Chelsea’s Under-18s took maximum points from Saturday morning’s London derby win against West Ham.
A Luke Badley-Morgan opener gave Chelsea control and then a late flurry of goals from Alfie Gilchrist, Charlie Webster and Leo Castledine followed after the break. Chelsea rarely looked like conceding all morning and they will be particularly pleased with the clean sheet on their return to league action.
Academy football returned for Chelsea on Saturday morning with a visit to our east London rivals. For this fixture Ed Brand named a young side which saw two schoolboys start in attack, while Ethan Wady made his first appearance of the season having spent the first half of the term on loan at National League side Dartford.
Finally back in action
After a cagey opening 10 minutes Chelsea slotted into gear nicely. Silko Thomas and Ronnie Stutter warmed the gloves of the West Ham keeper, before Lewis Hall converted Dion Rankine’s low cross at the back post. Unfortunately the official on the far side had his flag raised for an offside and our goal was chalked off.
The overturned goal didn’t dampen Chelsea spirits though as their attacking play only intensified. Hall was involved in play again as Ben Elliott curled an afford inches wide of the target.
Our offensive threat finally yielded a goal and it came from an unlikely source. West Ham failed to clear their lines from a corner-kick and defender Badley-Morgan pounced upon the ball to volley home with his lesser-favoured right foot, 0-1 Chelsea.
West Ham’s first clear attempt on goal came from George Earthy who tried his luck from distance after creating an inch of space for himself in midfield. Thankfully there was no danger to Wady’s net from the wayward shot.
Comfortable half-time lead
Our goal advantage didn’t look under any immediate threat at the 30-minute mark and excellent all-round play by Gilchrist almost earned us a second.
Taking care of his primary role first, Gilchrist stopped the West Ham attack and drove out of defence looking for a forward pass. Stutter spotted the opportunity and curved his run to stay onside and beat his markers, latching onto his team-mate’s pass - after advancing into the box he fired at goal but was left frustrated as the post was between him and the net.
The last two chances before the break fell Chelsea’s way, first Badley-Morgan was in the box again, but this time he could only glance a header wide from Webster’s free-kick. Then, Stutter prodded behind from Rankine’s low cross.
Both teams returned to play unchanged and although West Ham were in desperate search of an equalising goal with the fairer share of the ball, they were unable to breach Chelsea's defensive line.
Gilchrist grabs Chelsea’s second
Legs were tiring as the clock wore down but a there was enough in Thomas' tank to win Chelsea a corner-kick on the right. Webster aimed for the near post and Gilchrist was first to react powering a header home to double our lead. It was a much deserved goal for the defender who had been impressive all morning.
Webster and Castledine wrap it up
The points were all but sealed with eight minutes to go when another move on the right produced a goal. Thomas’ run and then cross into the box fell kindly for Webster who had the easy task of slotting home from 10 yards.
We were deep into injury time when substitute Castledine bundled home another Thomas cross from the right to claim our fourth and final goal of the morning. It's a win that Brand and his players will be proud of as it sees us move up into sixth place in the Under-18 Premier League standings.
A trip to Southampton is next for our youngsters, kick-off next Saturday is 11am.
Chelsea 3-4-2-1 Ethan Wady; Alfie Gilchrist, Charlie Wiggett,(c), Luke Badley-Morgan; Dion Rankine, Josh Tobin, Charlie Webster, Silko Thomas; Lewis Hall (Leo Castletinde 74), Ben Elliott (Zain Silcott-Duberry); Ronnie Stutter (Edwin Andersson 79)
Unused subs Teddy Curd, Brodi Hughes
Scorer Badley-Morgan 22; Gilchrist 72; Webster 82; Castledine 90+2
West Ham Krisztian Hegyi, Junior Robinson, Isaac Evans (Regan Clayton 60), Brandon Thomas, Michael Forbes, Iyiola Adebayo (Freddie Potts 60), George Earthy, Archie Woods, Divin Mubama, Gael Kileba, Sonny Perkins
Unused subs Jacob Knightbrige, Michael Adu, Josh Roach
Booked Earthy 25