YOUTH REPORT: BLACKBURN ROVERS 2 CHELSEA 5
Our Under-18s won away from home for the first time this season, coming from behind to beat a strong Blackburn Rovers side 5-2.
It's now nine goals in two games for Adi Viveash's team who have bounced back well after losing to Everton at the end of last month, with today's win following last week's 4-2 victory against Liverpool.
The Blues started brightly and were rewarded inside the opening five minutes. A slick piece of play between Kasey Palmer and Dominic Solanke culminated with the ball being played into Ambrose Gnahore who scored a wonderful goal from 25 yards.
We dominated for much of the first half but were unable to make the most of a host of opportunities which came our way, and we were made to pay for it just before the half-hour mark when the home side levelled.
After losing possession on the halfway line, Blackburn broke at speed, and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot when Dion Conroy committed a foul inside the penalty area. The resulting kick was duly converted to make it 1-1.
The goal sparked Rovers into life, and worse was to come two minutes before the break when their striker turned and finished well inside the box to give them the lead.
Quite how we were trailing at half-time was anybody's guess, but we were back on level terms within five minutes of the restart.
The impressive Palmer slipped a delightful ball into the path of Solanke, and the Chelsea forward took a touch before finishing confidently to restore parity.
The game then swung back in our favour shortly after when we were awarded a penalty after Solanke was brought down by the goalkeeper. Palmer was the player entrusted with taking the kick and he made no mistake.
Sensing the game was there for the taking the Blues were back on the front foot, and Solanke extended our lead with another well-taken strike to make it 4-2.
Now in control, and with a two-goal advantage, the game was all but won, but there was still time for Gnahore to score a fifth, cutting inside from wide on the right, easing away from a couple of challenges and dispatching his strike into the far corner.
Blackburn pressed late on and hit the woodwork, but the damage had been done and we held on for another impressive victory.
Reflecting on the performance, Viveash felt it was a game where the players will have learnt a great deal.
'We were very good going forward but there's a lot to work on defensively,' he said. 'There was some great attacking play though and it was a game where the players will have learnt a lot in terms of their development.
'We've got some exciting attacking players with a lot of pace. Dominic Solanke's only 16, he's got two today and made some great runs. Kasey Palmer played in the Number.10 role and did really well in between the gaps but we need to be more solid at the back.
'We've got a lot of work to do in terms of developing in defensive situations, not just the defenders, but as a group of players.
'It was our first away win of the season though and that's important because winning matches breeds confidence.'
Chelsea (4-3-3): Ben Killip; Ola Aina, Jon Muleba (c), Dion Conroy, Kevin Wright; Mukhtar Ali (Isaac Christie-Davies), Jordan Houghton, Kasey Palmer; Chike Kandi, Dominic Solanke (Tammy Abraham 80), Ambrose Gnahore.