Chelsea’s search for an away win in the Under-18 Premier League this season continues after an entertaining 1-1 draw away to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday morning.
The Blues took a first-half lead through Marc Guehi but that advantage was swiftly cancelled out by Samuel Shashoua’s well-taken equaliser. In a game that to’d and fro’d with both sides enjoying good chances, it was Chelsea who were presented with the best opportunity to win, but Martell Taylor-Crossdale’s missed second half penalty ensured the points would ultimately be shared.
As always, check out Dan Davies’ excellent match gallery HERE.
Coming into the match fresh from a 2-0 win over Reading last time out, Jody Morris’ boys were in a confident mood for this London derby. Without the services of Josh Grant and George McEachran, there were starts for Joseph Colley and Juan Castillo, and it was a promising opening to the game from the Blues too. Harvey St Clair was twice off target from the edge of the box, whilst Taylor-Crossdale will have been frustrated not to to better when pouncing on a short back pass from Japhet Tanganga, with goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie doing just enough to deny the league’s joint-leading goalscorer.
A lead was no less than they deserved and they duly went a goal to the good midway through the first half, Guehi alive quickest to the second ball following a corner to head home his first youth team goal. Chances came and went for Keanan Bennetts and Taylor-Crossdale respectively at either end, but Tottenham’s response was impressive and they were soon level.
It was Shashoua, a lively influence in a free role throughout, who came up with the finish, but it owed much to fine approach play from Dylan Duncan in midfield before the England Under-17 international could steer his finish beyond Jamie Cumming. That led to a spell of concerted home dominance in which Jack Roles was only denied a goal by an outstanding flying save by Cumming, whilst Shashoua twice fired wide of the far post.
The game was still open enough to allow St Clair a decent opportunity he side-footed wide, and it was only the half-time interval that allowed both teams to catch their breath and tighten up a little bit. Still, the second period soon picked up where the first half left off and, after Cumming had tipped away a rising try from Reo Griffiths, Castillo robbed Tanganga of the ball and, rather than pass to the wide open Taylor-Crossdale, he went himself and saw the moment go begging.
A similar situation minutes later afford him a chance to make amends but he was hauled back inside the box for a clear penalty. Taylor-Crossdale, perfect from twelve yards so far this season, uncharacteristically dragged the attempt wide of the post though.
Now it was Chelsea’s turn to ramp up the pressure, with Reece James an increasingly influential figure on the right. Two particularly delicious crosses presented Castillo and substitute Charlie Brown with clear opportunities neither could capitalise on, and St Clair ensures De Bie was alert enough to tip an accurate free kick over.
Shashoua again saw a low effort skim agonisingly wide of the post before Kazaiah Sterling streaked away on goal clear from the halfway line only for Cole Dasilva to recover superbly and clear his lines. An almighty goalmouth scramble at the death saw De Bie deny St Clair and Brown’s follow-up somehow scrambled clear despite Chelsea protestations that the ball had crossed the line, and the 1-1 final scoreline was, on balance a fair outcome.
The Blues return home to host Leicester at Cobham next Saturday, whilst the Development Squad are in action this Monday evening at home to Derby County at Aldershot.
Tottenham Hotspur: De Bie, Hinds (Lock), Tsaroulla, Skipp, Marsh (c) , Tanganga, Shashoua, Duncan, Griffiths (Sterling), Roles, Bennetts
Subs not Used: Austin, Reynolds, Dinzeyi
Chelsea: Cumming, James, Colley, Guehi, C.Dasilva, McCormick (c), Gallagher (C.Brown), Uwakwe, Taylor-Crossdale, Castillo, St Clair
Subs not Used: Nartey, Thompson, Russell, Lamptey
Booked: Taylor-Crossdale, St Clair