Chelsea Under-18s remain unbeaten in the league after recording a 3-2 win over Norwich City at Cobham on Saturday afternoon.
Chelsea scored inside the opening two minutes through George Nunn, his glancing header from Dion Rankine's cross a reward for a bright start from the Blues.
The lead was doubled soon after when Pierre Ekwah Elimby struck a sweet free-kick underneath the wall and into the bottom corner for his first of the afternoon. His second came after the break, Joe Haigh with the assist found the midfielder in space and his left-footed shot arrowed into the top corner, putting Chelsea three goals ahead.
However, Norwich started a comeback of their own with just seven minutes left on the clock. Jon Rowe found the back of the net on two occasions in the closing minutes but time ran out for the visitors and Chelsea held on for the points to keep them undefeated this term.
Ed Brand made four changes to the team that started in the victory over Leicester City earlier this month. Sam McClelland and Jordan Aina claimed places in the defence as did Xavier Simons and George Nunn in midfield and attack respectively.
Armando Broja, who appeared as a substitute for the our development squad last night (Friday), took a place on the bench alongside Josh Brooking, who dropped out of the starting 11.
It was a fast start from the Blues, Nunn and Haigh saw their efforts wide within the opening minute but the constant attacking threat paid off after just 90 seconds of play.
Nunn’s glancing header after Rankine’s cross from the right found the forward in space 10 yards from goal and left keeper Joe Rose rooted to the spot as the goal took most by surprise.
Norwich, who are yet to taste victory this season, saw two chances of their own squandered after going behind. Both involved Nelson Khumben,i whose crosses were volleyed over by Rowe and Tony Springett respectively.
Our lead was doubled after 13 minutes in spectacular fashion by Ekwah Elimby. The midfielder smartly hit a low free-kick underneath the wall and in from 20 yards out. 2-0 Blues.
The visitors saw another chance go begging three minute later. Tyrese Omotoye opted to go for goal, striking wide despite having Josh Giurgi as an option in the middle. That chance could have proved even more costly for the Canaries had Rankine squared for Nunn instead of shooting himself – Rose made the diving save.
Chelsea looked comfortable in possession and were patient in their build-up play, probing the Norwich defence for an opening. That opening came on the half-hour mark, but the Blues couldn’t convert the chance. Simons made the byline and squared for Haigh in the centre however, under pressure from the defender, the number 11's shot was blocked by a diving save. It stayed 2-0 Chelsea at the break.
Ekwah Elimby had the opening chance of the first half, his effort from distance stinging the fingertips of Rose who did very well to make the stop through a sea of bodies.
The Frenchman made no mistake with an identical effort just moments later. It was an assist for Haigh who found the midfielder in space, Ekwah-Elimby then sent an arrowing strike into the top corner for his second and Chelsea’s third of the afternoon.
Simons looked to get in on the scoring act as the Blues were in control. He picked up a loose ball 20 yards out and opted to go for goal - Rose was left scrambling but the ball trickled past the wrong side of the post.
James Clark and Ben Elliott were introduced to play in place of Charlie Wiggett and Marcel Lewis as Brand looked to see out the game but a lapse in concentration led to the visitors pulling a goal back.
Their attacking partnership of Giurgi and Jon Rowe linked up nicely outside the box to allow the latter to guide home from 18 yards with seven minutes of action left. The scores were now 3-1 Chelsea.
The game sparked into life during the final five minutes. While Rankine was unable to finish the game due to injury, Norwich grabbed a second through Rowe. Chelsea were required to hold on to their now slender lead throughout the additional four minutes.
With a blow of his whistle, the referee signalled full-time and three points for the Blues, who sit second level on 22 points with Fulham.
Chelsea: Jake Askew, Charlie Wiggett (James Clark 73), Sam McClelland (c), Levi Colwill, Jordan Aina (Josh Brooking 86), Pierre Ekwah Elimby, Dion Rankine (86), Xavier Simons, George Nunn, Marcel Lewis (Ben Elliott 81), Joe Haigh
Unused subs: Lucas Bergstrom, Armando Broja
Scorers: Nunn 2, Ekwah Elimby 13, 62
Norwich: Joe Rose, Ethan Vaughan (Eddie Jackson HT), Sean Stewart, Jonathan Tomkinson, Jaden Warner, Nelson Khumbeni, Tony Springett (Thomas Dickson-Peters 23), Zach Dronfield (c), Tyrese Omotoye, Josh Giurgi, Jon Rowe
Unused subs: Sam Blair, Abu Kamara, Harry Pitcher
Scorers: Rowe 83, 90
Booked: Omotoye 66
-Additional pictures courtesy of Mark Sandom