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Chelsea Youth 3 West Ham Youth 2

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The first match after the Christmas break for Chelsea's youth team was decided late on by a penalty - one of five strikes in an action-packed second-half.

The opening 45 minutes had been competitive but with few chances created by either side. Then on 54 minutes, Chelsea's France Under 17 international midfielder Gaël Kakuta opened the scoring with the type of individual goal he has already exhibited on more than one occasion this season.


Picking the ball up, jinking and turning, he struck a 25-yard shot low into the bottom corner (pictured).

On 60 minutes, Chelsea missed a very good chance to go 2-0 up when a cross was met by Adam Phillip at the back post but he steered it just wide.

On 68 minutes, the young Blues conceded a free-kick on the right-hand side, West Ham won two headers in the area, the second to equalise.

Disappointed to concede from a set-piece, Chelsea responded after a minute as Kakuta whipped in a dangerous ball that the Hammers left-back steered into his own goal.

A crazy three-minute spell was completed on 72 minutes when West Ham scored again from another set-piece on the right-hand side. Swung into the back post area, Nana Ofori-Twumasi lost his man and it was headed into the bottom corner.

But Chelsea kept going and a cross to the far post that the visitors' defence were favourites to clear was attacked by Jordan Tabor. The substitute toed it ahead of the full-back who brought him down for a clear penalty. Ofori-Twumasi made no mistake to win the game.

Youth coach Paul Clement is satisfied with the resumption to the season.

'Considering we had been off for 11 days and had only had three training sessions, the players looked fit so they had carried out the programmes they had been given over the Christmas period,' he said.

'They showed enthusiasm and determination and although both teams were a little rusty after the break, the standard in spells was very good and it was also very competitive - a good advert for youth team football.

'Normally games against West Ham are fiercely competed because there is good talent on both teams and the fixture has a good tradition - and this was no different.

'After we had made it 3-2, there were still seven or eight minutes to go and the boys were very professional in finishing off the game by playing sensibly. That is something we are teaching them and something all the top teams can do when they are up in the dying moments of a game.

'It was a good start to the new year and we look forward to building on it.'

Chelsea Niclas Heimann; Nikki Ahamed, Nana Ofori-Twumasi ©, Jeffrey Bruma, Ben Gordon; Michael Woods, Daniel Philliskirk (Billy-Joe King), Gaël Kakuta; Frank Nouble (Jacob Mellis), Fabio Borini (Jordan Tabor), Adam Philip.

The youth team's next two fixtures are away to Norwich on Saturday 12 January and then the FA Youth Cup fourth round tie at home against Shrewsbury Town on Thursday 17 January.

The venue is Brentford FC's Griffin Park with a 7pm kick-off. Admission is £3 adults and £1 concessions.

Source: Chelsea FC

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