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A victory that would have been well justified by an accomplished away performance escaped Chelsea's young reserve side on Monday night, but there was consolation in bringing an end to a five-game losing run. Only the woodwork prevented that streak being turned around by a win against a West Ham side that made several changes from the experienced line-up that smashed Derby 8-0 in their last game. Still there were places for Scottish international Christian Dailly in defence and Jimmy Walker in goal. With one eye on Thursday's FA Youth Cup tie against Stevenage, Chelsea kept regular reserve keeper Rhys Taylor on the bench alongside several first year scholars while the outfield was almost exclusively teenagers. Looking by far the more comfortable side in the opening stages, our reserves nearly put themselves in trouble however when a wayward back pass by Patrick van Aanholt led to a West Ham corner which Dailly miskicked when well found. On 13 minutes, Michael Woods sent Chelsea on the attack when he found a gap in the home side's back line with a 40-yard ball. Centre-forward Morten Nielsen just lost out in a race with keeper Jimmy Walker. On 18 minutes, a golden chance for a Chelsea lead slipped away when our 17-year-old Spanish schemer ran onto the raiding Van Aanholt's low centre, dummied by Morten Nielsen, but sliced the ball wide of the near post from six yards.0,,10268~3382183,00.jpg West Ham were attempting to play out from the back in time-honoured tradition but were struggling to find any sort of quality final ball. On 31 minutes, a Chelsea free-kick from wide on the right was played in the direction of James Simmonds who had escaped marking on the edge of the area - but he skied over the bar. Seven miniutes later, it was Woods's turn to try his luck, his effort on-target but lacking the power to trouble Walker as Chelsea continued to dominate possession. Two minutes from the break, Woods was the beneficiary of Tejera snatching up a loose ball and chipping over the defence but a strong first touch sent the ball into the arms of the keeper. The start of the second-half was marked by a reserve team debut for 16-year-old Ben Gordon, the youth team's regular left-back, on for Van Aanholt. Michael Woods (pictured), back in the midfield following several weeks out with a hamstring injury, was enjoying his most influential reserve outing for some time and just two minutes after the restart, the young Yorkshireman's enterprising run almost took him through on goal but for an outstretched leg from last defender and'Gala. Captain Liam Bridcutt then dug out a 35-yard shot that had Walker saving low by the foot of his post as Chelsea stepped up a gear from the solid first-half. It would have been too much to ask to go the whole half without the home side lay siege to Stuart Searle's goal at least once. The experienced Chelsea keeper saved well on 58 minutes from overlapping full-back Ashley Miller as the Hammers worked the ball out to the right. Jacob Mellis came on for Woods on the hour as Brendan Rodgers continued to rotate personnel ahead of the Youth Cup. The third and final substitute used was another debutant - 16-year-old Adam Philip introduced in a like-for-like swap with Nielsen. On 71 minutes came the game's moment of outstanding quality and the closest either side went to taking the three points. Stoch, who had been involved in fits and starts, was supplied out on the left and midway inside the Hammer's half with no obvious danger looming. However after cutting back and inside, his 30-yard right-foot curler beat Walker, only to thump against the crossbar and rebound out. Chelsea continued to push for a deserved winner as the game entered the final 10 minutes, Tejera's reverse pass almost setting up Mellis and Pettigrew bicycle-kicking over after a goalmouth scramble. Miller became the game's second booking before the end for an ugly late lunge on Stoch, the West Ham defender's colleague Collison an earlier caution for pulling back Tejera. After the game, pleased reserve team manager Rodgers said: 'The only thing missing from tonight was a goal and we came very close on a couple of occasions. To watch guys of 16 to 20 playing football of that quality made me proud.' The match completed the reserves' fixtures for 2007 but many of Chelsea's young players will be back in action on Thursday evening when the Blues take on Stevenage Borough away in the FA Youth Cup. Chelsea:Stuart Searle; Shaun Cummings, Adrian Pettigrew, Carl Magnay, Patrick van Aanholt (Ben Gordon h-t) ; Sergio Tejera, Liam Bridcutt ©, Michael Woods (Jacob Mellis 60); Miroslav Stoch, Morten Nielsen (Adam Philip 69), James Simmonds. West Ham:Jimmy Walker, Ashley Miller, Joe Widdowson, James Tomkins, Bondz and'Gala, Christian Dailly, Jack Collison ©, Junior Stanislas, Zavon Hines (Tom Harvey 72), Hogan Ephraim, Lorcan Fitzgerald (Ben Hunt 75).Source: Chelsea FC

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how would you rate our chances of the FA youth cup? will stoch be eligible to play in it cos he plays for the reserves?
Well we could put a decent squad together. It is under 18's so anyone 18 or under will be eligable to play so yes Stoch would be OK to play in it and i guess he will do too. I would guess the best team we could put out would be:.....................................Taylor....................................Nana-Ofori.........Hutchinson.........Worley..........Van Aanholt....................................Bridcutt...........................................................Woods................Kakuta/Tejera......................Stoch................Nielson/Nouble........Ferreira/Borini.....It obviously depeneds on injuries and the players the club want to use in the FA youth cup but i would guess reserve team regulars like Stoch, Woods, Taylor, Worley ect... will be used in the cup.
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Match Review:A London Derby was in store for the reserve side this week when they came across West Ham, West Ham had the more experience about them with the likes of Daily and Walker but it was very much a case of 2 young sides comming up against each other. And that is the way that the game started, a little sloppy and mistakes being made but some good moments of play as well from both sides to start with without either team really creating any clear chances.An excellant chance wasted when a ball was fizzed across the box 6 yards out and fell to the feet of Sergio Tejera who should have put the ball away in the back of the net but instead dragged it wide, a better chance will not come very often. Even though there was not many clear cut chances being made the Chelsea boys were having the better share of the possesion and pretty much dictating the play with the midfield trio of Bridcutt, Woods and Tejera dominating their West Ham counterparts.Another good chance went begging on the half hour when a well worked free kick by Tejera found Simmonds with a good chance to get a shot on goal but Simmonds blazed the ball well over the bar. Another decent chance came soon after when some good play by Shaun Cummings and Morten Nielson found woods running onto the ball with only shooting at goal in mind in a very Lampard way, however he didn't catch the shot right and in the end it rolled fairlly harmlessly to the keeper. The West Ham team were finding themselves in some good positions up front but they just could find the final ball and they never look like scoring.Right at the end of the first half saw a fantastic bit of play by Sergio Tejera who twisted on the edge of the box and lifed the perfect ball over the defence to Michael Woods who maybe didn't expect it to come to him because rather than hit it and almost certainly score a goal the ball sort of hit him and fell to the keeper, but the ball by Tejera was fantastic. The first half came to a close goalless with Chelsea by far having the better chances and better possesion. The bright points of the first half were Sergio Tejera and Michael Woods who were playing fantastic in the midfield.The start of the second half saw a change for Chelsea when 16 year old Ben Gordon came on to play at left back in place of Patrick Van Aaholt. The second half carried on where the first ended with Chelsea in control and making chances, another chance quickly fell to woods but this time was all by his own work he run with the ball past 2 defenders into the area but just delayed his shot long enough for the defender to get back. It wasn't long afterwards though when Bridcutt fancied his chances and rifled a shot from at least 30 yards which Walker had to get down to and save wide.On the hour mark West Ham had their first chance of note, a big scrap in the Chelsea box saw the ball popping around between challenges and players when eventually in an wide and the West Ham full back ran onto it and hit towards goal which was comfortbaly saved by Searle. This point of the game also saw Miroslav Stoch forcing his way into the game after seeing very little of the ball and comming inside to get involved. Jacob Mellis came on around the hour mark and almost immediate had a chance to put the Blues ahead, the ball fell to him on the edge of the box but he couldn't connect properly with his shot.On 70 minutes game the moment of the game, Miroslav Stoch for the first time popped up on the left Wing and cut inside beating 2 men with ease and then finding himself in some space, he knocked the ball infront of himself and had a crack from about 25 yards out which was a cracker that had Jimmy Walker beaten but unfortunately not the bar which the ball came back off. Stoch again after stayed on the left and caused a bit of chaos but couldn't get the final ball through. With another free kick Sergio Tejera hat a crack from about 25 yards and found the top corner, unfortunately the keeper positioned himself well and got the ball with comfort.A free kick taken by Stoch who had been hacked down badly was whipped into the box and fliked up in the air which fell to Pettigrew who had his back to goal so tried a cheeky overhead kick which went harmlessly over the bar, but the pressure was certainly building on the home side. That pressure couldn't created the goal that was so desperately deserved for the Chelsea boys and the game ended goaless. But this game was without doubt all about Chelsea, West Ham never stood a chance and can count themselves very very lucky indeed that they did not lose this game, a much better performance than has been seen in recent games and hopefully they can kick on from this and try and score some goals with the good play we are having.Player Reviews:Stuart Searle: Hardly had a save of note to make but he was very solid and was very vocal with his teamates infront of him, some good distribution. - 7Shaun Cummings: Not in the game as much as usual, the right hand side was very quiet in this game for some reason, but to be fair to him he didn't put a foot wrong and made some good runs forward. - 6Adrian Pettigrew: Absolutely solid at the back, was a comfortbale game for him in the end as the West Ham attack offered very little in the way of a threat. - 7Carl Magnay: Pretty much the same as Pettigrew, not a lot to do really bt very solid. Another good game, he is looking extremely comfortbale at this level now - 7Patrick Van Aanholt: Came off at half time but that was not because he was playing bad. Another solid performance at this level and did well, a couple of nervy moments but nothing too shocking. - 6Liam Bridcutt: Back to his best, did excellant in the midfield and was very dynamic. Breaking play up and putting others into attack. Played the role perfectly - 7Michael Woods: Was his first game for a long while after a lay off with injury. He finally showed again the form that last season saw him get a few games for the first team and look a real potential star, he was strong got in some great positions passed the ball around very well indeed, as good of a return as he could have hoped for, came off after an hour - 8Sergio Tejera: The boy is an absolute genius with free kicks, came up with some of the most inventive kicks i have seen in ages. And an absolutely incredible performance, pure class. He even got stuck in with the physical side. By far his best reserve team performace, completely controlled the game for the Blues and will be a great creative influence in games to come. Outstanding - 9.5James Simmonds: Did OK, would have liked to have seen more from him but certainly not his worst performance, the first half was much better than the second from him - 6Miroslav Stoch: Didn't see enough of the ball to be the influence he can be, when he did get the ball he was his usual self with great skill and vision. Was a real threat when he moved over to the left hand side. Not his best performance but had the best chance of the game created by himself - 7Morten Nielson: A fairly dissapointing return to the reserves for Nielson. never really got himself into the game and struggled to hold the ball up effectively and bring other players into the game. For the most part the game passed him by. 5Ben Gordon: Did very good when he came on. Didn't look out of his depth at all and was very solid - 6Jacob Mellis: Had a good chance to score a goal, not as involved as i am sure he would have liked to have been but did OK - 6Adam Phillip: He actually showed great promise when he came on, probably did more upfront in 10 minutes than Nielson did for the other 80 - 6

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