Both Chelsea’s Under-21 and Under-18 teams were in action on Saturday, and both squads continued their excellent pre-season plans to date by remaining unbeaten and picking up a pair of wins.
The Under-21s made the long trip to North Wales to take on Colwyn Bay, who are managed by former Chelsea defender and current Chelsea TV analyst Frank Sinclair and his team. Dermot Drummy made a handful of changes to the team which started in the 4-0 win over Sutton United on Tuesday night, including Ola Aina, Kevin Wright, Jeremie Boga and Ulises Dávila from the start, but the full 20-man squad saw some time on the pitch as the Blues ran out comprehensive 5-1 victors.
They had gone behind early when a miscommunication between Wright and goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney allowed the hosts to pounce, but it was against the run of play and once the young Blues had found their stride, there was no letting up. Ruben Loftus-Cheek released Isaiah Brown to score the first of his brace to equalise, before John Swift grabbed a second in as many games to put his team ahead early in the second half.
Having scored one and made one, Brown then made it 3-1 with his third goal in two outings, and Alex Kiwomya was soon to get in on the act to maintain his record of having scored in every one of the Under-21s’ fixtures this summer. His was an excellent finish, guiding the ball into the top corner with a first time finish following good play by Adam Nditi.
Swift notched a second for himself to make it 5-1 in the closing stages, and it could have been considerably more on the day. The team will now head for Ilkeston on Tuesday night, when they go up against another former Chelsea player turned non-league manager in Kevin Wilson.
Chelsea Under-21s First Half: Beeney, Aina, Christensen, Aké, Wright, Baker (c), Loftus-Cheek, Boga, Swift, Dávila, Brown
Chelsea Under-21s Second Half: Killip, Dabo, Conroy, Davey, Nditi, Swift, Powell, Ssewankambo, L.Musonda, Cuevas, Brown (Kiwomya)
Earlier in the day, Adi Viveash’s Under-18s saw off a competitive and very handy Stevenage team by a 3-2 scoreline at Cobham courtesy of goals from George Cole, Anjur Osmanovic and Nias Butungu.
After wins against Brighton and on tour in Austria so far this summer, Viveash handed out more playing time for some of his squad, with defenders George Brady and Jonathan Muleba each getting ninety minutes, whilst goalscorer Cole also played from start to finish in an all action midfield performance.
He had the first chance of the game with a free kick which was sent just wide of the post, and then provided Dominic Solanke with an opportunity of his own with a whipped delivery into the box which the forward couldn’t flick towards the target.
The pair were involved again midway through the first half, with Cole forcing a fine initial save from the goalkeeper, who then managed to better it with incredible reactions to keep out Solanke’s follow-up header. From the resulting corner, Stevenage twice cleared off the line, with Solanke and then Brady denied.
Cole eventually got his reward after half an hour, exchanging passes with Solanke before surging into the box and slipping a shot underneath the body of a disappointed goalie.
The lead didn’t last long though, as former Arsenal schoolboy Shaun Fejiri latched onto a through ball before rounding Brad Collins in goal and equalising. Chelsea might have been back ahead before the break but for poor finishes by Charly Musonda and Solanke, whilst the latter also saw a looping header cleared off the line, the third such occasion the Blues had been denied in that manner.
Osmanovic was the only half time arrival but made his presence felt immediately by scoring with his first touch a minute after the restart. Fikayo Tomori’s cross from the right was only partially cleared, leaving the Swedish midfield to pick up the pieces with a stylish low drive into the corner.
Once again however, the hosts struggled to hold onto their lead, and some questionable defending allowed the standout Fejiri to lash in his second moments later to make it 2-2.
More substitutes arrived after an hour, and once again they proved decisive for Chelsea. Nias Butungu, a scorer against Brighton a fortnight ago, followed Osmanovic’s lead by scoring with his own first touch; drilling low and hard into the bottom corner to round off a swift break.
Stevenage pushed for another leveller, one which their performance would have deserved, but a good late save by replacement goalkeeper Joe Tupper kept Chelsea in the lead. Captain Muleba had a good late strike well saved by the Stevenage number one but it would only have added gloss to the final score.
Chelsea Under-18s: Collins (Tupper 75), Tomori (trialist 75), Muleba, Brady, Da Silva (Clarke-Salter 60), Christie-Davies (Osmanovic 45), Musonda (Ali 60), Cole, Kandi (Abraham 60), Mitchell (Sammut 75), Solanke (Butungu 60)