Chelsea remain clear at the top of the Barclays Under-18 Premier League after notching a resounding 5-0 win over third-placed Leicester City at Cobham on Saturday.
Joe Edwards’ side took their goals tally to 23 from their last four outings with another formidable display of attacking; Iké Ugbo moved into double figures for the season with a first-half brace whilst Jacob Maddox, Mason Mount and substitute Charlie Wakefield all got in on the act too.
Chelsea had edged the reverse fixture up at Belvoir Drive in September by the odd goal in five and the Foxes typically provide a stern test at academy level, the early stages indeed exhibited a tenacity on both sides that suggested a battle was on the cards.
Dujon Sterling had the game’s first chance when he advanced well from right-back before driving wide of Max Bramley’s goal, whilst Iké Ugbo had one bravely blocked by Leicester defender Josh Knight. There was however nothing he nor his teammates could do to deny Ugbo the opener when Maddox danced his way intricately past several tackles before laying the ball on a plate for Chelsea’s top scorer to tap in from a yard out for 1-0.
The pair combined to good effect again minutes later with Maddox this time taking the shot, but a combination of Bramley and Knight saw Leicester clear their lines. It was an important moment for the visitors too, as they remained within a goal of parity and soon had reason to suggest they could get back into the game.
Elliot Webber displayed quick feet to work some space before being shut down by Trevoh Chalobah, and the ever-busy Admiral Muskwe played a big part in a move that saw Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall head Michael Kelly’s cross onto the post with Nathan Baxter beaten.
Instead of it being 1-1, it was 2-0 to Chelsea. Cole Dasilva dropped a teasing cross into the mix, where Ugbo reported quickest of all to beat Bramley to the ball and gleefully smash the ball home. Sterling was then denied by the crossbar when he rose highest to meet Mount’s corner as Chelsea moved through the gears.
They would go into the half time break three goals to the good with the move of the game at the heart of the next strike. Mount cut the visitors’ back line to shreds with a pass to release Sterling, and although his shot might well have been going in, Maddox was on hand to slide home himself to make sure.
Surely mandated with keeping a clean sheet to go with their win, the young Blues controlled things for long spells after the restart with Leicester rarely able to muster an attacking threat. Ruben Sammut and Isaac Christie-Davies controlled things expertly from the central midfield positions and the attacking quartet ahead of them were constantly probing for moments to take advantage of.
So it proved for their fourth goal. A loose pass in the Leicester midfield handed the initiative to Maddox, who needed little encouragement to release Mount with another sumptuous slide-rule pass. Mount continued his fine recent run of form in front of goal with a calm and collected finish beyond the helpless Bramley.
He tried one from much further out shortly afterwards without quite the same success, and there were opportunities for substitutes Wakefield and Miro Muheim to enjoy themselves against a tired and weary defence later in the contest.
The latter was more involved but it was Wakefield who capped things off with his sixth goal of a highly progressive season so far, taking his man on to the outside before firing home with his left foot to round off a patient move and another fine outing overall for a Chelsea side looking certain to be involved in the national Under-18 league title picture once again.
Chelsea: Baxter, Sterling (Colley), Chalobah. Nartey, C. Dasilva, Sammut (c), Maddox (Muheim), Christie-Davies, Ugbo, Mount, St Clair (Wakefield)
Subs not Used: Thompson, Adamczyk
Goals: Ugbo (2), Maddox, Mount, Wakefield
Leicester City: Bramley, Percival (Pascanu), Kelly, Choudhury, Knight, Johnson (c) (Templeton), Muskwe, Dewsbury-Hall, Mitchell, Fura, Webber (Eppiah)
Subs not Used: Harrison, Hodby