Our Under-18s were back in action after just over four weeks without a game and produced a display worthy of the three points in Saturday’s win over West Ham.
Luke Badley-Morgan opened the morning’s scoring at Little Heath and goals from Alfie Gilchrist, Charlie Webster and Leo Castledine followed in the second half to get 2021 off to a positive start over our London rivals.
Head coach Ed Brand was left pleased with his team’s showing and highlighted the positive blend between schoolboys and scholars in his post-match interview.
‘I’m really pleased with the way we handled the game,' he told the official Chelsea website. 'We're in strange times and we haven’t played for six weeks but you wouldn’t have known that after today's performance.
‘There was an opportunity for some schoolboys to play and they were all excellent, which is what this Academy has always been about. Equally as important were the older players - Dion Rankine, Charlie Wiggett and Ben Elliott all set the standard for what was a nice mix. I thought we were excellent and it was a professional away performance.’
Badley-Morgan’s volley provided some comfort at the break and Brand was happy at that point, but he was sure to remind his players that there was still work to be done after the restart.
‘I was happy at the break. We deserved our lead but I was a little frustrated that we weren’t ahead by more and the game was by no means done,’ he continued.
‘We had to approach the second half in a similar way to how we approached the first and I think we did just that. We defended the box really well after the break and when we got the second goal from the set-piece through Alfie Gilchrist, who was superb, it gave us more confidence as a team. We were very good value for the four goals.'
Up next for our youngsters is a trip to Southampton this weekend. Kick-off at Staplewood on Saturday morning is 11am.