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Fulham Reserves 2 Chelsea Reserves 2


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Summary

A wonderful second-half fightback from Dermot Drummy's side but they went away feeling they should have left with all three points following Milan Lalkovic's late penalty miss.

Fulham were well worth their 2-0 lead at the break having dominated for most of the first half. Sloppy defending allowed Orlando Sa to head the hosts in front, while Tom Donegan was given too much space to score the second.

Chelsea looked a different side after the interval, taking the game to Fulham and playing some excellent football. Lalkovic pulled his side back into the game with a deserved goal midway through the second half, before man-of-the-match Nathaniel Chalobah (pictured) headed the equaliser shortly after.

The penalty would have capped a remarkable turnaround, but the Blues can be proud of their second-half efforts.

Team news

Todd Kane returned at right-back in place of Sam Hutchinson, Carl Magnay returned from injury to take his place at the heart of the defence, while Ben Gordon was deployed at left-back.

In midfield, Nathaniel Chalobah came in to captain the side and in attack Lucas Piazon started on the left of a front three.

First Half

It was almost a bad start for the Blues, as goalkeeper Jamal Blackman was forced into a save as early as the first minute, but the goalkeeper tipped Alexander Brister's effort over the bar.

Lalkovic then went down inside the penalty area under a clumsy challenge by Dan Burn; it looked like it could have been a penalty to the visitors but the referee waved the appeals away.

Fulham were in front in the 12th minute, when a wonderfully flighted cross from the right by Bjorn Riise was met by Sa, who rose unmarked and powered his header beyond Blackman.

Blues reserve manager Dermot Drummy will not have been pleased after seeing his side concede such a poor goal from a defensive point of view. Fulham were in the ascendancy, and Chelsea's creative men, most notably Lalkovic and Piazon, were struggling to get into the game.

Chelsea's first real effort on goal came when a fantastic free-kick by Billy Clifford, who had been impressive in the opening exchanges, was met by Piazon's header, but the Brazilian's effort sailed harmlessly wide.

It was 2-0 to the hosts in the 27th minute when Donegan was released in the right-hand channel; the youngster eased past Rohan Ince before sliding his shot beyond Blackman to give Chelsea a real uphill task.

The game could have really been put beyond Chelsea's reach eight minutes later, when Riise and Sa combined once again, but fortunately for the Blues the striker's finish was ruled out for offside.

Two minutes later and Chelsea were almost back in the game; some excellent work down the right by Todd Kane teed up Piazon who was only yards from goal, but his shot was expertly saved by Csaba Somogyi in the Fulham goal.

Kane, who was Chelsea's best player in the first half, went on a marauding run just before the break but smashed his effort well wide.

Second Half

Chelsea began the second spell on the front foot, forcing an early corner, but Clifford's delivery was easily cleared.

Chalobah was slowly beginning to assert himself in central midfield, but the Blues seemed to be running out of ideas in the final third.

We were almost back in the game in the 54th minute when Lalkovic burst down the right and fired across the face of the goal, but Chalobah failed to connect properly and could only steer his shot wide.

Against the run of play, Fulham almost made it 3-0. Sa spun Carl Magnay on the edge of the box and hit his shot low and hard, but Blackman was equal to it, saving well and keeping his side in the game.

Chelsea were rewarded in the 66th minute when Chalobah burst through the middle of the park and floated a left-footed cross to the back post, where top-scorer Lalkovic arrived to crash his volley past Somogyi. It was nothing more than the Blues deserved after dominating the second half up to this point.

The scores should have been level only minutes later but Magnay somehow missed the target when it appeared easier to score.

The Blues weren't to be denied though two minutes later when Chalobah, who had been running the show in the second half, rose highest and connected with Clifford's corner to head home.

Piazon, who had been fairly quiet in the first half, was causing Fulham problems every time he was on the ball and the home side were finding it difficult to contain him.

Chelsea sensed the three points were there for the taking, but as they continued to press for the winner, they left themselves vulnerable at the back.

Chelsea were handed a gift in the 87th minute when Piazon was tripped in the box; the referee pointed to the spot, but Lalkovic, following a confident run up, blasted high over the bar to spare Fulham's blushes.

Fulham (4-3-3): Csaba Somogyi; Alexander Brister, Sean Kavanagh (Charles Banya 70), Joshua Pritchard, Dan Burn; Bjorn Riise, Ronny Minkwitz, Courtney Harris; Tom Donegan (Jack Dean 88), Orlando Sa, Alex Kacanikilic.

Unused subs Marcus Bettinelli, Mahrez Bettache, Derek Safo Tieku

Scorers Sa (12), Donegan (27)

Chelsea (4-3-3) Jamal Blackman; Todd Kane, Rohan Ince, Carl Magnay (Aziz Deen-Conteh 72), Ben Gordon; Billy Clifford, Nathaniel Chalobah ©,George Saville; Milan Lalkovic, Marko Mitrovic, Lucas Piazon.

Unused subs Rhys Taylor, Nathan Ake, Philipp Prosenik, Islam Feruz.

Scorers Lalkovic (66) Chalobah (70)

Source: Chelsea FC

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