YOUTH CUP REPORT: CHELSEA 3 WEST HAM 3 (5-4 ON PENS)
Posted on: Wed 15 Feb 2012
Chelsea booked their place in the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals by beating West Ham United 5-4 on penalties after a pulsating London derby had finished 3-3.
Chelsea lead twice, but the Hammers fought back valiantly and looked to have won it when Elliott Lee - son of Robert - scored in the 92nd
minute, but the Blues refused to cave in and equalised with almost the last kick of the game through Nathaniel Chalobah.
AdI Viveash was delighted to welcome the hero of the fourth round, goalkeeper Jamal Blackman back from injury for Chelsea, while Chalobah captained the side in central defence. Anjur Osmanovic was given the task of linking the midfield and attack, while Islam Feruz lead the line flanked by Lucas Piazon and Amin Affane.
The game began at a frenetic pace, and the Blues had two good opportunities in the opening few minutes to gain an early advantage, only for our final delivery to let us down.
Todd Kane had the first real attempt on goal in the eighth minute with his effort well saved by David Wooton, while barely a minute later the Hammers' keeper was called upon again, this time saving a powerful strike from John Swift.
The Blues took the lead in the 10th
minute, however, when the impressive Swift danced his way into the visitors' box before pulling back for Lewis Baker to fire home from close-range, and the goal was no more than we deserved after a bright, inventive start.
Baker almost doubled our advantage and his own tally for the night shortly after, when his fizzing cross evaded everybody and cannoned off Wooton's right-hand upright.
Chelsea were dominating possession and, at times, our passing game was a joy to watch, with Swift in particular outstanding. Piazon was desperately unlucky not to score our second in the 23rd
minute when he linked up well with Kane, timing his run expertly to meet the right-back's deep cross, only to see his header well saved by Wooton.
Taylor Miles then came close for the visitors, but after being allowed to advance from deep with the defenders backing off, Blackman was alert and saved down low to his left.
Affane was then handed a fantastic opportunity to make it 2-0 when Piazon produced a moment of magic to beat his marker, before advancing and feeding the wide man inside the box, but Affane snatched at it when he had more time and screwed his shot wide.
The Blues were made to pay for our wastefulness in front of goal on the stroke of half time, when Miles equalised for West Ham with a goal worthy of the occasion. As the ball fell into his path 25 yards from goal, the youngster hit an absolutely stunning effort beyond the despairing dive of Blackman.
Chelsea's response was almost instant, though, and Wooton pulled off another magnificent save from a stinging Adam Nditi strike as we looked to regain the upper hand before the break.
West Ham began the second half the brighter of the two teams and Viveash was forced into the first substitution of the night when Osmanovic limped off to be replaced by Ismail Seremba.
Minutes later we almost went in front when Kane's cross was stabbed goalwards by Affane, but Wooton somehow saved from point-blank range, before Kane drove inches over the bar from outside the penalty area.
As a spectacle it was wonderful entertainment, with both sides playing the game in the right way as they attempted to secure a quarter-final tie away at Nottingham Forest, and the 1,588 supporters crammed into the ground -with both teams well represented - were certainly getting value for money.
The Blues were back in front in the 64th
minute with Swift once again the orchestrator. As the ball ran into the midfielder's path he slipped a lovely ball in behind the Hammers' defence, and Feruz showed a scintillating turn of pace to get there first and slot past the advancing Wooton.
As the Blues pressed forward for the all-important third goal that would have surely put the game to bed, the visitors attempted to exploit the gaps at the back, and they were soon rewarded.
The warning signs had been there, and in the 76th
minute West Ham equalised for the second time when the ball was intelligently worked into the path of Blair Turgott, who took one touch before firing past Blackman to the delight of the travelling fans behind the goal.
As the clock ticked down, it was the visitors who looked more likely and Lee came close, sending a curling effort narrowly wide from long distance as they sensed the initiative was in their favour.
In the 92nd
minute, Blue hearts appeared to be broken when West Ham counter attacked, and as the ball fell to Lee just inside the Chelsea penalty area, he struck his effort into the far corner past Blackman, with a goal that was harsh on the Blues.
With the Hammers fans celebrating, Chelsea had to react, and we did, almost instantly. As we poured forward from the restart, Feruz struck a stunning effort against the post, and as the ball rebounded out it fell to the captain Chalobah who scored to force extra-time.
With both teams clearly, and somewhat inevitably tiring, tempers were beginning to fray, with late challenges and careless fouls being given away.
There was little goalmouth action to speak of at either end and, as the game wore on, the pace of both Feruz and Seremba appeared to be our most likely outlet for success.
Neat footwork from Piazon saw the Brazilian brought down on the edge of the West Ham box, presenting us with a free kick in a dangerous position, but Affane stepped and could only curl his effort over the bar.
Piazon soon carved out another chance, this time for Feruz, but the striker shot straight at the feet of Wooton as the goalkeeper cleverly narrowed the angle, and the final whistle sounded to signal a penalty shoot-out.
Turgott stepped up first for the Hammers and calmly slotted past Blackman in the Blues goal, while Chalobah struck his effort into the same corner to level.
Blackman then saved Lee's effort well down low to his right before Piazon stroked home to put us in front.
Jack Powell was up next, and though Blackman got close to it, there was too much power behind it. Affane similarly opted for power next and maintained our lead.
Leo Chambers powered his strike into the roof of the net to keep West Ham in touch, while Baker convincingly smashed his strike into the top corner.
It was down to Potts to keep the Hammers in it and he duly obliged, before Feruz, with a chance to win it, hit his effort high and wide.
Dominic Vose arrogantly stepped up and hit a tame effort at Blackman, leaving Kane with a chance to win it, which he took emphatically to send the Blues through.
Viveash, while visibly delighted with the result, believes both teams deserved a great deal of credit after a thrilling encounter.
'It was a youth game of the highest quality and I always felt it would be entertaining. There were a lot of goals and it was probably too open from a manager's point of view,' he admitted.
'Our first half performance was absolutely sensational, we scored a great goal and we should have scored two or three more, but that's the problem when you don't get a second, you leave it open and their player scores a great goal just before half time, it was a fantastic strike.
'I wondered at the break whether we could reproduce the same form in the second half, I felt if we could we would go through because they were tiring. Feruz scored a great goal to make it 2-1 but I felt we needed another, but they came back again, and when they went ahead in the 92nd
minute you think that might be it.
'These players don't know when they're beaten though and that's a fantastic quality to have. The pass from Swift to Feruz and then his strike that hit the post were brilliant, and then Nathaniel took a gamble, sometimes you have to take risks, and he got in between them to score.
'Penalties are a lottery and our boys have got nerves of steel. Obviously Feruz missed when we had a chance to win it, which is no problem, but Jamal made another save and then it was nice for Todd to get the winner. I was pleased for Kane, he had a good game, he wanted to be number five in the shoot-out but I went for Feruz and put him number six, so it worked out well in the end.'
: Jamal Blackman; Todd Kane, Nathaniel Chalobah (c), Nathan Ake, Adam Nditi; John Swift, Lewis Baker; Anjur Osmanovic (Ismail Seremba 53); Amin Affane, Islam Feruz, Lucas Piazon.
Unused substitutes: Mitchell Beeney, Archange Nkumu, Alastair Gordon, Nortey Nortei.
West Ham United (4-4-2):
David Wooton; Jake Young, Daniel Potts ©, Taylor Miles (Lamar Hurley 77), Kenzer Lee (Fraser Shaw 64); Kieran Sadlier (Dominic Vose 60), Jack Powell, Leo Chambers, Matthias Fanimo; Elliott Lee, Blair Turgott
Unused substitutes: Sam Baxter, Nana Boakye-Yiddom.