It was a disappointing Friday night under the Aldershot lights for Chelsea’s Development Squad as they were beaten 2-0 by Swansea City.
Ethan Ampadu played a half and Jamie Cumming suffered a potentially serious injury in the closing stages of a forgettable contest in which the Blues simply didn’t find the right level of quality to impose themselves on their visitors from South Wales.
Ampadu took his place in a team that welcomed back Richard Nartey from suspension but was without the injured Tino Anjorin and fellow midfielder Billy Gilmour, recently back from international duty. Ian Maatsen continued out of position at right wing-back, and Iké Ugbo joined Martell Taylor-Crossdale in the preferred forward pairing at the expense of Charlie Brown and Daishawn Redan.
Swansea took the lead inside seven minutes through a looping header from captain Keston Davies and never looked back. They should have been further ahead by half time, but for poor finishing from Liam Cullen and Adnan Maric, while the closest Chelsea came was a Conor Gallagher lob cleared off the line by Aaron Lewis following a mistake by goalkeeper Steven Benda, while Ugbo lashed just wide with the only sight of goal he was afforded.
Ampadu was replaced at the half time interval by George McEachran, under instructions from the first team staff to play no more than 45 minutes, and the arrival of McEachran saw Chelsea enjoy much more possession, though they still weren’t able to do very much with it against a well-drilled and determined Swansea side.
Redan and Tariq Lamptey, making his return from injury, injected life into the team from the bench midway through the second half, and the resulting reshuffle immediately helped to create a chance for Tariq Uwakwe, yet Benda found it comfortable to deal with.
Indeed, Swansea were just as threatening when they decided to come forward, Maric again going close after nice approach play, and they were given a major boost with ten minutes remaining when Cumming suffered a hand injury in a collision with Oliver Cooper.
Unable to continue, he was replaced in goal by Nartey, as Chelsea had used all three of their permitted substitutes. Swansea wasted little time in taking advantage as Cullen lashed in two minutes after play resumed to make it 2-0 with a finish Cumming himself might have struggled to get to.
Almost certainly now out of the title reckoning, Joe Edwards’ side might still be looking over their shoulder at the relegation zone, for they play Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal in their next four outings.
Chelsea: Cumming, Maatsen, Colley, Nartey (c), Guehi, Ampadu (McEachran 45), Gallagher, Uwakwe, Ugbo (Redan 67), Taylor-Crossdale (Lamptey 67), Castillo
Subs not Used: Tié, Brown
Booked: Gallagher, Nartey, Lamptey
Swansea City: Benda, Lewis, Blake, De Boer, Davies (c), Cabango, Maric, King, Cullen, O.Cooper, K.Evans (Paulet 90)
Subs not Used: Shepperd, Price, Jones-Thomas, Withers
Goals: Davies 7, Cullen 88
Booked: Cabango, Blake, Davies, De Boer
Sent Off: Blake