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Chelsea Reserves 3 Norwich Reserves 0


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Summary

The second string returned to winning ways with a classy display despite playing the majority of the game with just 10 men.

The Blues, who ended a run of four straight defeats, were 1-0 up when defender Rohan Ince was dismissed late in the first half but managed to add two more goals in a second half they dominated. Milan Lalkovic (pictured above) helped himself to his second of the game and centre-forward Marko Mitrovic completed the scoring.

Bottom-placed Norwich can point to two shots against the Chelsea woodwork but it was a deserved three points taken from the afternoon fixture at Cobham.

Team news

Sam Hutchinson returned from injury to take over at right-back from Todd Kane who along with Nathaniel Chalobah, has been called up by England Under 19s. Rohan Ince came into central defence with Ryan Bertrand stepping down from the first team squad to play left-back. With Conor Clifford now on loan at Yeovil, midfielder Jacob Mellis's recovery from injury was well timed.

First half

In an opening 45 minutes with few opportunities at either end, Chelsea's first chance was scooped wide by Kaby when the ball broke his way in the box after a Chelsea attack had initially been repelled.

Milan Lalkovic later warmed the keeper's hands but the angle of the shot was always against him before midway through the half, Mellis switched the play out to the right for Lalkovic to win a corner. A short-taken routine didn't come off but the advance had shown Chelsea did offer something on the counter-attack, and it was in such fashion that Dermot Drummy's side took the lead on 28 minutes.

Jacob Mellis raced into space down the left wing as Ben Gordon passed forward from his own half and Mellis found the pace on his low centre for it to make it as far as Lalkovic. The Slovakian Under 21 turned it into the net at the far post.

All was now going smoothly but then on 36 minutes the dismissal of ince threw a spanner in the works. The big defender found himself in a sprint race with the nippy Jamar Lozo and was whistled up for what was judged a tug on the Norwich no.9. The way the referee sprinted to the scene did not auger well and the red card was duly shown.

Chelsea defended the initial free-kick but then Norwich won another five yards further forward from which their skipper George Francomb cleared the wall with his effort but hit the bar.

That was with seven minutes left to play, a closing spell that saw no more attempts at the target. George Saville was now playing in central defence.

Second half

Chelsea certainly didn't look like a side at a man disadvantage six minutes after the restart as well-crafted second goal was scored. Kaby was the architect who passed for Lalkovic to use his pace to find space on the right of the area before netting back past a keeper whose weight was taking him the other way.

Norwich hit the bar again 11 minutes into the half, this time with an open play shot but the Blues continued to boss the play. Mitrovic might have scored after Hutchinson had carried the ball into the area.

Midway through the half, Bertrand powered a header just over the bar from a Billy Clifford corner before on 69 minutes, Clifford was the provider for Marko Mitrovic to produce an accomplished finish to make it 3-0.

There were more and more classy touches from the Blues now the game was all but won and Mellis gave substitute Philipp Prosenik the opportunity to make his mark but the Austrian fired against the Canaries' keeper. Kaby then dived to head a Lalkovic cross just wide.

The manager

Reserve team manager Dermot Drummy said: 'It was good discipline by the boys. I didn't think it was a sending off and it was unfortunate for Rohan as he was playing as well as he has done since coming back into the reserves.

'We controlled the game and Jacob and Billy in midfield were really good. Norwich to be fair to them were a young side but we tried to play the right way so the attitude was great.

'We kept our tactical discipline in the second half and we broke well and scored a wonder goal - a great bit of skill from Kaby and Milan finished it off. It was great for Marko to get a goal as well.

'4-4-1 is quite an easy system to play because you have your clear jobs. We don't practice it but they applied themselves really well and Sam Hutchinson communicated fantastically. It makes a difference when you have a talker.

'Ryan Bertrand asked to play because he needs minutes and that is great when he performs like that. It was tough on Aziz Deen-Conteh making way because he played well at West Brom but when we need to do something for the first team, that is what we do.'

Chelsea (4-3-3): Rhys Taylor; Sam Hutchinson ©, Rohan Ince, Ben Gordon, Ryan Bertrand; Billy Clifford, George Saville, Jacob Mellis; Milan Lalkovic, Marko Mitrovic (Philipp Prosenik 80), Kaby Djalo (Aziz Deen-Conteh 88).

Unused subs James Russell, Adam Nditi, Islam Feruz.

Norwich (4-4-2): Jed Steer; Harry Barker, George Francomb © (Kyle McFadden 53), Taylor McKenzie, Harry Tofolo (Jason Dobbs 58); Dean Florence, Matthew Ball, Richard Brindley (Michael Clunan 6), Sam Kelly Reece Hall-Johnson, Jamar Loza.

Unused subs Remi Matthews, Josh Murphy.

Source: Chelsea FC

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