Maffeo OG 77mins, Musonda 90+2mins
- Match reports
- 15 August 2014 21:01
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc / pics by @chelseafc
A last minute sucker punch denied City Elite Development Squad a deserved point away at the reigning champions on the opening night of the Barclays U21 Premier League season.
Patrick Vieira’s side went down to a 2-1 defeat at Aldershot Town FC – rough justice for a performance laced with great heart, quality and hard running.
The excellent Pablo Maffeo gave City the lead with his first goal at under-21 level after two minutes and only a combination of the crossbar and Mitchell Beeney in the Chelsea goal prevented the visitors from doubling their lead before the break.
Chelsea had finished the first-half strongest and eventually they found a 77nd minute equaliser through the unfortunate Maffeo, the last person on the field who deserved to score an own goal.
Charly Musonda claimed all three points for the home side with one of the last kicks of the game just ten minutes after Shay Facey was sent off for picking up a second yellow card.
"Last year’s fourth-place finish qualified Vieira’s men with ease for the 12-team National Division One, under-21 English football’s top tier."
...Chelsea v City: Match report...
On paper, City could not have been handed a tougher first game, facing off against last season’s league champions and the side who knocked them out of the four-team play-offs on penalties in May.
It was task made taller by the number of “senior” youth players now on loan in leagues up and down the UK - a number added to this week with Greg Leigh’s move to Crewe and EDS Player of the Year nominee Jason Denayer’s switch to Celtic.
Vieira opted to make a trio of changes after watching his team succumb to a 4-1 defeat in the Manchester Senior Cup last time out.
In came fit-again Facey to the heart of the back four in place of the injured Kean Bryan, while Sinan Bytyqi replaced Jose Angel Pozo on the wing and Thierry Ambrose took up the central striker role in place of Jordy Hiwula.
Facey partnered Spanish youth international Maffeo in the centre of defence, following the latter’s eye-catching EDS debut against United last Thursday, while Mathias Bossaerts reverted to right-back and Angelino was retained on the opposite side in front of Angus Gunn in goal.
On the other side, Chelsea were able to name a more experienced XI than their visitors - a selection full of youth internationals with senior appearances under their belts and featuring a number of those who broke opposition hearts in the play-offs last season.
"They got off to the best possible start on any potential revenge mission, taking the lead with the first 120 seconds."
...Chelsea v City EDS: Match report...
Angelino’s wicked corner from the left wasn’t dealt with by the Chelsea defence, giving Maffeo the opportunity to thrash in his first goal at under-21 level via a heavy deflection off Patrick Bamford.
City were good value for their lead and were unfortunate not to double this tally inside the opening 20 minutes.
First, Bytyqi struck the angle of post and crossbar with a brilliant free-kick after 17 minutes before, three minutes later, Devante Cole was denied by a fingertip save from Chelsea keeper Mitchell Beeney.
Chelsea did come back into the game as the half progressed but Facey and Maffeo proved to be an excellent forcefield in front of Gunn, although when the City keeper was required on 34 minutes, he proved more than up to the task.
For the first time on the night, the home side broke City’s lines and Musonda was in, but Angus was quickly on his bike, racing out and making himself big, before blocking the goalbound strike.
This Chelsea domination continued until the break but Cole had the best chance for the game’s second goal before then, streaking clear of his marker on a counter-attack but his strike from the left edge of the penalty area missed the far post by inches.
A half of two halves, then, but which side would come out the stronger after the half-time break?
Bytyqi was close to giving the away team yet another ideal start to a half when he began and almost finished an inventive short corner routine but his strike was fired into the sidenetting, before Gunn produced his third one-on-one save of the night to deny Lewis Baker with his feet a couple of minutes later to preserve City’s slender advantage.
Hiwula replaced Ambrose on the hour mark but City were doing most of their best work at the other end, limiting Chelsea to increasingly desperate pot shots, thanks to the rock-solid partnership of Facey and his young apprentice, Maffeo.
In a cruel twist of fate, the resistance was broken by Maffeo himself after he turned a Kiwomya cross into his own net on 77 minutes to level the scores and, following Facey's sending off, Musonda snatched all three points for Chelsea with a confident sweep into the bottom corner on 92 minutes.
It was hard on City who had surely done enough over the 90 minutes to deserve a point.