Chelsea Under-18s struck seven times and moved into the last-eight of the FA Youth Cup, matching our biggest competition win since 2017 with tonight's triumph over Wolves at Aldershot.
We were four goals ahead at the break with goals coming from Ian Maatsen, Marcel Lewis (2), and Tino Anjorin making the half-time team talk a lot easier for Ed Brand.
That was after a pivotal moment sparked confidence into the team, Jake Askew's penalty save after 20 minutes induced a ruthlessness trait in the Blues' play.
The second-half saw Lewis complete his hat-trick to restart the flow of goals, Myles-Peart Harris and Xavier Simons added one each in the closing 10 minutes and sealed victory at Aldershot.
Brand stuck with the majority of the team who beat Bradford City by five goals in the last round. The one change came in midfield where there was a place for competition captain Anjorin meaning Peart Harris took a seat on the subs’ bench.
Conditions were overcast as the rain stopped just as the warm-ups concluded - there was a chill in the air and it took some time for both sides to defrost as we waited well into the first quarter of an hour for our first clear attempt on goal.
It was Dynel Simeu who registered the effort but his glancing header, which was similar to the chance he scored against Southampton last weekend, dropped the wrong side of the post.
Armando Broja had similar a headed chance not too long after – Maatsen’s centre found the forward in space but his connection saw the ball skid wide of the target.
Just as Chelsea were starting to look a threat in attack, Wolves were awarded a penalty completely against the run of play. Midfielder Theo Corbeanu stepped up to take the kick but Askew stood confidently in his net and was equal to the Wolves midfielder’s chipped attempt, making the save look easy.
It proved an important stop as the Blues swiftly turned defence into attack and took the lead two minutes later. Anjorin battled well and won possession in midfield before he spotted the wide run of Maatsen who made no mistake in burying the ball into the bottom corner. 1-0 Chelsea.
Our lead was doubled a little over 10 minutes later, Tino Livramento worked well to win the ball back in midfield and feed Broja who advanced into the box before unselfishly squaring for Lewis to apply the finishing touches. That was Lewis’ third goal of the competition after his brace against Bradford in the last round.
Two minutes after our second, in form Anjorin put daylight between the two sides and it was achieved after spectacular individual effort. The 18-year-old regained possession inside the box and danced around Wolves bodies, finding the bottom corner with the smartest of touches over the trailing leg of the keeper. 3-0 Chelsea.
Before the crowd even had time to settle, we were gifted our fourth goal in as many minutes. Wolves keeper Joe Young’s misplaced back-pass was perfect for Lewis who pounced upon the ball and finished into an open net. Another Youth Cup brace for the impressive Lewis.
Chelsea looked ruthless and had there been more than a minute’s additional time might have notched a fifth before the break.
The second-half started flat as Chelsea looked to regain the momentum displayed before the interval, possession was ours and play was patient as there wasn’t any desperate need to find the net.
Brand made his first change, sending on Thierno Ballo who replaced Anjorin in a straight swap with a minute over 15 remaining at Aldershot and there was little to report at that stage. But that quickly changed when Broja was tripped inside the box on 77 minutes and the Blues were awarded a penalty kick of their own. Again, unselfishly, the forward handed the ball to Lewis who converted the kick and completed his hat-trick. 5-0 Chelsea.
That was Lewis’ final contribution to the game as he was immediately replaced by Peart-Harris in what was a like-for-like swap.
Peart-Harris had the perfect introduction as his first touch ended in a sixth goal for Chelsea. A cross from the right was well controlled and finished inside the box by the number 17 who recorded his second goal of the competition.
The Blues were cruising but weren’t finished there, and a lightning quick counter-attack was coolly finished by Simons. It began when Broja won the ball back in his own half but was brought down under challenge, Peart-Harris continued the attack though and squared for Simons to grab our seventh and final goal of the evening.
Chelsea comfortably ended the game in control, matching the result recorded against West Brom in 2017 which is our joint biggest Youth Cup since the 1997/98 season, moving into the last-eight of the competition where fellow London side Millwall wait.
Chelsea (3-4-3) Jake Askew; Henry Lawrence, Dynel Simeu, Levi Colwill; Ian Maatsen Lewis Bate, Xavier Simons Tino Livramento (Charlie Wiggett 82); Tino Anjorin (c) (Thierno Ballo 74), Marcel Lewis (Myles Peart-Harris 79), Armando BrojaUnused subs Charlie Wiggett, Ethan Wady, Bashir Humphreys, Dion Rankine, Thierno Ballo, Myles Peart-Harris, George NunnScorers Maatsen 25, Lewis 38 & 42, 78, Anjorin 40, Peart-Harris 81, Simons 85
Wolves Joe Young, Jack Scott, Pascal Estrada, Christian Estrada, Christian Marques (c), Lewis Richards, Hugo Bueno (Nigel Lonwjk 52), Theo Corbeanu (Jack Hodnett 62), Todd Parker, Conor Cart, Luke Cundle, Owen Hesketh (Jed Abbey 87)Unused subs Jack Smith, Oliver Tipton, Kam Kandola, Harry BirtwistleBooked Longwijk 85
Referee Steven Hughes