Today's PL2 game against Everton ended in defeat for our development squad at The Pure Stadium.
It was a frustrating game which Chelsea will feel they deserved something from. An open first half saw chances fall for Tino Anjorin and Dynel Simeu but neither found the target. We also had a penalty appeal waved away as we entered the break goalless.
Everton found inspiration at half-time and took the lead within 10 minutes of the restart and that lead was doubled soon after. For all Chelsea’s efforts to get a goal back it just wasn’t to be as Myles Peart-Harris was introduced and had our best chance of the second half which was well saved.
The young Blues
Andy Myers named four changes from our last PL2 outing at Liverpool. Karlo Ziger was back between the sticks with Levi Colwill just ahead of him in defence in place of Lucas Bergstrom and Jack Wakely respectively. Lewis Bate and Tino Livramento returned to our midfield as Dion Rankine played for our Under-18s yesterday afternoon and Marcel Lewis was on the bench.
Like at Cobham yesterday a two-minute silence was impeccably observed on this Remembrance Sunday.
Fast start at both ends
We started quickly in Southport attacking Everton from the first whistle. Livramento and Anjorin moved down the right with purpose but the latter’s shot was just squeezed out before it could do any damage to the home net.
Everton themselves were right in the action too and Anthony Gordon clipped the bar from the edge of the box with what was the first shot on goal of the afternoon, all within the first two minutes.
The game was wide open and Chelsea broke at speed from a corner-kick, Drinkwater won the ball back and found Ballo who advanced into the box and beat his man, but again the attempted square ball was just about defended by Everton as we had two men waiting to finish off the move.
Ballo, the Austrian youth international was involved again moments later when his smart ball into Anjorin’s path gave the midfield man some space to get a shot away. He did just that and appealed for a penalty as it seemed to strike the arm of an Everton defender, the referee had other ideas though and waved play on without an interest in Blue shouts.
Settled first-half end
The game settled down as we moved through the half – we were not short of action, just goals as Everton pushed for an opener.
After advancing down the left Niels Nkounkou’s cross was cleared only as far as Gordon who was waiting at the edge of the box - with time and space he drilled a low effort wide of the target, much to Chelsea’s fortune.
We had a chance of our own within moments of Everton going close and it was the through the unlikely link-up of our centre-backs. The pair remained in the opposition box following a corner-kick which was recycled well by Bate, he found the head of Colwill whose nod back across goal needed a finishing touch from Simeu but the captain couldn’t keep his header on target from close range. That attempt concluded a good first half of football.
Unchanged during half-time, both teams returned to the field in search of the goal to unlock control of the game.
That goal did come but for Everton after 55 minutes and in very fortunate circumstances. Chelsea clearances were blocked inside the box by the Everton press and forward Ellis Simms found himself with only Ziger to beat from five yards, drilling the ball home for the opener.
The damage was doubled soon after by Tyler Onyango who prodded home from close range after Gordon led the counter-attack to create the opening.
We should have pulled one back after 73 minutes, Peart-Harris snuck towards the back post and headed on goal from a corner but a good save from Joao Virginia denied us a route back into the game.
As we entered the final quarter Everton looked to defend their lead and it was all Chelsea in offensive possession as our youngsters desperately searched for a lifeline.
However with men committed forward the hosts remained a threat on the counter and Simeu stayed alert in the latter stages to provide some vital blocks to prevent further damage to the Chelsea net.
We probed the defence right up until the final seconds of play but couldn’t find a way through and the game ended in defeat for Myers' men.
Another away trip awaits the development squad after the international period. Manchester City host us on Sunday 22 November, kick-off is scheduled for 1pm.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Karlo Ziger; Henry Lawrence, Dynel Simeu (c), Levi Colwill (Pierre Ekwah-Elimby 66), Baba Rahman; Lewis Bate, Danny Drinkwater; Tino Livramento, Tino Anjorin, Thierno Ballo (Myles Peart-Harris 66); Bryan Fiabema (Charlie Brown 58)Unused subs Lucas Bergstrom, Marcel LewisBooked Bate 33
Everton Joao Virginia, Matthew Pennington, Niels Nkounkou, Beni Baningime (c), Ryan Astley, Jarrad Branthwaite, Nathan Broadhead (Sebastian Quirk 84), Tyler Onyango, Ellis Simms, Einar Iversen (Imam Jagne 90 +3), Anthony GordonUnused subs Con Ouzounidis, Harry Tyrer, Rhys HughesBooked Virginia 16, Baningime 27, Nkounkou 61, Onyango 65Scorer Simms 55; Onyango 68