A week that started badly for Chelsea’s Under-21s ended badly as a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur at Aldershot on Friday night consigned them to consecutive defeats inside five days.
Shayon Harrison once again played the role of chief tormentor, extending his own outstanding individual record against the Blues with a pair of goals either side of captain Milos Veljkovic also weighing in on the scoresheet. Tammy Abraham scored a late consolation but the defeat means Chelsea are without a league win since the opening day of the season away to Liverpool back in early August.
Make sure you check out Dan Davies’ always-excellent match photo gallery HERE.
Adi Viveash made three changes from the team that lost to Manchester City on Monday night, swapping Kyle Scott’s more attacking style for some defensive robustness in the form of Ruben Sammut, whilst Jay Dasilva returned from Under-17 World Cup duty and came straight back into the side at Isaac Christie-Davies’ expense. Mitchell Beeney returned from injury and replaced Brad Collins in goal.
Spurs had the slightly more experienced side – captain Milos Veljkovic had a spell on loan at Middlebrough last season whilst Kenny McEvoy has spent time in League One – and looked the more assured side in the early stages. Very little of note actually happened; Ugo Ehiogu’s visiting side probed but were suitably rebuffed by a strong Chelsea defence, whilst the Blues themselves once again looked a little laboured in attack.
It spoke volumes about the contest that Jake Clarke-Salter’s tame header that missed the target midway through the first half was the closest either side had come to scoring up to that point, but with half an hour on the clock, Tottenham did manage to find a way through. Filip Lesniak timed a burst into the box to perfection; his touch taking him beyond the last man, where he was then able to square for Harrison to score for the eleventh time in seven appearances against Chelsea.
Musonda and McEvoy exchanged moments of interest closer to half time but things petered out just as quickly in a disappointing first half at least as far as the spectacle was concerned. Chelsea’s sense of purpose was tangibly increased from the restart yet their defending didn’t quite come along at the same rate, and they were duly punished. Moments after Charly Musonda had gone close with a 25-yard piledriver, Tottenham doubled their lead when Veljkovic was left unmarked from a corner and gleefully gobbled up a far-post tap-in.
A double-change from the hosts immediately followed with Scott and Jacob Maddox – making his Under-21 debut – throw on to bolster Chelsea’s attacking options, but the visitors were thoroughly enjoying themselves at this juncture and 0-2 quickly became 0-3. Anthony Georgiou delivered a cross from the left to allow Harrison to sweep home for the second time on the evening.
That was that as far as the result was concerned but Chelsea’s substitutes did offer some fresh impetus to catch the eye late on. Miro Muheim came off the bench and twice went close from the edge of the box; the second of his attempts beautifully teed up by a Gascoigne-esque flick over his man before volleying wide. He would later lash one high and wide moments after Scott had a convincing appeal for a penalty turned down after a late tackle by Cameron Carter-Vickers.
For Spurs, Harrison tried his luck in search of a hat-trick but found Beeney in his way for the first time on the night, but the home team did at least have the last word when Tammy Abraham grabbed a well-deserved goal with a guided header after a good cross from the right by Ola Aina.
It may only have served as a footnight on another frustrating night for Viveash’s young charges but it also highlights and represents the bigger picture at this level; despite the results, there have been pleasing aspects of individual development and perhaps none bigger than the performances of Chelsea’s leading scorer. As they regroup for a UEFA Youth League clash against Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday, they will rally around those positives whilst attempting to refine the negatives of recent weeks.
Chelsea: Beeney, Aina, Tomori, Clarke-Salter, Dabo, Colkett (c), Musonda, Sammut (Scott 55), Abraham, Mitchell (Muheim 59), Dasilva (Maddox 55)
Subs not Used: Conroy, Collins
Goal: Abraham ‘87
Tottenham Hotspur: Glover, Walker-Peters, Amos (Bennetts 74), Lesniak, Carter-Vickers, Veljkovic (c), McEvoy (Maghoma 83), Stylianides (Loft 67), Harrison, Walkes, Georgiou
Subs not Used: Voss
Goals: Harrison ’28, ’59, Veljkovic ‘52