Chelsea’s development squad scored first but were held to a PL2 point in Leicester on Monday evening.
In a dominant display, Tino Anjorin struck the post as Chelsea started well but we were made to wait for the opening goal. George McEachran’s tap-in on the stroke of the half-time was reward for a strong showing but the hard work undone just over 10 playing minutes later when the hosts levelled the scores.
Despite Chelsea's best attempts in the latter stages, there was no further reward for the chances created and the point keeps the Blues in sixth place on Monday evening.
At Andy Myers’ disposal for Monday evening’s Leicester fixture were Billy Gilmour and Tino Anjorin who made up part of our five-man midfield. Karlo Ziger returned between the sticks while Harvey Vale kept his place among the development squad starters.
We were greeted with bitterly cold conditions in north Leicestershire as both teams started the hunt for a vitally important three points.
Chelsea moved the ball well in the opening stages, Anjorin and McEachran in particular enjoyed spaces deep in the final third. With Leicester yet to have a sustained spell of possession as the clock reached 10 minutes, the probing of the home net intensified.
Bryan Fiabema and Gilmour had decent chances within the first quarter, the latter’s fizzed by the wrong side of the post and away from danger.
Chances each way
Although Leicester had grown into the game at the midpoint, Chelsea were still firmly in charge and patient build-up play around the box almost paid off. Anjorin and Gilmour combined to create some space for the former. Shrugging off his marker Anjorin fiercely struck at goal but the post would deny the Blues a deserved opener.
A very short lapse of concentration allowed Leicester their first shot on goal after 30 minutes of play. Foxes captain Tyrese Shade arrowed an attempt at goal which needed to be beaten away by Ziger – Chelsea mopped up any lurking danger and looked to regain dominance.
The first half had been blighted by stoppages and with a lengthy amount of added time announced, Chelsea had the chance to take a late lead. Possession was won back in the final third, Anjorin led the charge. Fiabema made a run around his team-mate who found him inside the box but the Norwegian forward’s attempt was rash and cleared the target, easing the pressure on the home defence.
McEachran on cue
Five minutes in to the six added on, Chelsea found the net through a move that had come straight from the training ground.
Gilmour collected possession on the halfway line and sprayed the ball to the opposite flank where Anjorin waited. Beating his man to the box, the 19-year-old whipped a low cross into the danger area where McEachran tapped home and Chelsea took that advantage into the half-time break.
Hosts level up
George Nunn replaced Fiabema 10 minutes into the second half when the team needed some fresh legs in attack, but within two minutes the home team fortuitously scored the equaliser. Captain Shade was gifted possession inside the area and slotted the ball into the corner out of Ziger’s reach, meaning the Blues had work to do if they were to claim the three points.
Leicester down to 10
Chelsea further stepped up their game as we entered the final 20 minutes, Levi Colwill rose highest from a corner-kick to meet the ball. Connecting well with it, he looked to have beaten all but for one last body on the line which made the all-important clearance in time.
Leicester front man Ali Reghba was shown a straight red card for dangerous play after 74 minutes and Myers’ men looked to capitalise on the man advantage by adding extra players to the attack. That tactical move meant it was one-way traffic in the Blues' favour.
Chelsea were camped in Leicester’s half for the remaining minutes but struggled to breakthrough the bodies that were thrown in the way of any goal-bound attempts. Nunn and Dynel Simeu were the closest but both of their shots from close range were frustratingly crowded out. Eventually time ran out for the Blues who had to settle for just a point.
Chelsea’s development squad are next in action on Sunday afternoon, kick-off at Kingsmeadow is 2pm. Both that and the Under-18s game against Spurs at 11am on Saturday can be watched live on the Chelsea website and The 5th Stand app.
Chelsea Karlo Ziger; Dujon Sterling (Pierre Ekwah-Elimby 77), Dynel Simeu, Levi Colwill; Harvey Vale, Lewis Bate (c), George McEachran (Thierno Ballo 71), Billy Gilmour, Tino Livramento; Bryan Fiabema (George Nunn 57), Tino Anjorin
Unused subs Ethan Wady, Dion Rankine
Scorer McEachran 45+5
Leicester Chituru Oduneze, Mitchell Clark, Cole Dasilva, Oliver Ewing, Danny Simpson, Harvey Godsmark-Ford (Callum Hulme 15), Tyrese Shade (c), Ali Reghba, Will Russ (Azeem Abdulai 77), Terell Pennant (Jake Wakeling 35)
Unused subs Dempysey Arlott-John, Arlo Doherty
Sent off Reghba 74
Scorer Shade 58