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Villa 2-2 Chelsea

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Posted on: Mon 21 Feb 2011 A second-half display containing much to admire from Chelsea earned a highly credible draw with goals coming from Nathaniel Chalobah and substitute Adam Phillip.

In a stodgy first half on a boggy pitch, the Blues second string were grateful to goalkeeper Jan Sebek (pictured) for keeping the score down to one Villa goal, but following a switch around of positions it was a much-improved team that levelled through schoolboy Chalobah and continued to control the game despite a red card for violent conduct shown to Gokhan Tore.

However the home side, the winners of the Reserve League South the preceding two years, appeared to have scored a gut-wrenching winner inside the final five minutes, only for Phillip to pop up with a second equaliser a minute later. Both sides had earlier hit woodwork.

Villa had the greater first-team experience in their ranks although they had only played one reserve game since November, that a remarkable 10-1 win over Arsenal in early January.

They didn't look rusty at the start and there were a couple of positive pieces of goalkeeping by Sebek in the opening moments, the Czech using his height and reach to good advantage.

Fabio Borini, recovered from being flattened straight after kick-off, had a shot blocked after a good, flowing move down the centre, Kaby pushing through the final pass, but then on eight minutes Villa were guilty of a remarkable miss when Pappoe and Sala lost out in a challenge outside the box and Villa outmanoeuvred Tomas Kalas, only for Gary Gardner to stab against the post with the target gaping.

Kalas, a 17-year-old who began the season with his previous club, Sigma Olomouc in the Czech Republic, was making his debut in central defence. He settled into the game gradually as he adjusted to a new type of football in testing conditions and against pacy opponents.

Chances were well spread out in the opening half. Twenty minutes in there briefly looked space in the area for Borini, fresh from last week's hat-trick, but his control was loose as he brought down a well-measured lofted pass from compatriot Jacopo Sala.

Sebek at the other end pouched a free-kick from Scotland international Barry Bannan that bumped along an uneven surface at Hinckley United's ground, via a deflection off the defensive wall, and then made a far more difficult save at the foot of the post as Gardner's free-kick was this time allowed through the line of Blue shirts.

Even better was to come from the keeper. Nathan Delfouneso was set on his way by a ball over the top and kept ahead of Danny Pappoe. But Sebek remained on his feet and was able to paddle a goalbound shot wide.

Chelsea responded but Tore's shot was from too far out to trouble Elliot Parish, however the Villa keeper was soon left floundering when Borini beat him to Tore's up-and-under. The Italian chased and caught the loose ball but from a very tight angle, could only hit the outside of the post with support a long way off.

There had been much rain in the Midlands and the players were working out that aerial balls paid better dividends than playing it along the floor. Villa's 40th minute opener was the result of a ball over the top from Andras Stieber, Delfouneso breaking down the left and picking out Samir Carruthers for a finish.

Sebek saved from Bannan moments before the break.

Steve Holland made a switch at half-time, bringing Aziz Deen-Conteh into defence at left-back and pushing Chalobah from right-back into midfield with Kaby making way. That allowed Billy Clifford to move from a less familiar posting on the left to right-back.

The changes didn't prevent another question being asked of Sebek a minute after the restart. He answered it with a quick-reaction tip-over on Forrester's shot. Chalobah was booked for a late challenge soon after but then Chelsea took a grip on the game.

Lalkovic and Borini should have done better when Villa messed up a clearance and then on 52 minutes Michael Woods hit the post from the edge of the area after Lalkovic opened up Villa down the left. Borini reacted but put the rebound wide.

The football from Chelsea was so much better than before the break and Chalobah continued on with his useful knack of finding the net at youth and reserve level by putting the ball high into the net when Villa allowed a Lalkovic corner through a crowd. It was the 16-year-old's fourth of the season for both sides combined.

Tails were up and Parish had to tip round a Tore shot after a determined run. That was a good as it got for the Turkish Under 21 international who was sent off for raising an arm on Danny Devine during an altercation following a challenge on Borini. Devine was booked and was later lucky not see worse after appearing to catch Borini with an elbow.

The home side struggled to make their man advantage count although on 64 minutes it needed a clearance off the line from the Sala to keep the scores level.

Sebek then got an accidental knee in the head from a tumbling Delfouneso and looked in some distress and unlikely to continue, but after lengthy treatment recovered to save from the same Villa player with 10 minutes to go.

Villa's lack of matches might have been telling as Chelsea continued to dominate possession but the Blues were caught out in the 86th minute by a quick attack. Forrester cut inside Kalas and curled in a very good finish.

Phillip was immediately introduced to increase the punch up front and could have saved the game before he did but a shot was beaten out by the keeper after set-up play by Lalkovic who impressed on the night with close control and tenacity.

There were only a few seconds of normal time remaining when Borini knocked a ball into the near-post area and Phillip showed predatory instincts to turn the it inside the post from five yards out.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Sebek; Chalobah, Pappoe, Kalas, B Clifford; Sala, Woods (Phillip 88); Lalkovic (Kane 90), Tore, Kaby Djalo (Aziz Deen-Conteh h-t); Borini ©.

Villa (4-4-2): Parish; Herd (Berry 90), Devine, Williams, Baker; Carruthers (Deeney 88), Gardner, Bannan, Steiber; Forrester (Graham 90), Delfouneso.


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Yeah he had a great game....Anyone can tell me what's going on with Sam Walker?

No problems with Sam other than he is too old for youth team. Sebek is the more senior player and has just come back from injury which is why he was ahead of Sam for this game....

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