We are in the hat for the semi-final draw of the Premier League Cup after this morning's two-goal win at Newcastle United.
Chelsea got off to an excellent start when captain Sam McClelland nodded us into a sixth-minute lead before goalkeeper Jake Askew was forced into some good saves to keep us ahead at the break. Dion Rankine got our second and decisive goal after an hour's play, while Marcel Lewis had the chance to get on the scoresheet late on but it wasn't to be and the final result was 0-2 Blues.
Ed Brand named a changed side for this Premier League Cup quarter-final clash against Newcastle. Schoolboy Charlie Webster started in midfield as did regular Sam Iling-Junior, while fellow Under-16s Luke Badley-Morgan, Prince Adegoke and Harvey Vale were all named on the substitutes’ bench.
Our first chance came within the opening minute as Iling-Junior made the byline and got a cross in. George Nunn helped the ball on to Lewis, who skied his effort from six yards out. It was a great chance for Chelsea to stamp some early authority on the game.
Iling-Junior was causing Newcastle problems with his forward runs on the left flank and he again found Nunn in the centre but the forward’s attempt was wide of the target.
Our next effort wasn’t to go to waste though. Iling-Junior was involved again, winning the corner which Lewis swung into the box and on to the head of McClelland, who powerfully nodded home to give the Blues the lead after just six minutes.
Chelsea were strong in possession but the hosts looked dangerous on the counter and almost scored one of their own when Lucas De Bolle matched McClelland’s powerful header in the centre but, luckily for the Blues, Askew produced a wonderful save to preserve the lead.
After our dominant start, the game evened out and went through a quieter period. Newcastle were searching for a way back into the game, while our attackers worked hard to put some daylight between the sides.
Forward Kian Reed forced Askew into a comfortable save before captain Lucas Gamblin was denied on the line by his own player as half-time neared. Brand’s side had to adopt a patient approach while looking for an opening.
We remained unchanged at the start of the second half and Iling-Junior picked up from where he left off. A whipped cross deflected off a home body and headed towards goal but, luckily for Newcastle, keeper Oliver Marshall managed to get fingertips to the ball before it crossed the line.
Bashir Humphreys went close after an hour, his header from Lewis Bate’s corner-kick dropping wide of the far post. It was another even start as Newcastle attacked Askew’s goal immediately and Elliott Anderson had a header in the centre of the box which thankfully flew over the target.
Our attacking persistence paid off and Rankine got our second with a bit of fortune. Lewis excellently picked out his run but the initial shot was saved by Marshall and fortunately it was parried straight back at Rankine, who couldn’t miss from close range. 2-0 Blues.
Brand made a change with 20 minutes remaining, Vale taking the place of Iling-Junior, who was on a yellow card after a hard morning’s work. Chelsea were displaying a classy final quarter to keep a clean sheet and the lead – both keepers made saves as first Lewis’ effort was plucked out of the air by Marshall before Askew was forced low to keep out Josh Harrison.
Our final change was Ben Elliott for Myles Peart-Harris in a like-for-like swap but there was barely any time for any sort of impact as the referee blew his whistle, meaning we progressed through to the semi-finals of the Premier League Cup competition. Manchester City, Reading and Stoke are also in the hat.
Chelsea (3-4-3) Jake Askew; Sam McClelland (c), Bashir Humphreys, Charlie Wiggett; Sam Iling-Junior (Harvey Vale 72), Lewis Bate, Charlie Webster, Dion Rankine; Myles Peart-Harris (Ben Ellioitt 87), George Nunn, Marcel LewisUnused subs Luke Badley-Morgan, Prince Adegoke, Pierre EkwahBooked Iling-Junior 39, Rankine 89Scorers McClelland 6 Rankine 61
Newcastle Oliver Marshall, Joe Oliver, Josh Scott, Jude Swailes, Lewis Brannen (Josh Gilchrist 84), Lucas Gamblin (c), Elliot Anderson, George Rounsfell (Josh Harrison 70), Kain Reed, Lucas De Bolle, Joe WhiteUnused subs Nathan Carlyon, Piotr Banda, Michael Ndiweni