A five-star seven-goal performance from our Under-18s saw us leapfrog Aston Villa into fifth place in the league standings with Saturday afternoon’s win.
The reverse fixture produced six goals, four of which were in favour of Aston Villa. Jude Soonsup-Bell’s brace was only a consolation for the young Blues who were stunned by their opponents on the day but it was much the different story this time out with Chelsea on the right side of the goals.
An impressive start from our youngsters produced a well-worked goal in the 20th minute, Myles Peart-Harris with his eighth of the season across the Academy teams. Our next was scored by Joe Haigh and was quickly followed up by Jayden Wareham who added a third before the break.
It was more of the same after the interval with Peart-Harris grabbing his second and third and Charlie Webster on target from the spot. Jude Soonsup-Bell netted our seventh and it sealed an excellent afternoon’s work.
For Saturday afternoon’s game Ed Brand named young Ted Curd between the sticks for his seventh start with the older age group. Myles Peart-Harris continued his recovery in midfield alongside in-form Joe Haigh who had six goals in 13 league games prior to kick-off. Soonsup-Bell stepped up his return this week, enough to earn a place on the bench having picked up an injury playing for the development squad a month ago.
On the attack
After a silence to mark the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh, the game got underway at Aston Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training centre. We started brightly in perfect conditions and moved the ball around nicely in the opening stages.
Every Chelsea player looked up for the game and neat play in the final third was creating space in behind the Villa defence. Wareham and Haigh in particular were finding joy in offensive areas.
Peart-Harris also had two early shots on goal. Both were wide of the right-hand post, but it was encouraging signs for the young Blues who went even closer with the next attack.
Haigh danced his way through the home defence but thought the chance had passed him by after a heavy touch. Villa’s keeper hesitated though, giving Haigh another opportunity to take advantage of his position. He managed to get a shot away but the angle was just too tight to find the net.
Peart-Harris scores first
Our persistence finally paid after 20 minutes of play and it was the familiar duo of Haigh and Peart-Harris who were involved. The move started in our own half though, with Ben Elliott and Charlie Webster working hard to recycle possession. The ball eventually found Haigh who charged into the box and opted to pass to Peart-Harris who had run beyond the static defensive line to apply the finishing touches. 0-1 Blues.
The same duo almost gave us our second goal moments later. Haigh broke out of midfield leading the Chelsea charge who were 3-vs-3 against the Villa defence. Peart-Harris was again quick enough to pass his marker and find himself through on goal. However a strong right hand from Fillip Marschall denied him a second.
Another two in quick succession
Villa, largely outplayed at this point, did very well to step up their game in response to going behind. It soon became very difficult for us to move the ball around as we had been doing previously and the hosts were committing more boys forward giving Curd and the defence some work to do.
Despite the change in play, we did well to soak up the pressure and pick the perfect time to launch an attack on Villa’s defence. It wasn’t too long before the provider of our first goal got on the scoresheet himself, but it wasn’t without a number of heroic blocks from the home keeper who did his best to keep out shots from Vale and Wareham but was helpless when Haigh tapped home from close range.
Our third was a much simpler goal. Dion Rankine used his trickery to advance into the box. Unselfishly he opted to cross to the back post where Wareham waited and had the easy task of tapping into an empty net. With that, the whistle signalled the end of a near-perfect first-half performance.
Keeping the levels up
Back out for the second half, we were producing similar levels of play as shown in the first and it wasn’t long before we found a fourth goal. A corner-kick routine saw Charlie Webster’s cross flicked on to Peart-Harris at the back post who squeezed the ball through a gap and into the back of the net. 0-4 Blues and we weren’t done there.
Haigh’s signature close control was too close for the Villa defence to handle. As he made the by-line he was fouled and we were awarded a penalty-kick. Webster assumed responsibility and duly dispatched from 12 yards.
Three of the best
Peart-Harris continued the afternoon’s scoring from the spot. His hat-trick was sealed when Soonsup-Bell was tripped in the box, leaving the referee without an option but to award another spot-kick our way.
Last to join in on the scoring act was Soonsup-Bell shortly after being introduced. Peart-Harris was the provider who found the forward with work to do. He kept his cool and finished superbly from inside the box. The seventh goal of the game came seven minutes from time and brought an end to our afternoon in the Midlands.
Everton travel to Kingsmeadow for the fifth-round tie of the FA Youth Cup. Kick-off on Thursday is 12:30, live on the website and the 5th Stand app.
Chelsea Teddy Curd; Josh Brooking, Bashir Humphreys, Charlie Wiggett; Dion Rankine, Ben Elliott (Josh Tobin 71), Charlie Webster, Harvey Vale; Myles Peart-Harris, Joe Haigh (Jude Soonsup-Bell 60); Jayden Wareham
Unused subs Alfie Gilchrist, Sami Tlemcani, Lewis Hall
Scorers Peart-Harris 20, 50, 78; Haigh 34; Wareham 37; Webster 53, Soonsup-Bell 83
Aston Villa Fillip Marschall, Aaron O’Reilly, Paul Appiah (c), Sil Swinkels (Benjamin Chrisene ht), Caolan McBride (Taylor Jay-Hart ht), Hayden Lindley, Tommi O’Reilly, Chisom Afoka, Tristan Abldeen-Goodbridge, Kahrel Reddin, Brad Young (Dewain Sewell 60)
Unused subs Oliwer Zych