On an eventful night at Stamford Bridge, our Under-18s dramatically overturned a deficit from the first leg of the final to beat local rivals Fulham and clinch the fifth FA Youth Cup in the club’s history.
Adi Viveash’s young side had suffered heartache at this stage of the competition a year earlier with many players the same, and were beaten 3-2 at Craven Cottage 12 months on. With no away-goal rule in this competition, the Blues knew that they needed to win by two back at the Bridge to lift the trophy, and that is exactly what they did.
The night got off to the worst possible start however as Moussa Dembele gave the visitors the lead after just four minutes, putting Fulham 4-2 up on aggregate. Both sides then had chances before Charly Musonda made a brilliant run off the right wing into the box where he played a neat one-two with Dominic Solanke and was brought down for a Blues penalty.
Charlie Colkett coolly converted halfway through the first half to bring us level on the night. Jordan Houghton then made it 2-1 to the hosts two minutes later with a sweet strike from the edge of the area to put Chelsea within a goal of the trophy, but Patrick Roberts restored Fulham’s lead in the tie soon after with a good strike of his own. That was far from the last of the scoring however as Fulham put themselves 3-2 up on the night with a goal from distance.
Isak Ssewankambo then scored a similar goal for Chelsea in the second half which set up an incredible final 10 minutes in which Solanke grabbed a brace, the second two minutes into stoppage time. Chelsea won the trophy 7-6 on aggregate.
The cup campaign had a comfortable start with a 4-0 win at home against non-league Dartford in the third round, largely thanks to a hat-trick from Solanke. That set up another fixture at Aldershot Town when we once again found four goals to beat Sheffield Wednesday 4-1 and progress to the fifth round, the goals coming from Izzy Brown, Musonda, Colkett, and once again Solanke.
Viveash’s men were then on the road to face Cardiff in search of a place in the quarter finals, and they successfully secured one, leaving South Wales with a 2-0 win, Solanke picking up his customary goal and Alex Kiwomya also finding the net late on.
That set up a tough tie away at Newcastle for a place in the semis. The young Blues went into the break 2-1 down despite Solanke putting us in the lead but we regrouped well to win with goals from Kiwomya and a stunning winner from Jeremie Boga, setting up a two-legged semi-final tie with Arsenal.
Kiwomya and Colkett cancelled out Chuba Akpom’s opener in the first leg at the Bridge to take a one-goal advantage to the Emirates, which Colkett doubled with his second goal of the tie to send the Blues into the final with a 3-1 aggregate victory.