Chelsea’s development squad continued their fine start to the league campaign with an impressive 3-1 victory over Arsenal at Aldershot Town.
Charlie Brown notched a brace during the evening, his first coming midway through the opening half, though credit must go to Thierno Ballo whose through ball proved vital in the goal.
It was a game with plenty of action and our lead was doubled through Clinton Mola who struck stunningly to put daylight between the sides.
Arsenal hit back shortly before the break when Jamie Cumming did well to make the inital save but couldn’t prevent Ben Cottrell’s thumping effort.
The victory was secured 10 minutes into the second half as Brown nodded home smartly for his second and our final goal of the evening as the Blues remain top of the PL2 table.
Andy Myers made two changes from his team’s last Premier League 2 outing at Leicester City. Jamie Cumming was between the sticks in place of Nicolas Tie while Jack Wakely slotted into the heart of defence, allowing Clinton Mola to occupy a midfield position which saw Jon Russell take a seat on the substitutes’ bench.
The first sight of goal came for Arsenal in the fifth minute, a Ballo back pass was intercepted by forward Folarin Balogun who took on Dynel Simeu and got his shot away. Cumming in the Blues’ goal was equal and held the attempt.
Balogun, Premier League 2’s top scorer, was in again moments later this time on the right wing. He latched on to the end of Trae Coyle’s through ball but found Cumming’s legs there to deny him for a second time.
Having signed professional terms earlier this week, Henry Lawrence looked a lively outlet on the left flank. Shortly before a quarter of an hour he registered our first meaningful attempt. A smart jink past his marker allowed him to shift the ball on to his right foot and let fly, however a vital headed intervention from defender Harry Clarke made sure the danger was cleared.
The Blues grew into the game well and found their opening on 17 minutes. Brown broke free thanks to Ballo’s pass into the box, one-on-one with Karl Hein in the Arsenal net. Doing well to keep his cool, the number nine slotted home sending the ‘keeper in the opposite direction for his first PL2 goal of the campaign.
The visitors looked for an immediate response with Ben Cottrell firing into the side netting from close range – but we found the target next, Mola doubling the advantage in stylish fashion.
Billy Gilmour’s 25 yard wide free-kick was headed into the air by Dynel Simeu but watched very closely by Mola who arrowed an impressive left-footed volley into the back of the net leaving Hein stranded. 2-0 Blues.
Just three minutes of the half remained when Arsenal halved the deficit, Balogun’s initial strike was palmed wide by Cumming but Cottrell reacted first to slam the ball beyond the grounded Blues ‘keeper from four yards out. The scores were 2-1 at the break.
Again Arsenal made a bright start to the second half, Coyle forcing Cumming into another save with his feet but patient build-up play from the Blues paid dividends in the 55th minute.
Gilmour excellently picked out Brown who doubled his tally for the evening and the season to four goals. The forward’s header was low and out of reach of Hein. 3-1 Chelsea.
The majority of possession was Chelsea’s but The Gunners looked a threat on the counter attack. Cumming was called into action again after an hour, Coyle’s dipping effort from ranged required a strong punch over the bar to see the danger clear.
Chelsea had the wind in their sails as the final 20 minutes approached. Henry Lawrence led a counter attack and won a Blues free-kick 20 yards from the target giving George McEachran a striking opportunity. The midfielder stepped up but agonisingly watched his curling set-piece whistle wide of the up-right.
Despite having the lead, Cumming was certainly seeing more of the ball. Zak Swanson powered an ambitious shot at goal but our number one was again equal to the attempt.
Andy Myers’ side managed to control the final stages of the game and secured the win to keep Chelsea unbeaten and at the top of the Premier League 2 table on 18 points.
Chelsea: Jamie Cumming, Tariq Lamptey (Marcel Lavinier 76), Dynel Simeu, Jack Wakely, Ian Maatsen, Billy Gilmour (c), Thierno Ballo (Marcel Lewis 66), Clinton Mola, Charlie Brown (Armando Broja 83), George McEachran, Henry Lawrence
Unused subs: Jon Russell, Karlo Ziger
Scorers: Brown 17, 55; Mola 32
Arsenal: Karl Hein, Zak Swanson, Tolaji Bola, Matthew Smith, Harry Clarke, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Traw Coyle, Robbie Burton (Sam Greenwood 87), Folarin Balogun, Ben Cottrell, Nathan Tormey
Unused subs: Joseph Olowu, James Hillson, Tobi Omole, Zech Medley
Scorer: Cottrell 42
Booked: Bola 11
Referee: Richard Hulme
-Additional pictures courtesy of Mark Sandom