YOUTH REPORT: CHELSEA 3 SUNDERLAND 0
The Chelsea Under-18 side got their new season off to a good start with a 3-0 win over Sunderland at Cobham this morning. Goals from Charly Musonda and a Dominic Solanke double settled an open contest and gave Adi Viveash's boys a perfect start to 2013/14.
Viveash's first starting eleven for the new campaign featured a host of familiar faces from last term mixed with a few promising schoolboys. Dion Conroy and Jonathan Muleba formed the central defensive partnership, with Fankaty Dabo at left back and Ola Aina on the right.
Charly Musonda operated in the No.10 role in front of Kasey Palmer and Isaac Christie-Davies in midfield, while George Cole and Chike Kandi supported from the flanks. Dom Solanke led the line up front while Brad Collins started between the sticks.
It was a lively start at a grey and overcast Cobham as proceedings got underway for the new season. Cole provided much of the young Blues' early threat down the left flank, first cutting in from wide to test the goalkeeper with a decent right-foot effort, before then forcing the keeper to parry behind for a corner in identical circumstances.
Down the other end Collins had to be on full alert to get down at full stretch to keep out a low shot following a bright move from the visitors. The home goalkeeper was busy again moments later as he parried over a free kick from 20 yards that looked destined for the top corner.
Solanke then fashioned a couple of openings for himself, testing the goalkeeper down low after being forced wide well by the covering defender, before winning the ball back deep in the Sunderland half only to be muscled out as he headed towards goal.
Palmer then fired a chance wide and Cole continued to cause problems as he beat his man down the left, though his centre evaded the supporting attackers. The hosts then put together their brightest move of the match as Musonda and Palmer combined with some neat interplay following a short corner from Cole that resulted in Musonda firing narrowly wide from outside the box.
Palmer then bent another effort just wide and Kandi fired past the far post from an angle after being teed up by Solanke as the half petered out and the sides went into the interval on level terms.
The second period restarted at a similar tempo to which the first had begun and it took just five minutes for the deadlock to finally be broken. Solanke won a free kick 25 yards out after being checked off the ball as the Blues attacked and Musonda stepped up to fire the set piece in off the post.
That lead gave the hosts the platform to protect their hard-won lead and the following quarter of an hour played out with plenty of midfield battling yet few chances in front of goal.
Viveash then shuffled his pack as the hour mark approached, with Mukhtar Ali and Tammy Abraham entering the fray in place of Palmer and Christie-Davies. The young Black Cats then fashioned an opening that was fired narrowly wide before the hosts doubled their advantage.
A bright move down the right flank involving Aina and Dabo presented Solanke with a glaring chance at the far post and the young striker remained composed to finish confidently past the onrushing goalkeeper.
That second goal took the wind out of the visitors and it was Chelsea searching to add to their tally. Cole saw a deflected effort flash past the near post with the goalkeeper flat-footed and substitute Ali fired low and central into the keeper's midriff as the final whistle loomed. Sunderland had a chance fly over Collins' bar in the final few minutes however it was the Blues who grabbed another late goal.
Solanke beat a few defenders with a powerful run following good strong work from Abraham in the middle of the field and the striker finished confidently once again to notch his second of the day. That provided the final gloss on a positive start to the new campaign for Viveash's side, who next face West Ham at Cobham on Saturday 24 August.
Chelsea: Brad Collins; Ola Aina, Dion Conroy, Jonathan Muleba (c), Fankaty Dabo; Isaac Christie-Davies (Mukhtar Ali 53), Kasey Palmer (Tammy Abraham 59), Charly Musonda; George Cole, Chike Kandi (Jay Dasilva 66), Dominic Solanke.
Unused: Ben Killip