praise for his side at the final whistle.
'They acquitted themselves really well and I was very pleased with how they performed,' he said.
'The penalty decision was extremely harsh, I haven't had a chance to watch it back but it was a fair tackle and should never have been given.
'For the two young boys it was a great experience, Reading were a very big side, but it was good for them and they showed a good mentality.
'Refereeing decisions changed the game but that didn't stop us doing what we were trying to do, play out from the back and adopting our philosophy.'
Chelsea (4-3-3): Ben Killip; Nortei Nortey, Sam Bangura, Jonathan Muleba (c), Jay Da Silva; Jesse Starkey, Dominic Solanke (Tom Howard 70), Kasey Palmer; George Cole, Chike Kandi (Ismail Seremba 60), Ambrose Gnahore.