Chelsea’s Development Squad recorded their first win since August in defeating Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 at their training ground in Enfield on Saturday.
Joe Edwards’ side had shown a marked improvement on the pitch in recent weeks, without the results to show for it, but a Martell Taylor-Crossdale brace and a late penalty from Callum Hudson-Odoi ensured they would pick up a much-needed – and deserved – three points.
Dan Davies’ excellent match gallery is available HERE.
The Blues would have arrived at Hotspur Way knowing that they were facing Erik Lamela whilst themselves being deprived of the services of Dujon Sterling and Ethan Ampadu, but they took to their task superbly in a steady lunchtime drizzle and were ahead inside two minutes. A quickly-taken corner caught Tottenham napping and allowed Kyle Scott, making his first appearance of the season, to square for Taylor-Crossdale to squeeze home at the near post.
Eager attacking pressing then saw Jacob Maddox win back possession high up the pitch but the 3-on-1 break, led by Ruben Sammut, ultimately came to nothing as Harvey St Clair’s shot was blocked behind for a corner.
That was a significant moment in itself as, instead of staring at a two-goal deficit, Tottenham managed to get themselves back on terms shortly afterwards. Chelsea turned the ball over in midfield, allowing Marcus Edwards to feed Shayon Harrison, and the Tottenham number nine continued his tremendous scoring record against the Blues with a deflected strike beyond Jamie Cumming.
A wide-open first half continued to swing from end to end; Edwards curled a free kick inches wide before Cumming got fingertips to a Lamela scorcher that appeared destined for the top corner, but Chelsea were keenly involved top and Hudson-Odoi, who had penned his first professional contract twenty-four hours earlier, was close with a curling effort of his own.
St Clair’s industry down the right was a constant menace to Tottenham and he almost played Maddox in before Tottenham took their turn to threaten; Shilow Tracey testing Cumming’s handling in the wet conditions before then muscling his way into scoring position only for Reece James to make a timely intervention. With Keanan Bennetts clearing off the line from St Clair, it was to everyone’s surprise that the two teams retired to the dressing rooms at half time with the scoreline only 1-1.
Taylor-Crossdale soon changed that early in the second half with his second of the day, a near-post header after more good play down the right by St Clair. That gave the visitors a platform upon which to begin to establish some control, and they did so effectively, with Scott and increasingly integral figure in midfield alongside the dependable Ruben Sammut.
Second half chances were few and far between by comparison, testament to Chelsea’s ability to manage their advantage, and those that did come along were all theirs. Reece James drove high and wide from distance and substitute Luke McCormick was unable to beat Alfie Whiteman after Spurs again lost the ball in their own end, but McCormick was to play a key role in the third goal in the first minute of stoppage time.
Hudson-Odoi led a counter attack down the right and squared perfectly for McCormick, who had only Whiteman to beat, but he was fouled in the process of doing so, and a penalty was duly awarded. Hudson-Odoi took the responsibility upon himself and duly sent Whiteman the wrong way to make it 3-1, a moment all the more significant for the fact that Kazaiah Sterling pulled one back with a looping header that neither Cumming nor Josh Grant could keep out, but it was too little, too late as Chelsea held on to a 3-2 victory.
Tottenham Hotspur: Whiteman, Marsh, Bennetts (Maghoma 63), Skipp, Tanganga, Lyons-Foster, Tracey, Amos (c), Harrison, Edwards (Sterling 75), Lamela (Pritchard 60)
Subs not Used: Loft, Austin
Goals: Harrison 11, Sterling 90+4
Booked: Pritchard, Whiteman
Chelsea: Cumming, James, Chalobah, Clarke-Salter (c), Grant, Scott, St Clair, Sammut, Taylor-Crossdale (C. Dasilva 88), Maddox (McCormick 66), Hudson-Odoi
Subs not Used: K.Hazard, Bułka, Colley
Goals: Taylor-Crossdale 2, 53, Hudson-Odoi 90+1 (pen)
Booked: Chalobah, Sammut