There were plenty of chances but no goals for either side in Sunday afternoon’s PL2 draw against Brighton.
The first half began quietly and the chances only started to come for both sides towards the half-hour mark. Tino Anjorin and Jude Soonsup-Bell tested the Brighton keeper, while Karlo Ziger had saves of his own to make in the Blues net.
In contrast the second half provided end-to-end action with only the woodwork stopping Chelsea from running riot. The chances continued to come for the home team but to no avail, and although frustrating, it’s another point on board for the Blues in PL2.
Spring-like sunshine provided the conditions in Kingston, but a winter chill kept things cool at pitch level for Sunday’s fixture. The reverse meeting between these two teams earlier in the season saw Chelsea’s development squad succumb to their first defeat in over a year of football, and the Blues were keen to right their wrongs from the first whistle.
Anjorin’s neat footwork in the danger area bought the midfield man some space. Exploiting it he found Soonsup-Bell who hit the ball towards goal at the first time of asking. Carl Rushworth had to make the save.
Chances both end but goalless at the break
Brighton’s first attempt came after 17 minutes and almost gave us the first goal of the afternoon. An early cross from right-back Ayo Tanimowo was sent in and the searching ball was a dangerous one. The slightest of touches from a man in yellow would have sent it into the back of the net but Ziger was confident enough to usher it out of play.
Although the start of the game was uneventful, Chelsea would have been the happier of the two sides; the mounting possession was well in favour of the hosts who stepped up their search for a goal. The two Tinos were next to link on the edge of the box, Anjorin had the shot which flew over the target.
Soonsup-Bell had another attempt on goal after 26 minutes, the move started in defence with McClelland, who had been solid thus far. The Northern Ireland youth international sprayed play to the left where Harvey Vale raced forward and crossed for the 17-year-old striker whose shot was on target but easy for Rushworth to block at this near post.
Brighton went close themselves moments later, Levi Colwill had his pocket picked by Evan Ferguson who charged at goal. Cutting on to his left foot the number nine sent a shot at the target but thankfully Ziger was equal to the attempt, making a save low to his right.
The final effort of the half went Chelsea’s way. McClelland was up for the set-piece and connected with Marcel Lewis’s free-kick but watched the ball drop the wrong side of the net. That move concluded the 45 minutes of football.
There were a flurry of great chances for the Blues within the opening few minutes of the restart. The first saw Livramento’s pass drop to Vale who forced a good save out of Rushworth. Agonisingly Lewis was just out of reach of the rebound.
The second move started in defence. Colwill marched forward and found Livramento on the right before continuing his run into the box. Our right wing-back spotted the run and crossed the ball in for the defender whose headed attempt caused trouble and required an unorthodox stop from the visiting keeper.
The Brighton shot stopper was kept busy and there was no let up from Chelsea. Vale’s dinked cross dropped to Lewis who was free in the centre. His looping header was on target but needed to be touched over.
Woodwork saves Brighton
The best and closest chance was yet to come though, and it again involved Vale. Moving infield the wing-back was on his lesser-favoured right foot but saw an opportunity to try his luck. That he did and Rushworth’s fingertips diverted the ball on to the crossbar and out and the woodwork would come to Brighton’s rescue again after the hour.
Chelsea were in the ascendant when Lewis Bate squared the ball for Livramento. Hitting it first time, the powerful strike cannoned back off the crossbar and away from danger. It was a much better showing from Chelsea after 65 minutes.
By the time we entered the final 15 minutes it was complete one-way traffic and unbelievably the crossbar would deny Vale once more. Livramento’s centre passed all but the youngster at the back post. Hitting his attempt first time it was inches too high to find the back of the net.
Brighton were kept busy for the majority of the second 45 at Kingsmeadow but the combination of the woodwork and Rushworth denied Chelsea a much deserved goal on the afternoon where a point was the only reward.
Chelsea 3-4-3 Karlo Ziger; Henry Lawrence, Sam McClelland, Levi Colwill; Tino Livramento, Lewis Bate, George McEachran, Harvey Vale; Tino Anjorin (George Nunn 65), Marcel Lewis, Jude Soonsup-Bell (Thierno Ballo 59)
Unused subs Ethan Wady, Declan Frith, Dynel Simeu
Booked Ballo 65
Brighton Carl Rushworth, Ayo Tanimowo, James Furlong, Jensen Weir, Lars Dendoncker, Ed Turns, Danny Cashman, Jack Spong, Evan Ferguson (Stef Vukoje 66), Teddy Jenks, Ben Wilson
Unused subs Sam Packham, Roco Rees, Marc Leonard, Ulrick Ella
Referee Sunny Gill