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Watford U18's 2 Chelsea FC U18's 2


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A nine-man Chelsea Under 18s side worked hard to secure a draw against Watford following a tough encounter this weekend.

In a game that saw three players sent off after 20 minutes, two of them Blues, strikes from Rubens Loftus-Cheek and second-half substitute Alex Kiwomya sealed the 2-2 draw.

Mitchell Beeney started between the posts behind a defensive line comprising Alistair Gordon, Rohan Ince, Jordan Houghton and Adam Nditi.

John Swift played in midfield with captain Nathanial Chalobah (pictured) and Loftus-Cheek. Ismael Seremba, Todd Kane and Lewis Baker made up the attacking trio.

Chelsea started brightly and soon took the lead with a well-worked freekick. Chalobah sent the ball around the hosts' wall for Nditi, who made a run and crossed in for Loftus-Cheek to tap in at the near post.

The goal was a culmination of inventive play from the Blues and the visiting side looked very comfortable but after 20 minutes the game took a dramatic turn.

When Watford's right-back fouled Nditi with a bad challenge, a melee ensued as the Chelsea side attempted to defend their teammate. The referee sent off the right-back and Baker, for his reaction.

The commotion continued for about seven minutes before the referee also decided to also show captain Chalobah red, which seemed to baffle both benches.

As a result, Chelsea were forced to play with nine men for 70 minutes and the hosts soon equalised, 10 minutes from the break. The goal came from a free header in the box. Beeney could only watch as the ball flew into the net.

Adi Viveash changed his formation to three at the back, moving Nditi into midfield while Ince took up a sweeper's role, and the side began to take advantage on the counter-attack.

There were no changes at the break but after 55 minutes Viveash introduced Alex Kiwomya into the game, swapping him for Seremba.

Despite the fresh legs, Watford would score next from another cross which was headed goal-ward. Beeney managed to parry away but the hosts' centre-forward smashed home the loose ball from close range.

Loftus-Cheek was then forced off with cramp and Archange Nkumu came on with 85 minutes played as Chelsea continued to push for an equaliser.

The Blues got it moments later, with two minutes left on the clock, when Kane played an inch-perfect through ball between the hosts' centre-halves and Kiwomya gathered to drill home.

Kane would also come close to putting Chelsea ahead in stoppage time after breaking into the box and beating the keeper only for a Watford defender to clear off the line.

'It was a monumental effort to play 70 minutes with nine men and still come away with a draw,' said Viveash after the game.

'We were very proud of the side to get that drive as a group; they really dug in to get a draw which is a fantastic result.

'Jordan Houghton, who's Under 16, was probably the best player on the pitch and Alex Kiwomya is pushing very hard to make the starting line-up.

'Loftus-Cheek also scored two in two games and has practically played 90 minutes in each of those games. It was a good weekend for the boys and I'm sure they're very tired after putting so much hard work in.

'And we will certainly be appealing to the FA for the decision to send off Nathanial Chalobah, we have no idea why he was shown red,' added Viveash.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Mitchell Beeney; Alistair Gordon, Rohan Ince, Jordan Houghton, Adam Nditi; John Swift, Nathanial Chalobah ©, Rubens Loftus-Cheek (Archange Nkumu 85); Todd Kane, Ismael Seremba (Alex Kiwomya 55), Lewis Baker.

Source: Chelsea FC

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