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Chelsea's reserve team play their first match of 2008 tonight at Brentford.

In the return fixture to the opening game of the season, when a young Chelsea side won 4-0 in Hampshire, the opposition is Portsmouth.

Kick-off at Griffin Park tonight is 7pm with admission £5 for adults, £3 for oaps/juvs and free to season ticket holders.

The game can be seen live on Chelsea TV.

A full preview will appear here later.

Source: Chelsea FC

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The Christmas break is well and truly over for Chelsea's young, aspiring players. Following on from the youth team game on Saturday, the reserves take on Portsmouth tonight at Brentford.

Having arrested a run of five defeats with a draw at West Ham in the final game of 2007, and a performance that merited even greater reward, the Blues second string will be keen to further demonstrate progress in this latest fixture.

Portsmouth have already proved fruitful opposition this season when the Chelsea reserves won 4-0 in Hampshire in the season's opener back in August. Goals that night came from Sam Hutchinson, Scott Sinclair, Morten Nielsen and Miroslav Stoch.


Just one of those four are in the team tonight, Slovakian international Stoch (pictured), although several selections remain the same.

Rhys Taylor, fresh from his appearances on the first team bench in recent days is in goal and Phil Younghusband returns up front following a loan spell in the Danish top flight. Jimmy Smith is also back following an injury hit loan spell in the Championship at Norwich.

Portsmouth, who lie one place behind Chelsea in the Barclays Premier Reserve League South, name one player with first team experience - French midfielder Franck Songo'o.

The full Chelsea team is:

Rhys Taylor, Shaun Cummings, Adrian Pettigrew, Carl Magnay, Patrick van Aanholt,

Jimmy Smith, Liam Bridcutt ©, Sergio Tejera, Miroslav Stoch, Phil Younghusband,

James Simmonds.

Subs: Stuart Searle, Harry Worley, Michael Woods, Gaël Kakuta.

Portsmouth: Asmir Begovic, Joe Oastler, Jonathan Page, Joel Ward, Marc Wilson, Jean Francois Christophe, Franck Songo'o, Tom Kilbey, Paris Cowan-Hall, Andrea Motumbo, Matt Ritchie.

Subs: Steven Walker, Callum Reynolds, Marlon Pack, Andreas Govas, Adda Djezeri.

Kick-off is at 7pm and admission is £5 for adults, £3 for oaps/juvs or free to season ticket holders.

The game will be covered live during Chelsea TV's Monday Night Live programme, starting at 6.30pm. Scott Minto will be providing expert analysis in the studio, Clive Walker will be co-commentating and the phone lines will open after the game from 9.15pm.

Joe, Cole, Scott Sinclair, John Mikel Obi and Avram Grant will also feature in the show giving reaction to the weekend and looking forward to the Everton semi-final.

Source: Chelsea FC

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The new year began as the old one ended for the reserves - with a goalless stalemate, although the side did strike woodwork in the closing minutes.

A 0-0 draw at West Ham before Christmas had put a stop to a run of defeats for the side managed by Brendan Rodgers - and the tightening up at the back continued at Brentford on Monday evening.

However despite a tally of chances that favoured the home side, the precise finishing needed to replicate a big win over Portsmouth away back in August was absent.

It took quite some time for both sides to brush off the cobwebs of the Christmas break in this return fixture. Neither set of players, closely matched in terms of league position and experience (Portsmouth with one first team squad member, Chelsea with none) were able to threaten in the opening stages.

Adrian Pettigrew didn't make the most of a far-post header and James Simmonds (pictured) saw space to shot disappear as he weighed up his options before midway through the half, Sergio Tejera, more usually a creator than an enforcer, was cautioned for an illegal heavy tackle on Joel Ward just inside the Portsmouth half.

Chelsea skipper Liam Bridcutt sliced a shot wide shortly after and then with the best move of the game, right-back Shaun Cummings broke through on the wing and crossed low but neither Simmonds nor Jimmy Smith could apply the touch in the centre before Stoch shot tamely into the keeper's arms. Smith is now back at Chelsea after an injury hit loan spell at Norwich.

Geraint Price was booked for Pompey for a foul on Stoch on the same patch of turf as Tejera's earlier misdemeanour, then Simmonds forced a save from Begovic as the game livened up.

Joe Oastler was the visitors' second yellow card shortly before the break for up-ending Jimmy Smith with a late challenge - not the best birthday greeting the Chelsea midfielder will have received on his 21st.


With two minutes to go before the interval, Phil Younghusband, back from loan in Denmark, was alert enough to rob a dozing Ward for a clear shot at goal but once again the aim was too close to the keeper.

Seconds before the break, Rhys Taylor, fresh from the first team bench made his first save with a scramble down low to keep out a cross-shot.

Stoch and Tejera both worked the Pompey keeper at his near post early in the second half with Younghusband having missed a good heading chance from a Stoch cross in the opening minute. Portsmouth had today's signing from Switzerland, Danjell Stubioc, up front but Chelsea were now clearly the stronger side.

The team must have begun to fear a second goalless draw in a row was on the cards when Stoch's ball flew across goal a yard from the line but a stretching Tejera couldn't reach it just past the hour.

That was the Spaniard's last chance before he was replaced by Gaël Kakuta, a youth team success at the weekend with one goal scored and another set up.

Pettigrew met a Stoch corner strongly but headed at the keeper before a foul by Portsmouth's French first team squad midfielder Franck Songo'o on Carl Magnay earned a booking.

The best chance of the second half owed much to Kakuta's quick thinking, his touch playing in Younghusband but the shot from 10 yards curled just wide.

Only a margin of inches prevented a winner going in for the young Blues in the final minute of normal time. It was Kakuta again involved - crossing low from the left before Younghusband's shot was pushed onto the inside of the post by Begovic who then gratefully caught the rebound.

Chelsea Rhys Taylor; Shaun Cummings, Adrian Pettigrew, Carl Magnay, Patrick van Aanholt; Jimmy Smith, Liam Bridcutt ©, Sergio Tejera (Gaël Kakuta 65); James Simmonds (Michael Woods 77), Phil Younghusband, Miroslav Stoch.

Portsmouth Asmir Begovic, Joe Oastler, Geraint Price, Joel Ward (Callum Reynolds 65), Marc Wilson, Jean Francois Christophe, Franck Songo'o (Matt Ritchie 85), Tom Kilbey, Danjell Stubioc (Paris Cowan-Hall 80), Andrea Motumbo, Adda Djezeri.

Source: Chelsea FC

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