Under-18s report: Swansea 0 Chelsea 5

Our Under-18s continued an impressive start to their league title defence as they scored five unanswered to secure a well-earned win in Wales.

A slow start was punctuated after half hour as Billy Gilmour fired in the opener before Martell Taylor-Crossdale converted a surprise penalty just before the break. Daishawn Redan grabbed a second-half brace with two smart finishes either side of George McEachran’s strike to secure consecutive 5-0 wins in Swansea for our table-topping youngsters.

Morris made four changes from our last league outing as Nicolas Tie was handed his debut in goal and there were first starts for Tariq Lamptey and Redan, the latter starting up front alongside Taylor-Crossdale as the Blues lined up in a 3-4-1-2 shape.

Marc Guehi, Jack Wakely and Jon Panzo formed the defensive trio, while Juan Castillo and Lamptey operated in wing-back roles on the left and right respectively. Captain Conor Gallagher partnered Tariq Uwakwe in midfield, with Gilmour advanced in the number 10 role.

It took some time for the visitors to get going on a grey morning in Wales as the Swans enjoyed the better of the early chances, albeit without posing a serious threat to the Chelsea goal. Joe Lewis fired a right-footed effort high over the bar from some way out before Arnor Gudjohnsen, half-brother of our former striker Eidur, stung the palms of Tie from the right.

There were 25 minutes on the clock by the time Morris’s men had their first attempt of the morning, Gilmour’s free-kick sailing over, while Redan’s strength and good work down the left went unrewarded as his low cross evaded the supporting attackers in the box.

The breakthrough came just before the half-hour mark as the Blues scored with their first strike on target. Gilmour had been felled and received the ball from Gallagher’s quick free-kick, striking a swerving shot beyond Alex Lang from 20 yards for his second goal in as many league outings.

It was an advantage that seemed to calm the visitors and gave them a platform to enjoy a strong spell before the break. Castillo’s header struck the base of the post as Swansea were undone again by a short set-piece, while Taylor-Crossdale was thwarted by some good defending from full-back Rhydian Williams.

Uwakwe brought a flying but comfortable save from Lang as the hosts looked to reach half-time with just a one-goal deficit, though the referee’s surprise decision to award a Chelsea penalty after 42 minutes broke the home side’s resolve. Redan advanced dangerously down the left and into the box but appeared to have overrun the ball when the referee pointed to the spot. Taylor-Crossdale collected the ball as Swansea players protested and showed no remorse in slotting his spot-kick into the bottom corner.

McEachran replaced Gallagher at the break, the skipper looking like he had sustained a first-half knock, but it was another slow opening to proceedings after the restart. Castillo headed narrowly over from Lamptey’s inviting right-wing cross, while Taylor-Crossdale’s touch let him down just inside the box after Kees de Boer had conceded possession cheaply just outside his box.

The contest fired back to life with a flurry of opportunities around the hour mark. De Boer hit a drive over and then McEachran teed up Redan, though the Dutchman was denied by an important hand from Lang as he looked to round the onrushing goalkeeper and McEachran swept over the loose ball on the rebound.

Tie then made an important stop to keep his sheet clean before we extended our advantage. Williams and Mason Jones-Thomas combined well down the right and fashioned a sight at goal, the latter firing across towards the far corner but denied by our French keeper’s smart stop down low to his right.

Lang then made an equally impressive save down the other end as McEachran continued to cause problems for the hosts. The midfielder supplied another cutting forward pass for Redan, who squared unselfishly for the supporting Taylor-Crossdale, though the striker’s effort was kicked clear by the Swans stopper.

The hosts were helpless to prevent us adding further goals in the final 25 minutes as Morris’s side added a gloss to the scoreline. Redan notched his maiden goals for the club following his summer signing from Ajax, the first coming after 66 minutes as he rifled the ball into the roof of the net following Taylor-Crossdale’s low delivery from the right.

McEachran then added a fourth with a precise low finish, drilling the ball into the bottom right corner after collecting a cleared corner just outside the 18-yard box. It was the midfielder’s third goal of the campaign and highlighted the challenge that Morris will face in his absence in the coming month, with several expected to be called up for the England Under-17 World Cup squad next week.

There was still work to be done at the back for the Blues to continue their record of not conceding yet in the league all season. Guehi made a good block from Gudjohnsen before Tie saved well from substitute Matthew Roberts and then Jones-Thomas.

As the clock ticked into the final minute of normal time, Redan struck again for our fifth goal of the game, racing clear in behind the Swans defence and finishing emphatically. Our title defence has begun in impressive fashion with five wins from five, 14 goals scored and none conceded. Second-place Fulham are next up at Cobham on Saturday 30 September, live on Chelsea TV.

 

Chelsea (3-4-1-2) Nicolas Tie; Marc Guehi, Jack Wakely, Jon Panzo; Tariq Lamptey, Conor Gallagher (c) (George McEachran h/t), Tariq Uwakwe, Juan Castillo (Tushaun Walters 67); Billy Gilmour (Clinton Mola 67); Daishawn Redan, Martell Taylor-Crossdale
Unused subs
Karlo Ziger, Renedi Masampu,
Scorers Gilmour 29; Taylor-Crossdale (pen) 43; Redan 66, 90; McEachran 74

Swansea City Alex Lang, Rhydian Williams, Joe Lewis, Dan Williams, Ben Cabango, Brandon Cooper (c), Mason Jones-Thomas, Kees de Boer, Marc Walsh (Matthew Roberts 71), Oliver Cooper (Jack Fox 39), Arnor Gudjohnsen
Unused subs
Ben Erickson, Finley Hazell, Nathan Shepperd

Referee Matthew Rushton