Our development squad fell to defeat at the Loughborough University Stadium on Monday night.
After an uneventful first half Chelsea were placed in to the lead thanks to George McEachran's 30-yard free-kick and the goal was enough for a half-time advantage for the visitors.
Chelsea had the chance to double the scores from the spot after the break but the crossbar would deny the Blues an important goal. Soon after, the hosts would make use of their own set-piece routine and claw a way back in to the game before a second three minutes from time proved to be the match-winner for the Rams.
Andy Myers named three changes from the side which drew at Arsenal in the development squad’s last outing. In came Karlo Ziger between the sticks, captain Dynel Simeu and youngster Harvey Vale, in place of Ethan Wady who dropped to the bench, Sam McClelland and Marcel Lewis who both missed out on Monday night.
No way through
As the theme in development squad matches Chelsea made strong start to the game, controlling possession from the word go however Derby remained a compact unit who were hard to break down.
Chelsea’s first meaningful attempt came after 11 minutes, Lewis Bate started the move. Winning the ball back Bate advanced forward and spread play wide, the ball eventually made its way back into the box and Fiabema was the man to tee up Thierno Ballo’s shot, Derby stood firm and made the block in the danger area.
Ballo was the man with our second and third attempt on goal, both from distance and both no trouble for George Sykes-Kentworthy in the home net. Pressure on the home defence was mounting midway through the half but there was still no breakthrough for Myers’ men.
McEachran makes his mark
Half-time was approaching and despite their dominance there still looked to be little way through for Chelsea, that was until a surging run forward from Tino Livramento won a free-kick in prime shooting position, with a number of players stating their case to take it.
It was McEachran who earned the responsibility and he added weight to his future cases by finding a gap in the wall to squeeze the ball through and in to the back of the net beyond the reach of Sykes-Kenworthy. Chelsea’s first-half dominance had finally paid off with the opening goal that gave them the lead at the interval.
Derby draw level
Seven minutes in to the first half Livramento was on the charge again and Derby couldn’t deal with his pace, this time he was tripped in the box and a penalty was awarded to the Blues.
Fiabema was the man to step up, last converting from the spot against Liverpool earlier this term, but the Norwegian forward could only fire against the crossbar on this occasion and Derby were spared for the time being.
We were made to rue the missed opportunity from 12 yards not long later though, as the hosts found the net after an hour’s play. A deep free-kick was kept alive at the back post and Cameron Cresswell was first to react, touching the ball beyond Ziger from close range for the equaliser.
Hosts find the winner
A goal each heading in to the last 15 minutes made the remaining moments a very attack-minded affair as the search for the winning goal intensified and to Chelsea’s frustration it was Derby who hit home first.
A long ball over the Blue back line sent Cresswell racing through on goal and the forward reached it before Ziger could. With the ball at his feet unopposed he had the easy task of finding the empty net which he did. The goal left little time for Chelsea to respond as Derby’s defence returned to the compact unit which started the evening’s game and sealed the three points at the Loughborough University Stadium.
Chelsea 3-4-2-1 Karlo Ziger; Dujon Sterling, Dynel Simeu (c), Levi Colwill; Tino Livramento, Lewis Bate, George McEachran, George Nunn (Dion Rankine 71); Thierno Ballo (Jude Soonsup-Bell 60), Harvey Vale; Bryan Fiabema (Ben Elliott 88)Unused subs Ethan Wady, Pierre Ekwah-ElimbyBooked Sterling 25, Colwill 85Scorer McEachran 37
Derby George Sykes-Kenworthy, Festy Ebosele, Archie Brown, Harrison Solomon, Jordan Brown (c), Joe Bateman, Osazee Aghatise, Connor Dixon (Bobby Duncan 66), Cameron Cresswell, Liam Thompson, Dylan WilliamsUnused subs Harry Halwax, Max Bardell, Eiran CashinBooked Bateman 44Scorer Cresswell 63, 87
Referee Andrew Kitchen
Our rearranged PL2 fixture against Leicester has been scheduled to take play on Friday 26 February, with kick-off at the Leicester City Training Ground set for 7pm.