Chelsea’s development squad earned a point from Tuesday evening’s London derby with West Ham thanks to George McEachran’s late strike.
We last met at the beginning of the season and Dion Rankine’s first touch after being introduced was the match-winning goal that day. Ahead of kick-off West Ham sat bottom of the Premier League 2 table on 13 points while we were in sixth place on 29 points.
The first half was an uneventful one in which both sides saw chances pass them by. For Chelsea, they weren’t as clear cut as they were for the hosts. With Karlo Ziger having to make a couple of stops, the scores remained level at the break.
West Ham came back out for the second half in the ascendant and took advantage of their position, taking the lead shortly before an hour’s play.
We were to find a way back into the game during the latter stages thankfully. After the referee awarded a penalty, George McEachran took charge of the situation and buried the ball to even the scores as we approached full-time. With no further fortune a point is all we took back to Cobham.
Thirty years since the day Andy Myers made his debut for Chelsea, he named two changes to the side to take on West Ham on Tuesday evening. Henry Lawrence and Tino Anjorin were replaced by Dynel Simeu in defence and Charlie Webster in attacking midfield, who made his first appearance for the development squad at West Ham.
Nothing between us
A cold spring evening provided the conditions in east London and it took some time for both teams to warm up before play settled at Rush Green. Our goalkeeper Ziger was called into action first, a low diving save to his right was the response to Kai Corbett’s well-hit attempt from 20 yards.
Once both teams had enjoyed a feel of possession it was West Ham who looked more threatening in attack, although McEachran was doing well to recycle the ball in midfield. Charlie Webster’s sweeping shot from 18 yards, following a Tino Livramento cross, bounced wide of the target for our first try of the game.
As we reached the midpoint Ziger was still the busier of the two keepers. After Dujon Sterling had a penalty appeal waved away our shot stopper had to remain alert to safely hold two attempts from the home side, Corbett again the man bringing the danger.
It remained an even game in the lead-up to the interval. McEachran had a chance to break the deadlock from close range but saw his shot blocked as we played out a first-half stalemate.
Hosts take the lead
Back out for the second half West Ham had won an early corner-kick which proved difficult to deal with for our defenders. Multiple attempts at clearing the ball failed as Freddie Potts picked up possession. However with a sea of bodies between him and our net his attempt caused no danger.
The most likely scorer for the Hammers was Corbett. He had chances in the first half and made sure to make his first of the second half count. The slick move from the hosts was swept home by the number seven just inside the area and we were left with work to do in the 35 minutes that remained.
The home danger wasn’t done there however. Ademipo Odubeko’s fierce strike pinged back off the post and into play where Mesaque Dju waited. Luckily, Ziger had recovered in time to make a good blocking save from the rebounded shot, keeping the deficit at just one.
McEachran makes it count
Realising the task at hand Chelsea upped our efforts in front of goal and it soon paid off. Livramento’s signature charge into the box yielded a penalty-kick which McEachran took responsibility for. After a slow run up he found the corner to make it 1-1 with just over 10 minutes left on the clock.
Lewis squandered an excellent opportunity to steal the the lead and three points moments later. The ball dropped to him in the box unmarked, but the 19-year-old lacked the composure needed at the all-important moment and that brought an end to the game in east London.
Next up for Myers’ men is the visit of Southampton on Monday 12 April. Kick-off at Kingsmeadow is 7pm.
Chelsea Karlo Ziger; Tino Livramento, Dynel Simeu, Levi Colwill (Sam McClelland 40), Dujon Sterling; George McEachran, Lewis Bate; Thierno Ballo, Charlie Webster (Harvey Vale 66), Marcel Lewis; George Nunn (Bryan Fiabema 58)
Unused subs Ethan Wady, Declan Frith
Booked Ziger 14
Scorer McEachran 77
West Ham Joseph Anag, Bernardo Rusa, Freddie Potts, Frederik Alves, Jamal Baptiste, Emmanuel Longelo, Kai Corbett, Conor Coventry, Kai Appiah-Forson, Nathan Holland (Mesaque Dju 41), Ademipo Odubeko
Unused subs Levi Laing, Amadou Diallo, Mesaque Dju, Kamarai Simon-Swyer
Booked Forson 70
Scorer Corbett 55