Chelsea’s Under-18s bounced back from defeat to Southampton last time out to record a resounding 5-0 victory over Swansea City at Cobham on Friday afternoon.
The Blues were made to work for their reward on a swelteringly hot August day as they faced a determined Swans rearguard but, after Martell Taylor-Crossdale finally broke through with an early second half penalty, they were well on their way. Further strikes from Harvey St Clair, Taylor-Crossdale again, Luke McCormick and substitute Charlie Brown ensured Jody Morris’ side matched last season’s tally against the South Welsh side.
Morris had gone into the match hoping to see a response from his young charges after a disappointing outing on the South Coast, and was able to welcome back Taylor-Crossdale in attack as well as Nathan Baxter in goal. With winger Juan Castillo deployed at full-back and schoolboy forward Callum Hudson-Odoi afforded a first Under-18 start, it was an attacking team selection and one that quickly set about righting some wrongs.
However, although they controlled significant portions of the first half, they couldn’t find a way through the visiting defence. Swansea had set themselves up to be hard to break down and, although they offered scant little by way of an attacking threat, they were in with a shout as long as they were able remain on terms.
Chelsea were perhaps a little slow in first half possession, coming closest when a clearance bounced back off Tariq Uwakwe and onto the woodwork, but it was otherwise a case of blocked shots and half-chances – one from St Clair was very well saved by Ross Treacy – until close to the break, when Hudson-Odoi linked well with Jacob Maddox to lay on an open goal for Taylor-Crossdale, only for the young striker to slice uncharacteristically wide.
Swansea’s most dangerous moment came when Keiran Evans carried the ball into the area from a deep position before bobbling a shot just wide, but that was really as good as it was going to get for them. When full-back Joe Lewis clumsily tripped Hudson-Odoi in the box two minutes into the second half, the game was as good as over as Taylor-Crossdale confidently beat Treacy from the penalty spot to set the ball rolling for the eventual final score.
The lead was doubled three minutes later when a turnover in possession saw blue shirts flood forwards ominously, allowing Maddox to unselfishly give St Clair a simple finish for his third of the season. Jordan Jones then had the ball in the net at the other end but it was ruled out for offside and proved little more than a momentary interlude in Chelsea’s dominance.
Treacy did well to keep St Clair from extending the lead yet further but couldn’t do the same to deny Taylor-Crossdale as he powered home from McCormick’s cross after the midfielder latched onto a ball in behind.
McCormick himself made it 4-0 after good work on the right from Reece James gave him time and space to pick his spot from eight yards out and, at this stage, it almost became a procession. Castillo worked Treacy once again with a curling effort before Brown, not long on as a sub himself, rounded things off with a deft touch applied to St Clair’s cutback to make it 5-0.
Brown and James could each have added further gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time but neither could convert their clear one-on-one opportunities, and it was a generally pleasing way to react to their first defeat of the a season. They now have a fortnight’s wait before returning to league action away to Norwich, whilst Adi Viveash’s Development Squad will look to build on Monday’s win over Liverpool when they head to Manchester United this Sunday in a match you can watch live on Chelsea TV.
Chelsea: Baxter, C.Dasilva, Grant (c), Nartey, Castillo, McCormick, Hudson-Odoi (James), Uwakwe (Gallagher), Taylor-Crossdale, Maddox (C.Brown), St Clair
Subs not Used: Cumming, Medley
Goals: Taylor-Crossdale (2), St Clair, McCormick, C.Brown
Swansea City: Treacy, Davies, Lewis, J. Jones, Jefferies, Cabango, Darame (Price), Dulca, Cullen, K. Evans (O.Cooper), Blake (Edwards)
Subs not Used: Fox, Lang