Our development squad secured qualification from the group stage of the Leasing.com Trophy last night with a last-minute winner ensuring progression for the Blues.
The victory was vital as we went into the final round of fixtures sat in third place with three points on the board, knowing only a win would have guaranteed a place in the round-of-32.
Jon Russell struck in injury time from Thierno Ballo’s low centre, sparking joyous scenes among the players, staff and small travelling contingent and boss Andy Myers spoke highly of his team’s performance.
‘In all fairness, I think it was a really good performance,’ he said. 'The boys have been a credit throughout this competition - tonight was special, it was a young side but we showed great character and personality on and off the ball.
‘I thought we were good from the start. The first half was exceptionally good, we had to deal with a lot of pressure but also maintain playing our football at the same time.'
Russell downed Plymouth Argyle’s hopes of progression with a smart finish just minutes from the final whistle - his first goal of the season - and Myers praised the performance of the young midfielder, who has had to wait for his opportunity.
‘I’m pleased for Jon, he’s been in and out and had an up-and-down season so he's had to be patient after having a couple of injuries from pre-season,’ he continued. ‘We’ve been telling him to keep working hard and when the opportunities come he’s got to take them and he did that tonight. He had a very good performance from start to finish.’
Chelsea matched their League Two counterparts on the field and the boss puts it down to the way his team implemented their game plan throughout the 90 minutes.
‘Jamie [Cumming] had to pull off a great save early on but in reflection I think the way we played was tactically spot-on,’ added Myers. ‘In the second half, we implemented our game plan even more and we looked physically strong. It was really good especially as we’ve had so many games in such a short period of time.
‘From the start we said this is a game that we have to win. Penalties wouldn’t be enough because we would be relying on other results to qualify. The boys stepped up – to go and play against Plymouth in the way they did means they are a credit to the club and themselves.'