Under-18s: Arsenal 2-3 Chelsea

After coming back to win from three goals down on Wednesday night at Nottingham Forest, Chelsea played the role of comeback kids once again on Saturday morning as a brace from Amin Affane and a late winner from Patrick Bamford saw them twice come from behind to win 3-2 at Arsenal.

First half strikes from Josh Rees and Anthony Jeffrey had Steve Bould’s side in the ascendancy but the Blues dug deep and, once again, found a way to get it done.

Coach Adie Viveash kept faith with a number of players who were involved in Wednesday’s dramatic win but did afford Bamford a first Under-18 appearance in attack, whilst there were returns to the starting eleven for Alex Davey, Ali Gordon, Nortei Nortey and Tom Howard.

Arsenal were without regualars Kris Olsson and Serge Gnabry but still featured a strong line-up and included Benik Afobe amongst the substitutes as he continues to make his way back to fitness after a long-term injury.

They started the better and were a goal to the good inside the opening ten minutes when Phillip Roberts played in Rees, and the attacking midfielder continued a fine run of recent form by beating Jamal Blackman with an excellent finish.

It was a goal their start had deserved and they looked comfortable until midway through the first half, at which point Chelsea started to exert more of an influnce on affairs and had their first real chance when Bamford shot just wide.

The equaliser arrived ten minutes before half time and it came in some style as Affane strode forward before unleashing an sensational long-range effort which left Sean McDermott with no chance.

However, it sparked the home team back into life and although Kyle Ebecilio saw an effort ruled out for offside, they would go into the break ahead as Roberts claimed his second assist of the morning, this time laying a goal on a plate for Jeffrey to make it 2-1.

The strike gave the Gunners another lift and they looked to put the game beyond the Blues at the start of the second half but neither Rees nor Zak Ansah could make good on early opportunities.

Chelsea dug deep and looked to draw upon their midweek experiences and after Baker’s free kick was saved by McDermott, they duly equalised for the second time through that man Affane once again. The diminutive Swede found himself open at the far post and despite scuffing his effort, found the back of the net.

As Afobe entered the fray, Viveash too handed twenty minutes to a forward making his own return from a long absence as Walter Figueira was introduced, and Chelsea looked the more likely to score a late winner as they enjoyed their best spell of the game.

Five minutes from time they got it as Bamford held off the advances of two defenders before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home for his fourth goal in three appearances since moving from Nottingham Forest.

It marked a first Under-18 win at Arsenal’s Shenley training ground since 2006 and the end of a fantastic week for the youth team.

(Thanks to @ArsenalLive for the match updates)

Team to follow.

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