Tino Anjorin, Silko Thomas and Xavier Mbuyamba were on the scoresheet as our development squad moved to six games without defeat at Kingsmeadow tonight.
Ahead of kick-off five games of the Premier League 2 season remained and depending on results elsewhere we could have moved up into third place, leapfrogging Spurs ahead of our visit to their training facilities on Sunday.
Our last meeting with Southampton saw the Blues notch four and this evening’s game provided much more of the same entertainment in our favour.
After a slow first half, it ended as a day for the debutants when a sending off for Southampton sparked the game to life after the interval.
It would be the visitors to score first but we responded in no time. First Tino Anjorin finished in style before a quick-fire double with a goal each for development squad debutants Silko Thomas and Xavier Mbuyamba wrapped up the points at full time.
For the evening’s game boss Andy Myers named a changed line-up from the side which earned a point at West Ham. Ethan Wady was between the sticks while Silko Thomas and Declan Frith made their maiden outings at development squad level. George Nunn led the line while Alfie Gilchrist and Luke Badley-Morgan took a space on the bench. Alongside those youngsters was defender Xavier Mbuyamba, who joined us in August 2020 from Barcelona but has been injured since.
No way through
Underway in the late-spring sunshine, Southampton began proceedings but it wasn’t long before they forfeited possession to the Blues. After seven minutes of play a simple corner-kick routine was the first chance of the game. Anjorin received the ball 30 yards from goal and floated it in towards the danger area, McClelland was first to react but the Jack Bycroft made a smart stop from our defender’s headed attempt.
Possession evened out as the clock ticked on but our defence were rarely tested by Southampton’s forward line. Their one shot came from Allan Tchaptchel after a half-cleared corner opened up a yard of space, but the rash shot was no danger to Wady’s net.
Further chances for Chelsea went begging with Simeu clearing the net from close range, albeit while offside, before Thomas hesitated while clear on goal and invited a Southampton body to block the eventual shot.
Our next chance fell for Marcel Lewis, who rather fortuitously found himself one-vs-one with Bycroft. The keeper won the battle on this occasion though with an incredible blocking save to deny us a deserved goal.
Saints, man down goal up
Back out for the second half the game changed for Southampton dramatically within minutes. Kayne Ramsey, who was booked in the first half, was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Nunn and given his marching orders.
Despite the man disadvantage it was the simplest of routes which the visitors took to score the first goal of the game. A long kick forward from Bycroft travelled all the way into our box, neither Simeu nor Dujon Sterling could clear and Kazeem Olaigne powered home the loose ball.
It wasn’t long before we responded though and it was Anjorin to the rescue. Thomas worked well on the right to bring the ball forward and find Anjorin on the inside. Doing what he does best, the 19-year-old danced his way through the Southampton defence and finished coolly.
Thomas on target
Our very next attack saw us take the lead for the first time and it was Anjorin’s provider, Thomas, who found the net himself. Sterling flew down the right flank and drilled a low cross in which Lewis picked up. Unselfishly he back heeled the ball to Thomas to apply the finishing touches on his first game for the development squad.
Mbuyamba makes it three!
It got even better for us soon after. With his very first touch of a match ball for Chelsea, Mbuyamba found the net. It may not have been the prettiest goal as he forced the ball over the line from close range following a failed Saints clearance, but it was an important one which put daylight between the sides.
There was a chance to make it four from the spot. Simeu was in the box and heading towards goal when he was illegally apprehended. Anjorin assumed responsibility but was left shocked as he slotted wide from 12 yards. It remained 3-1 Chelsea and that’s how it ended as we made it six games unbeaten in PL2.
Up next for Myers’ men is a trip to Tottenham. Kick-off on Sunday is 12:30pm and the game is live on our platforms.
Chelsea Ethan Wady; Dujon Sterling, Dynel Simeu (c), Sam McClelland; Declan Frith (Xavier Mbuyamba 66), George McEachran Thierno Ballo (Bryan Fiabema 77), Silko Thomas (Alfie Gilchrist 86); Tino Anjorin, Marcel Lewis, George Nunn
Unused subs Karlo Ziger, Luke Badley-Morgan
Booked Frith 64
Scorer Anjorin 60, Thomas 68; Mbuyamba 70
Southampton Jack Bycroft, Zuriel Otseh-Taiwo, James Morris (Kam Ledwidge 71), Allan Tchaptchel, Kayne Ramsey, Ethan Barnett, Sam Bellis, Ryan Finnigan (Dare Olufunwa 67), Dan Nlundulu (Jayden Smith 71), Ramello Mitchell, Kazeem Olaigne
Unused subs Ollie Wright, Seamus Keogh
Booked Ramsey 31
Sent off Ramsey 50
Scorer Olaigne 51
Referee Matthew Russell