Youth Cup report: Chelsea 7 Tottenham 1 (9-2 on agg.)

Our Under-18s cruised into a sixth successive FA Youth Cup final as our bid to win the trophy for a fourth year in a row continued in style.

In front of over 3,300 supporters at Stamford Bridge, Jody Morris’s side led 3-0 by half-time after a brace from Ike Ugbo and a close-range finish from Trevoh Chalobah. Jared Thompson had also saved a penalty in an eventful first period and the drama continued after the restart as we raced into a 8-1 aggregate lead with goals from Dujon Sterling, Callum Hudson-Odoi and another from Ugbo.

Spurs pulled one back through Jack Roles but it was going to have little impact on the result and Juan Castillo rounded off the scoring as the contest finished 7-1 on the night, 9-2 on aggregate.

Morris made two changes from the first leg win at the Lane as Thompson replaced Jamie Cumming in goal and George McEachran came into the side in place of schoolboy Hudson-Odoi. Thompson was protected by an unchanged back three as Josh Grant, Chalobah and Reece James lined up across the defence, while Castillo and Sterling continued to operate as wing-backs.

Jacob Maddox partnered Tariq Uwakwe in central midfield, with McEachran and skipper Mason Mount supporting striker Ugbo in attack. Tottenham made three changes with Dylan Duncan, Reo Griffiths and Roles coming into the team.

The Blues left north London with mixed feelings earlier in the week, delighted with their dominant display but disappointed to concede late and come away with just a one-goal advantage. Their start in SW6 was impressive, energetic and on the front foot from the referee’s first whistle.

Brandon Austin, the Tottenham goalkeeper, had been key in keeping our goalscoring tally down in the first leg but he was beaten twice in the opening 20 minutes as the hosts established a three-goal aggregate lead. Ugbo struck first with just four minutes on the clock, cleverly getting ahead of his marker in the box to turn in a teasing delivery from James on the right flank.

Thompson had to race quickly off his line to thwart the danger as Griffiths advanced into the box before Austin denied Castillo and Mount in quick succession. The visiting stopper first palmed Castillo’s left-footed drive from the edge of the box away from danger before getting down low to keep out a well-struck drive from the Chelsea captain.

However, he could not keep the holders at bay for much longer as Chalobah made it 4-1 on aggregate after 18 minutes. Mount picked up the ball on the left flank following a cleared corner and his deep cross was kept alive at the back post by McEachran, with Chalobah firing the loose ball into the back of the net.

The Blues were impressive in the first leg but this was an equally faultless performance and Ugbo went close to adding to the lead, stretching to head the ball towards goal as Uwakwe’s deflected shot looped into the air, though failing to sufficiently test Austin.

Tottenham were handed a lifeline midway through the first period as Mount was penalised for a foul in the box on Kazaiah Sterling, albeit a decision that looked harsh on the midfielder. Sterling stepped up but was denied by an excellent save from Thompson, the keeper flinging an outstretched arm into the air as he dived to his right to keep the ball out.

It was a moment in the tie that was always likely to deflate Tottenham as the home side continued to carve out opportunities freely. McEachran hit the post just after the half-hour mark, latching on to a lovely move involving Ugbo and Mount, rounding the keeper before striking the near frame of the goal.

Yet it was 3-0 before the interval as the referee pointed to the spot for a second time in the game. The Sterling in blue was the victim this time, going down after a challenge from Nick Tsaroulla as he jinked into the 18-yard box from the right. Ugbo took on responsibility from 12 yards and he made no mistake, firing straight down the middle.

A volley from Chalobah deflected narrowly wide and Maddox’s drive flew just over as Morris’s side ended the half in the ascendancy and they picked up where they left off after the restart. Sterling made it 4-0 after 56 minutes, taking control of Castillo’s left-wing cross before firing beyond the goalkeeper.

McEachran should have netted a fifth as he capitalised on a poor kick out from the goalkeeper but the 16-year-old’s lob dropped just wide of the post, before his low drive was fired straight at Austin moments later.

In front of the Matthew Harding end, two further goals in six minutes put the semi-final firmly to bed. Substitute Hudson-Odoi made an instant impression, picking the ball up on halfway and accelerating away from defenders before sending Austin the wrong way with an expert finish.

Ugbo then completed his hat-trick, racing on to a perfect pass forward from Mount before steadying himself after a cynical challenge by a defender and firing into the bottom corner. The goal, his eighth in the Youth Cup this term, takes him to the top of the competition scoring charts.

Tottenham kept going and spoiled our efforts at a clean sheet after 70 minutes, Griffiths firing a shot at Thompson from the right and Roles turning the loose ball in from a few yards out. Down the other end, Austin denied Mount with a decent stop to push a dipping drive behind before Castillo completed the evening’s action with a low finish after a clever pass from Hudson-Odoi.

It capped an incredible evening in SW6 with five different goalscorers and a place in another final safely secured. The Blues will likely face Manchester City in the final for a third successive year. City lead Stoke City 6-0 following their first leg, with the tie concluding in early April.

 

Chelsea (3-4-3) Jared Thompson; Reece James (Marc Guehi 65), Trevoh Chalobah, Josh Grant; Dujon Sterling, Tariq Uwakwe (Callum Hudson-Odoi 59), Jacob Maddox, Juan Castillo; Mason Mount (c), George McEachran, Ike Ugbo (Harvey St Clair 70)
Unused subs Jamie Cumming, Luke McCormick
Scorers Ugbo 4, (pen) 37, 68; Chalobah 18; Sterling 56; Hudson-Odoi 62; Castillo 85
Booked Mount

Tottenham Brandon Austin, Timothy Eyoma, Nick Tsaroulla (Jaden Brown 53), George Marsh (c), Jonathan Dinzeyi, Japhet Tanganga, Reo Griffiths (Keanan Bennetts 74), Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Kazaiah Sterling, Dylan Duncan (Oliver Skipp 63), Jack Roles
Unused subs Samuel Shashoua, Alfie Whiteman
Scorer Roles 70
Booked Marsh, Roles

Referee John Busby
Crowd 3314

-Pictures courtesy of Dan Davies and Mark Sandom

HIGHLIGHTS: FA Youth Cup Tottenham (H) 16/17