Our under-18s were on the end of a defeat against Aston Villa at Cobham on Saturday morning.
Chelsea made a great start to the afternoon, Jude Soonsup-Bell hit his tenth goal of the season from distance as we took another early lead at Cobham. However Aston Villa had turned the game on its head by half-time, leading by 1-3.
Soonsup-Bell was on target again late in the second half but time remained against Chelsea who were 3-2 down with 15 minutes left to play. Villa then found a fourth and wrapped up the points, sending them top of the Under-18 Premier League table while we sit eight.
The young Blues
Ed Brand named one change from the side who saw off Leicester a fortnight ago. Silko Thomas out as Alfie Gilchrist came into the side at the heart of the defence, meaning Josh Brooking moved to the right to occupy the wing-back position.
Double figures for Soonsup-Bell!
While the men were in Newcastle our youngsters were in top-of-the-table battle at Cobham against Aston Villa and like in many of our Academy games recently, it wasn’t long before we saw a goal.
Brand’s boys were in full control of possession and took the lead after excellent attacking play unlocked the opposition defence with ease. Josh Brooking started the move on the right and advanced forward before finding the run of Soonsup-Bell in the centre, who finished beyond his years for his tenth goal of the season.
It was a near-perfect start for our youngsters who ideally would've produced more of the same following the restart.
Villa turn it around
Villa were level two minutes later though, and it was following a rare away attack. Defender Ben Chrisene carried the ball forward from the back and took aim unopposed, firing into the top corner to make the score 1-1 after just eight minutes.
A little over 12 minutes later our visitors were ahead and it was after a spectacular effort. Arjan Raikhy won the ball back just inside the Chelsea half and spotted Sami Tlemcani off his line, the midfielder tried his luck with a looping effort and watched the ball drop into the net, much to the disbelief of those watching
Tlemcani was again called to the rescue moments after we conceded and did very well to keep us in the game. Brad Young received a low centre inside the box and had time to take touch and shoot, our keeper made himself big to deflect the ball to safety.
However we were only spared for five minutes as Yong made no mistake second time round. The Villa striker was found through on goal with only our keeper to beat, and he did just that at an angle before Gilchrist could reach the line to clear.
Glimmer of hope
Brand made one change at the break and it was at the back, Gilchrist was replaced by Luke Badley-Morgan who appeared for the first time since September after he picked up an injury which kept him out of action for six weeks.
While Villa held a comfortable lead Chelsea were in constant attack from the whistle but looked frustrated around the box as they struggled to apply the all-important finishing touch, thankfully that changed after 74 minutes when a familiar figure was on target for the young Blues.
Our In-form forward Soonsup-Bell showed great reactions to receive the ball with his back to goal 6 yards out, turn and slam it into the roof of the net. We were back in the game with a quarter left to play.
Villa make it four
Our lead didn’t last long however, as Villa’s young latched on to a low cross and powered a shot home from just outside the box making the score 2-4 with nine minutes on the clock and that sealed victory for our visitors who occupy top spot in the league standings.
On Tuesday morning we are in Under-17 Premier League Cup action in Southmapton with a 11am kick-off, after that we make the short trip to Fulham on Saturday, kick-off in that game is 11am.
Chelsea (3-4-2-1) Sami Tlemcani; Alfie Gilchrist (Luke Badley-Morgan (ht), Charlie Wiggett (c), Bashir Humphreys; Josh Brooking, Charlie Webster, Ben Elliott, Dion Rankine; Harvey Vale, Joe Haigh; Jude Soonsup-BellUnused subs Max Merrick, Ronnie Stutter, Lewis Hall, Leo CastledineBooked Haigh 21Scorer Soonsup-Bell 6, 74
Aston Villa Filip Marschall, Frankie Ealing, Ben Chrisene, Paul Appiah (c), Sil Swinkels, Hayden Lindley, Edward Rowe (Chisom Afoka 88), Mamadou Sylla (Coalan McBride 77), Brad Young, Arjan Raikhy, Dewain Sewell (Kahrel Reddin 70)Unused subs Patrick Zito, Oliwier ZychBooked Sylla 44Scorer Chrisene 7; Raikhy 20; Young 32, 81
Photography by Mark Sandom