Under-18s Report: Chelsea 1-2 Norwich City | News | Official Site

The wait to decide the Under-18 Premier League South title will last at least three days as Chelsea suffered a counterattack late in the first half and narrowly lost at Cobham.

The Blues started well and had some good chances, but Norwich’s counterattacks were always a threat. They took advantage of this to take the lead late in the first half when Alex Roberts rounded goalkeeper Luke Campbell from behind and beat the defenders on the defensive line.

However, we came out strong after the break and fought back. When Donnell McNealy had a chance to equalize from the penalty spot, he was denied by a fine save from the goalkeeper, but less than a minute later he was firing powerfully from Genesis Antwi’s backpass. Break the door.

Chelsea were under intense pressure for a period after our equalizer and so far we looked more likely to win with McNealy and Ato Ampah diverted from Frankie Longham’s corner On the beam it was all close before. However, Norwich and Roberts hit back again to score, meaning the Blues will miss out on the title today, although we remain in pole position with two games remaining.

A promising start

Chelsea took the lead, with multiple players passing the ball quickly on the right, and Antwin eventually cut back to Shumaila Meka in the penalty area, but the striker’s shot went slightly wide of the post. Antwi’s long shot then forced the goalkeeper to make his first save. It was a simple stop but we had made our intentions clear.

Norwich were a threat on the counter-attack, as evidenced by Errol Mondel-Smith breaking down the right and cutting into the box. Not only did Campbell excel in saving the ball, but he also excelled in keeping the ball.

We then went to the other end and McNealy tested the Norwich keeper from Anpa’s pass as it looked like we wouldn’t have to wait too long for Cobham’s first goal. However, it wasn’t long before things started to calm down.

We continued to enjoy the majority of possession but the first half soon became rather even with little opportunity to test either goalkeeper and this was the closest Mukhka came to a goal in the first half hour. The Blues were given a bit of a warning, though, as the Canaries began to have some fun with forward Mondel Smith’s passing.

lagging behind at break

We tried to apply some pressure late in the first half but a series of corners was about all we could do to trouble the visitors’ defense in that period and Norwich snatched the lead five minutes before the break.

It was the ball past our defense that put us out, although this time it was Roberts who got in behind from a long ball. Campbell was out of the box and couldn’t stop Roberts from getting past him, but ended up getting past Travis Achomea on the goal line.

Just like the first half, in the second half we started to move forward and look for scoring opportunities, but the last pass still lost our arms. There were some frustrating elements to Chelsea’s game, with some loose touches and oversized passes in the final third.

Pressure pays off

As the second half went on we went from strength to strength in the Norwich half and a press almost equalized just on the hour mark when Anpa strode into the box from the right to score a goal Pushed to the ground. The referee pointed to the penalty kick, and top scorer McNeely stepped forward confidently, but the goalkeeper blocked the ball with a strong hand.

Thankfully, McNeely was able to celebrate the equalizer just a minute later. Once again, some good work from Chelsea’s right created an opening, with Ampa exchanging passes with the overlapping Antwi. The full-back then played a beautiful back pass and McNeely put the ball into the net for the first time.

Find more

The right wing is now becoming a constant source of chances for the Blues as the momentum clearly swings in our favour, with McNealy looking hungry when he shoots in from the edge of the area after being found by Anpa again.

But with 15 minutes remaining it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain that pressure and Norwich began to claw their way back into the game. We were lucky that when we were in trouble on a quick counter-attack, Roberts fired directly at Campbell from a very promising position.

As we approached the final stages we still looked more likely to find the winning goal, with Somto Boniface testing the goalkeeper from a tight angle. The closest we came to a second-half lead was just in the final 10 minutes, when Langham’s corner from the left flew almost straight into the goal, but the keeper deflected the ball onto the crossbar.

a belated blow

Instead, Norwich took the lead again with five minutes remaining. The Blues were unhappy as they believed the visitors had won possession through a foul on McNealy, but play continued and they launched a counterattack. The retreating Akomeya received a through ball, and Roberts scored one-on-one past Campbell.

Winning from there now looked difficult, but the Blues had five minutes remaining to try and salvage a still-important point. We pushed on and a series of corners threatened again but we couldn’t make them count and the game ended in failure.

What does it mean

Chelsea remain five points clear at the top of the Under-18 Premier League South table and have a significantly better goal difference than second-placed West Ham, meaning whatever the outcome of the other games, our remaining two Just two points from the game are enough to secure the title.

what’s next

We travel to Southampton on Tuesday before our league season ends at Arsenal next Saturday, with both games kicking off at 11am UK time.


Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Luke Campbell; Genesis Antwi, Travis Akomeah (c), Saheed Olagunju, Somto Boniface; Reiss Denny, Landon Emenalo (Metro 86); Ato Ampah (Rio Stadium 82), Donnell McNeilly, Frankie Runham (Shaun Wade 86); Shumaila Mheka (Leo Cardoso 70)
Unused submarines: kecrampton
Scorer: McNeely 61
reserved: Wade 90+5

Norwich (4-2-3-1): Probationer A; Inquisitor B, Inquisitor C, Waylon Renecke, Tyler Williams; Uriyadje, Toby Chilvers; Jaiden Owen (Lloyd Ofori-Manteaw 87), Alex Roberts, Damari Daley (Alfie Doy 87 ); Errol Mondel Smith
Unused submarines: Henry Bullen, Gabriel Keita, Kim Stanshimbe
Scorer: Roberts 41, 85
reserved: Jiejie 58, Roberts 90+5

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