Chelsea's youth team hit eight goals beyond Barnsley to move into the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup, matching our joint-biggest competition win.
There were plenty of goals at Kingsmeadow in this afternoon's game. Jude Soonsup-Bell netted a first-half hat-trick before adding an outrageous fourth after the restart, while goals from Tino Livramento, Ben Elliott, Harvey Vale and Lewis Bate secured passage for Ed Brand's boys in some style.
The seven-goal winning margin matches our biggest in Youth Cup history, while it is the first time we've scored eight or more since 1997. With a place in the next round secured, the Blues will now wait for the draw to discover their next opponents.
The young Blues
Brand’s first Youth Cup team of the new season saw Bate take the armband as captain after featuring throughout Chelsea’s last campaign. Sami Tlemcani got his first taste of Youth Cup football as did Josh Brooking, Charlie Wiggett and Charlie Webster.
Another fast Chelsea start
The game got going in chilly Kingston conditions with Chelsea looking to make a strong start to the new season’s campaign and, similar to many recent Academy fixtures, it wasn’t long before we saw our first goal.
Forward Soonsup-Bell fired home Vale’s cross at the second attempt from close range after just 90 seconds of play. It was his first Youth Cup start and first goal, bringing his tally to 12 in all competitions for the season.
Chelsea’s relentless attack in the opening minutes yielded the deserved goal, which came as a shock to Barnsley. However, as the game settled following the sharp start, our patient play was being dealt with by the visiting defence.
There was only so much pressure the Barnsley defence could withstand though, and Chelsea’s lead was doubled in the 17th minute by the in-form striker.
The move started in our half with Bate, his diagonal ball to Livramento placed perfectly for the wing-back to take in his stride and cross for the unmarked 17-year-old to sweep home his second of the afternoon.
There had been little action in Tlemcani’s box at the 30-minute mark, but our back four of little competition experience had adapted quickly to their surroundings, mopping up any lurking danger and restricting Barnsley’s chances to almost none as we approached the break.
There was enough time in the first half for Soonsup-Bell to complete his hat-trick, and it was a carbon copy of his second goal. Bate picked up the ball in midfield and sprayed it wide for Livramento, the 18-year-old’s first-time centre was perfect for Soonsup-Bell to slot home for his third.
Our last FA Youth Cup hat-trick was also at Kingsmeadow in last season’s third round tie against Huddersfield. Armando Broja, now on loan at Vitesse, took home the match ball that evening.
Seconds before the whistle, Soonsup-Bell could’ve grabbed a fourth, his glancing header from a corner kick coming back off the woodwork for the last bit of action of the half.
Barnsley pull one back
We started the second half with the same intensity and purpose as we did in the first. Myles Peart-Harris and Rankine were lively in attack and linked up well in the final third on occasions as we looked to make it four.
The next scorers were Barnsley though as a rare attack won a free-kick in the perfect crossing position 30 yards from goal. A floated ball was played in and Jack Sherlock reacted first to nod in off the frame of the goal.
Livramento on target
Chelsea knew they had to score next to regain full control of the game after Barnsley’s goal, and that they did after a rapid attacking move.
Livramento stayed tight to his marker and stole possession back before setting Peart-Harris through on goal. The wing-back didn’t stand still though, keeoing pace with his team-mate and slamming home after Barnsley’s poor clearance to make it 4-1 to Chelsea.
Elliot makes it five
Just six minutes after his introduction, Elliott was stood over a free-kick wide on the left. His attempt took everyone by surprise as it cannoned into the net off the underside of the bar when most were expecting a cross. It was a spectacular finish for the youngster's first contribution to this year's campaign.
Signing out in style
There was still more to come from this young side, who were ruthless in attack. Soonsup-Bell scoured his fourth - and our sixth of the game - with a wonderful goal to conclude his afternoon.
Vale provided the assist again as his ball down the line left the Barnsley defenders in Soonsup-Bell’s wake, although the youngster still had plenty to do. His run into the box drew keeper Archie Brown out and an audacious back-heel followed, finding the net to wrap up a dream full Youth Cup debut.
It also made him the first player to score four in a Youth Cup game since Roger Bill in September 1961, our first campaign as defending champions, which is quite the achievement considering the strikers to have represented the young Blues in the competition since then.
Vale’s two-assist afternoon was perfectly complimented by a wonder strike in the final two minutes. Having won the ball back in midfield, the attacking midfielder tried his luck from distance and watched as the ball flew into the top corner, taking over from Elliot's earlier strike for goal of the game, that was only until the skipper joined in on the scoring act moments later.
Bate wraps it up at eight
Just seconds remained on the clock but there was still time for one more, Bate rounding off a captain’s performance with a strike worthy of an award. His arrowed hit from 25 yards nestled nicely into the top corner from substitute Joe Haigh's assist to round off a brilliant day's work for his team.
The last time we scored eight in the Youth Cup was 23 years ago in a 9-0 win over Chipstead and, given the time at Kingsmeadow, there's every chance the boys would have equalled that record. Instead, they had to settle for eight and a comfortable passage through to round four.
Brand takes his team to Fulham in the Under-18 Premier League on Saturday 12 December, kick-off 10:30am.
Chelsea (3-4-2-1) Sami Tlemcani; Josh Brooking, Charlie Wiggett, Levi Colwill; Tino Livramento, Charlie Webster (Ben Elliott 65), Lewis Bate, Harvey Vale; Dion Rankine, Myles Peart-Harris (Joe Haigh 66); Jude Soonsup-Bell (Bryan Fiabema 75)Unused subs Bashir Humphreys, Silko Thomas, Josh Tobin, Luke Badley-MorganScorers Soonsup-Bell 2, 17, 44, 74; Livramento 65; Elliott 71; Vale 88; Bate 90
Barnsley Archie Brown, Kareem Hassan-Smith, Hayden Pickard (Ben Hall 79), Connor Hodgson, Sam Nicholson, Jack Birks, Joe Ackroyd (c), Jack Sherlock (Lloyd Smith 83), Harrison Nejman (Theo Chapman 88), Bayley HassellUnused subs Blake Goucher, Alex Joof, Josiah Dyer, Kieran FlavellBooked Nejman 21Scorer Sherlock 59
Referee Harrison Blair