Chelsea pulled the curtain down on another Under-18 league season on Tuesday with a defeat to Tottenham which although unfortunate on the scoreboard more than offered plenty of excitement for seasons to come.
A hectic schedule involving the FA Youth Cup and Under-21 league playoffs has meant that the final weeks of the campaign at this level have been turned over to the next generation of youngsters coming through the ranks at Cobham.
Against both Manchester City on Saturday and Tottenham today no fewer than thirteen schoolboys took to the field, and with some seven or eight of those of the Under-15 variety, opportunities were there to be had by players who won’t become scholars until the summer of 2015.
In many ways it was unfortunate that the Blues ran into two of the finest Under-18 teams in the country; teams in the fight for a national title and requiring both points and goals to make their positions as solid as possible. That combined with the sheer physical prowess on display led to the final scores but it was pleasing to see Chelsea show progress in as little as four days and give Tottenham more than a run for their money for long spells.
Captain George Brady, the only player of appropriate age in the group, led by example and scored two first half headers to finally get on the scoresheet at the last time of asking in 2013-14. On each occasion his efforts put the Blues ahead but Shayon Harrison and Lloyd Ross rescued parity before Harrison grabbed a second to give Spurs a lead at half time.
He added two more to his personal tally later in the game whilst Josh Onomah also claimed a brace but Chelsea played good football for the most part and had their moments to respond. Isaac Christie-Davies and Kyle Scott put in tremendous shifts, as did Josh Grant and Jacob Maddox on the right, whilst late substitute Harvey St. Clair became the 22nd schoolboy to appear for the Under-18s this season. It’s a number that is unrivalled in English football and represents the depth of quality running through the ranks whilst giving plenty of reason to look forward to it all kicking off again in August.
Before then, of course, there’s the small matter of a trip to Manchester City for the Under-21 League Semi Final at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday. That match is live on Sky Sports and comes four days before the big second leg in the FA Youth Cup Final as Adi Viveash’s boys look to turn around a 3-2 first leg deficit against Fulham.
Tickets are available to buy online now at a cost of £5 for adults and £3 for concessions and must be purchased before the match. Based on previous years, this is one you don’t want to miss.
Chelsea: Thompson, Grant, Brady (c), T. Chalobah, Nartey (Mount), Sammut, Ali (Bolkiah), Scott (St. Clair), Maddox, Christie-Davies, Ugbo
Subs not Used: Baxter
Tottenham: Voss, Campbell-Young, Maghoma (Walker-Peters), Walkes, Ogilvie, Lesniak (Winks), Onomah, Goddard, Oduwa (Akindayini), Ross, Harrison
Subs not Used: Priestley