Under-18s report: Fulham 0 Chelsea 1

A six-point advantage was restored at the top of the Under-18 Premier League southern section for our youngsters as Charlie Brown’s 14th goal of the season settled a competitive west London derby.

The striker netted the game’s only goal midway into the second half to seal all three points for the Blues and record a seventh straight victory for Jody Morris’s side.

Morris named three schoolboys in his line-up as Tino Anjorin started his 12th game of the season, while Marcel Lewis retained his place in the league side and Dynel Simeu came into the defence. Anjorin and Lewis joined Tushaun Walters in the forward trio supporting striker Charlie Brown, while Simeu partnered Marcel Lavinier in central defence.

Goalkeeper Jamie Cumming was captain for the night behind Tariq Lamptey and Renedi Masampu operating as full-backs, the latter making his first start, while Jon Russell partnered Clinton Mola in midfield.

The Blues had won seven of their eight matches in all competitions since the start of the year, though their lead at the top of the Under-18 Premier League South had been halved to three points following Arsenal’s victory earlier in the day. The biting cold conditions meant both sides took a while to get into their flow at Motspur Park, though Ryan De Havilland went closest in the opening exchanges with a free-kick from 20 yards that whistled past the far post.

Morris’s men first threatened after 15 minutes courtesy of a clever free-kick from Lewis, who deceived the wall and defenders in the box with a pass slid through for Brown on the left. The striker delivered a low cross into the six-yard box but Mola was unable to get a shot away to test George Wickens, the Fulham keeper.

This was a dress rehearsal for the FA Youth Cup quarter-final meeting between the two west London sides next week, though with Cumming and Lamptey the only two to have started in the cup competition this term, it also provided an opportunity to catch the manager’s eye ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Craven Cottage.

Cumming was brave to punch clear in his own six-yard box after Elias Frei had won a back-post header and Timmy Abraham, the younger brother of our on-loan striker Tammy, lurked dangerously waiting to pounce. Moments earlier, Ben Davis’s shot spun up and looped narrowly over the crossbar after a nice passage of play from the Whites.

Lewis was central to our first-half threat and drifted infield from the left flank to get on the end of Lamptey’s cross after a promising run from our right-back, though his header lacked the accuracy to trouble Wickens. The Under-16 winger did bring a save from the Cottagers keeper after a bright combination down the left with Brown but fired straight at the goalkeeper.

Down the other end, Abraham dragged a shot wide from a promising position though it was Lewis who fired the final warning shot of the first period. After finding the net with a free-kick in our recent league win over Swansea, the youngster fancied his chances from 25 yards out but his bending effort flew a foot over.

The second half started with renewed energy and the visitors began to carve out opportunities with more frequency. Lewis fired over after being teed up by Lamptey before Brown went agonisingly close to striking us in front seven minutes after the restart. Russell had done well to find space in the box and found the striker with a super pass but his finish was guided the wrong side of the post from close range.

Reece York went close for the home side with a looping header that dropped just beyond Cumming’s far post before the deadlock in the derby was finally broken with 23 minutes remaining. The ball was delivered from the right and headed back from the far post by Lavinier, falling kindly for the alert Brown to rifle a finish into the roof of the net for his 14th goal of the season.

Fulham fashioned an immediate chance to equalise, created by substitute Harvey Elliott, though Cumming read the danger and was quickly off his line to smother the danger. That proved to be the best chance to hit back for the Whites, who put pressure on our backline only intermittently in the final 20 minutes.

Cumming commanded his area, securing a third consecutive Under-18s clean sheet, while the introduction of Billy Gilmour, Conor Gallagher and Martell Taylor-Crossdale added fresh legs and experience. Lamptey continued to threaten and tease down the right wing, almost creating a second goal, while Taylor-Crossdale had the ball in the net at the end of an incisive move but saw the linesman’s flag raised.

The victory keeps us six points clear with six games of the southern section remaining. Our next outing is at the Cottage in the Youth Cup last-eight next Tuesday 27 February. Tickets are currently available to buy online priced at £4 for adults and £1 for concessions.


Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Jamie Cumming (c); Tariq Lamptey, Marcel Lavinier, Dynel Simeu, Renedi Masampu; Jon Russell (Conor Gallagher 66), Clinton Mola; Tushaun Walters (Billy Gilmour 66), Tino Anjorin (Martell Taylor-Crossdale 66), Marcel Lewis; Charlie Brown
Unused subs Marc Guehi, Karlo Ziger, Martell Taylor-Crossdale, Billy Gilmour, Conor Gallagher
Scorer Brown 67

Fulham George Wickens, Zico Asare, Dan Martin, Ben Davis, Scott Armsworth, Jose Garrido, Elias Frei, Reece York, Timmy Abraham (Jasper Sylvester 54), Ryan De Havilland (Jonathan Page h/t), Shawkat Tahir (Harvey Elliott 68)
Unused subs Julian Schwarzer, Cody Drameh