PL2 report: Chelsea 0 Blackburn Rovers 1

The Chelsea development squad lost a tight affair at Cobham as Blackburn secured their first win of the season in Premier League 2.

The young Blues lost by a goal to nil at Cobham following a contest that included a red card for Xavier Simons and a penalty in the opening minutes for the visitors, which ultimately decided a game that was played at a high tempo throughout.

The first half was a very even and cagey contest between the two sides. There were moments here and there but the biggest most certainly was the penalty awarded to Blackburn in the opening five minutes of the game.

In an attempt to clear the ball out of the box, captain Harvey Vale swung a leg and caught Blackburn’s Jake Garrett, and the referee decided to award the foul.

The resulting penalty was slotted away nicely by Blackburn's number nine Sam Burns, who slotted down the middle of the goal with keeper Teddy Sharman-Lowe diving to the right.

Rovers definitely fashioned the more clear-cut chances, and it was again Burns who threatened. Good work between himself and Jared Harlock led to a shot on goal bur a solid right glove from the Chelsea keeper stopped him from doubling the lead and getting his second of the afternoon.

Following the increased pressure from Blackburn, we did manage to settle the game down. In the period of possession that we did have, Simons and Vale combined to leave the latter one-on-one with his man. With the opposing full-back anticipating the cut-back, Vale drove towards the byline and flashed across goal, where Bryan Fiabema under pressure from defender Ashley Phillips, placed a shot wide with the goal gaping.

The side from Lancashire took advantage of some sloppy play at the back as a cute cutback was driven towards goal by Sam Durrant, whose shot would have been troubling if not for a timely block.

As the half wore on, it became cagey, with both sides surrendering possession at various moments in the game. Blackburn managed to fashion another opportunity as a free-kick was driven in and parried by Sharman-Lowe, while the rebound was blazed over. We did manage to have the last chance of the half however as Simons, our most dangerous outlet of the first period, put in a good ball to the back post that found Vale, but his left-footed shot was powered over.

Myers made two changes at half-time, bringing on Lewis Hall and Dion Rankine, and these alterations brought some much-needed energy into the attack. The first chance of the half fell to Xvaier Mbuyamba, who powered down a header that was saved well by the Blackburn keeper. The centre-back threatened again from a well-delivered corner from Lewis Baker but this time his header went well over.

Chelsea had been dominating for the first 20 minutes of the restart as we had Blackburn camped in their own half, although things soon took a turn for the worse for the hosts as Simons was sent off for a second yellow card after a loose arm to the face of an opponent.

Blackburn were looking to take advantage of the extra man as they created their first openings of the second half. Good work on the left led to a shot in the box which required Sharman-Lowe to save again. Immediately after that, a mis-timed header from the Blackburn striker Burns when he was in acres of space left Chelsea very fortunate to only be a goal down.

Myers's men did wrestle back some sort of control late on as Rankine, Mbuyamba and Charly Musonda all had openings to secure an equaliser despite us being a man down, yet we just failed to create enough clear-cut opportunities over the course of the game to really trouble Blackburn and their backline. There was, however, time for a late chance for Blackburn who, on the counter after a well-worked move ,fired against Sharman-Lowe’s left-hand post.

The loss is our development squad’s fourth of the season as Blackburn jump above Chelsea and Liverpool into 10th place after winning their first game of the season at Cobham.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Teddy Sharman-Lowe; Xavier Simons, Josh Brooking, Xavier Mbuyamba, Bryant Bilongo (trialist - Lewis Hall h/t); George McEachran, Lewis Baker; Harvey Vale (c), Charly Musonda, George Nunn (Dion Rankine h/t); Bryan Fiabema (Jude Soonsup-Bell 60)
Unused subs Lucas Bergstrom, Brodi Hughes
Booked Simons 35; McEachran 81
Sent off Simons 69

Blackburn Rovers (4-2-3-1) Aidan Dowling; Joseph Ferguson, Ashley Phillips, Louie Annesley (c), Lenni Cirino; Jake Garrett, Joe Nolan; Jared Harlock, Sam Durrant (Connor McBride 66), Zak Gilsenan (Luke Brennan 77); Sam Burns
Unused subs Felix Goddard, Adam Wharton, George Pratt
Scorer Burns (pen) 5

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