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Chelsea Under 18s lost to a tough West Ham side this weekend despite Jamal Blackman putting in an outstanding performance between the posts.

After taking the lead through Todd Kane, Chelsea conceded twice in the first half but Blackman kept the deficit to one goal with some brilliant saves and the Blues went in 2-1 down at the break.

An early second-half strike from Ismail Seremba evened the scores before West Ham netted the final goal against the run of play. Adam Nditi came close to a third for Chelsea in the dying minutes but the score remained 3-2 in West Ham's favour.

Dermot Drummy lined up his team in a diamond formation for the first half before changing to 4-3-3 in the second period of play.

Ben Sampayo (pictured) captained from right-back, with Nathaniel Chalobah and George Saville lining up in central defence. Nditi took up his role at left-back.

In the holding role was Archange Nkumu; in front of him were Billy Clifford and Kane, while Lewis Baker sat at the tip of the diamond. Reece Loudon and Bobby Devyne led the attack.

West Ham boasted the better of the opening exchanges, with Blackman twice being called into action to deny them an early lead, although Chelsea did play some good counter-attacking football.

It took until the 24th minute for Kane to find the net with a cracking strike from outside the box which smashed into the inside of the side netting. It was another long-range effort from the youngster, who scored a similar goal against Crystal Palace last weekend.

The lead didn't last long though as West Ham converted from close range after the Chelsea back line failed to close down a run in the 29th minute.

Both of West Ham's goals in the first half were the result of defensive errors and both came from inside the six-yard box. West Ham were gifted time and space on the attack while Chelsea's defence failed to close down their men in the area.

Drummy made two changes at the break, with Seramba and John Swift replacing Louden and Nkumu respectively. A 4-3-3 formation saw Baker, Seremba and Devyne as the attacking trio.

It didn't take long for Chelsea to find a second as Seramba latched onto a long-range pass and, after controlling the ball on the outside of his foot, slotted past the keeper to make it 2-2.

A strong period of football then unfolded for Chelsea but the Blues failed to find the net for a third, unlike West Ham, who did just that after 78 minutes.

Chelsea were caught on the counter-attack and West Ham struck for a simple goal, one which Blackman admitted he could have saved after the game. It was the only error in an otherwise strong performance from the shot-stopper.

Nditi came closest to netting a third for Chelsea when he drilled a shot inches past the post after breaking onto a well-placed through ball only minutes before the final whistle but the score remained 3-2.

'Adam Nditi played well and Todd Kane was outstanding in his commitment and effort and Jamal Blackman had a great game,' said Drummy.

'It was disappointing we didn't impose our game, we were far too open and this is something the boys need to keep working on in training and improve,' added the youth team manager.

Chelsea (4-diamond-2): Jamal Blackman; Ben Sampayo ©, Nathaniel Chalobah, George Saville, Adam Nditi; Archange Nkumu (John Swift h-t); Billy Clifford, Todd Kane; Lewis Baker; Reece Loudon (Ismail Seremba h-t), Bobby Devyne.

Source: Chelsea FC

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