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Chelsea Youth 2 - 2 Crewe Alexandra Youth


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Chelsea's youth team came back from a two-goal deficit today (Thursday) to secure one point in the first league game of the season. Second half goals from Jacopo Sala and Ben Gordon allowed for a score-line more symbolic of the game which unfolded on the Academy's new pitch at Cobham.

The Blues had controlled the first half and were unlucky to concede a goal before the break but came back in the second to secure the draw and a point from the fixture.

The team included former schoolboy Sala, with new additions Aldi Haxhia and Thomas Hayden on the bench.

Niclas Heimann started between the posts while Daniel Philliskirk, who was playing in the centre-back role, wore the captain's armband.

The game began with Ben Gordon showing Chelsea's intent as he twice broke into the box and forced Crewe keeper Charlie Ager to knock the ball out for corners, the first was a fruitless attempt at goal while the second saw Sala's on target header punched away from danger.

Michael Woods was the next Blue to make a cutting run down the centre of the field before sending a pass into the box which missed Fabio Borini by a matter of inches.

By the half hour mark Chelsea were in control of the game, Jordan Tabor, Thomas Taiwo and Jack Saville had all come close to breaking the deadlock while Heimann had blocked two direct shots on goal.

But five minutes later Crewe were in the lead after Heimann dived low to block a Kevin Mellor shot only for the deflection to bounce into the path of Lewis Davenport, who smashed the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the box.

Seconds after the restart Davenport had sent another shot into the arms of Heimann, but Chelsea were soon to retaliate. Borini broke down the right before cutting inside and launching a shot from the edge of the box, only for the ball to skim the edge of the post as it headed wide.

The game evened out as the first half drew to a close, with a Tabor attempt at lobbing Ager, which flew high, being the closest chance on goal before the whistle blew.

There was one change during the break, with Hayden coming on to replace Jordan Hibbert in midfield, and from the restart Chelsea were looking strong.

Woods took Ager by surprise by sending a shot screaming towards goal from 25 yards before Sala and Borini paired up well on the right to trouble the keeper even more.

It was Sala who came closest to scoring during this period of Chelsea pressure when Borini won a freekick from 25 yards out and the former schoolboy sent a shot curling inches over the bar.

But despite the pressure, Crewe increased their lead against the run of play in the 61st minute when Mellor belted the ball beyond the line from close range after confusion reigned inside the Chelsea box from a Crewe corner.

It was a sloppy goal and one that seemed to rile the Blues into action.

Within minutes of the restart Borini had won another freekick from 25 yards out, reminiscent of the one which had taken place earlier. But this time Sala was on hand to curl the ball into the left corner to secure Chelsea's first goal of the game in the 71st minute.

Four minutes later Chelsea had equalised after a Borini shot was deflected for a corner. Tabor's cross then found Nikki Ahmed's feet before the right-back calmly slotted the ball past Ager to make it 2-2.

As the game drew to a close, Sala and Borini were still pairing up well on the right, with the best opportunity resulting in a cross to Ahmed in the box. But the ball flew inches beyond the right-back's reach and out for a goal kick.

Sala then troubled Ager once more as he broke into the box and launched a powerful shot into the keeper's arms; Gordon then followed up to smash the rebound goal-ward only to see the ball defected for a fruitless corner.

The game finished 2-2, despite the Blues controlling most of the possession, but with a two-goal comeback, the Academy earned the point from today's fixture.

'It was a good comeback but it is disappointing to go two-nil down,' said Paul Clement, Academy Coach.

'It was the first game of the season and we wanted to win and get a good start in the league to improve on our possession from last year.

'Although we did finish strong and even had a chance to win it at the death, overall it was not a performance we can be too pleased with.

'The start of the first half and in the second we were in control, but we ended up chasing the game after going two-nil down, because of our mistakes, but once we started attacking they couldn't handle us,' he added.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Heimann; Ahmed, Philliskirk ©, Saville, Gordon; Taiwo, Hibbert (Hayden h-t), Woods; Sala, Borini, Tabor.

Source: Chelsea FC

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