YOUTH REPORT: BOLTON WANDERERS 0 CHELSEA 1
Our Under-18s warmed up for Monday's FA Youth Cup final first leg against Norwich City with a 1-0 win away at Bolton Wanderers, thanks to Islam Feruz's late winner.
Manager Adi Viveash named a strong team for the clash at Bolton's training ground, with Alex Davey skippering the side, and it was a game played in difficult conditions due to strong winds sweeping across the pitch.
The Blues always looked the more likely to score, and went close on a couple of occasions during a first half which lacked clear-cut opportunities.
Unsurprisingly it was Feruz who had the first real attempt on goal. The impressive Kasey Palmer, who only joined the club earlier this month, linked up well with Jeremie Boga before laying it into the path of Feruz.
The striker displayed a great turn of pace to evade his marker but his effort was a fraction too high and dipped over the bar.
Shortly after, Boga set off on a trademark individual run and was unfortunate to see his curling strike sail past the far post as we looked to gain an advantage before the break.
With one eye on Monday's game at Carrow Road, Viveash replaced Ruben Loftus-Cheek with Lewis Baker at the break, and it was a switch which ultimately proved decisive.
As time ticked away, and with the game seemingly heading for a goalless draw, Baker produced the first moment of real quality, releasing Feruz with a delightful pass, and the striker, as he so often does, finished in style, rolling the ball between the legs of the advancing goalkeeper to seal the win.
The Blues boss was delighted with his side's battling performance, and felt there were plenty of positives to take from the game.
'It was a slog of a game but we produced some bits of quality,' Viveash told the official Chelsea website.
'They had a few chances, mainly from set-pieces, but they never really opened us up. Kevin Wright played really well at left-back, and Lewis came on for Ruben at half-time as we're managing minutes for those two ahead of Monday's game.
'Islam was very lively and deserved his goal and Jeremie was always a threat. Kasey was very good in midfield, he was our best player and it was a promising performance from a young player .
'Adam Nditi was coming back from injury and managed to play 55 minutes so that was good for us as well, but we'll have to assess him in the next few days.
'It was a good clean sheet and gives us our third positive result in the space of a week moving into the final.
'All of the boys are looking forward to it and we've come through unscathed which is, of course, very important.'
Chelsea (4-3-3): Mitchell Beeney; Jonathan Muleba, Alex Davey (c), Dion Conroy, Kevin Wright; Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Lewis Baker h/t), Jeremie Boga, Kasey Palmer; George Cole (Alex Kiwomya 75), Islam Feruz., Adam Nditi (Ambrose Gnahore 55).
Unused subs: Ben Killip, Ola Aina.
Monday's Under-21 game against Blackburn Rovers at Cobham will now kick off at 11am. Please note, spectators will not be admitted for this match.