A good Saturday for Chelsea’s development teams was completed by a stylish performance in front of a Stamford Bridge crowd.
The Under 18s had dispatched their Wolverhampton equivalents in the morning and in the afternoon, Dermot Drummy’s side were on top for the majority of the second league fixture at this level, Jamal Blackman in the Chelsea goal having to make just two saves, albeit one a very good stop.
Chelsea scored once in the first-half, Lucas Piazon netting a rebound, and followed that up with three in the second half that thrilled the fans present. Substitute Jeremie Boga, Aziz Deen-Conteeh and Lewis Baker doing the damage. To cap the display, Piazon netted a stoppage-time penalty.
There were just two changes from the side that drew the opening Under-21 league game of the season. With Nathaniel Chalobah having gone on loan to Watford yesterday, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, a first-year scholar who is back from a lengthy injury lay-off last year, was drafted into midfield. He came on as sub in the last game. Six of the side started Tuesday’s Under-19 game against CSKA Moscow.
Chelsea, with some impressive passing in the opening minutes, pushed Wolves back and manufactured the first shooting chance for Billy Clifford, who curled the ball wide from the edge of the area.
Alex Davey headed a seventh-minute Lewis Baker corner over before Chelsea had to defend for the first time, plenty of blue shirts back to block around the edge of the area.
On 14 minutes Wolves did get a shot away, Sam Winnall exchanging passes with Liam McAlinden before his effort was deflected wide by Todd Kane.
Prior to that, Lucas Piazon had threatened to make something happen as he carried ball into the Wolves area but was policed well, however the West Midlanders could not keep the Brazilian out on 17 minutes. It was his pass slipped forward to Patrick Bamford that led to a crisp shot well saved, but it bounced back to Piazon who made no mistake in slamming it back into the bottom corner.
Kane advanced at pace soon after and was brought down. Chelsea had a free-kick 25 yards out and it was very well-struck by Baker, missing the target by just centimetres.
Chelsea were in control, and were using the width of the Stamford Bridge pitch well. Baker and Kane supplied testing balls in, and the former was not far away from making a goal for Bamford. The centre-forward couldn’t quite get over his far-post effort.
Wolves’ testing of Jamal Blackman in the first half was limited to a free-kick after George Saville had fouled on the edge of the area, but the Chelsea keeper was equal to Winnall’s effort, although the no. 9 almost caused problems with a sharp turn in the six-yard box. The ball just ran away from him.
The visitors did look stronger in the final 15 minutes of the half than at any time before.
Wolves began on the front foot, Blackman spilling a Winnall cross but the danger was cleared, Saville taking a painful kick in the process when he was fouled.
On the 51st minute, schoolboy Jeremie Boga, who came on at similar stage in the Under 19s midweek game, substituted Loftus-Cheek. Moments later the Blues worked Baker into a good position but the right-winger’s goalbound shot was blocked.
Boga quickly made his presence felt as he beat the first man on a couple of occasions but the next attempt on goal was by Wolves – Zeli Ismail drawing the save of the game from Blackman.
A second goal was needed and it came in fine style on 58 minutes. The Blues counter-attacked and Baker played a perfectly weighted ball for Boga to run clear of the Wolves backline. Faced with the keeper, the 15-year-old produced a fine chipped finish.
The third goal was a quality strike as well, this time an individual effort from Deen-Conteh. Receiving the ball in his own half, the left-back drove forward purposefully and beat Ebanks-Landell on the outside before rifling the ball across the keeper and into the far corner.
Billy Clifford had prompted a lot of Chelsea’s attacks from midfield and he opened Wolves up with a pass to Bamford but his shot was wayward.
Baker scored the goal his contribution deserved on 68 minutes. Bamford had dropped deep and he played the ball forward. It was touched deftly on by Boga and Baker burst through a gap to finish with a low shot past McCarey.
Summer arrival Tika Musonda was introduced for his first competitive action in midfield but it was one of the most experienced members of this side – George Saville – who had the next shot, which was saved.
Deep into stoppage time Piazon darted between two defenders and was felled. He drilled the penalty home.
‘It was really pleasing,’ said Under-21s manager Dermot Drummy. ‘We work in training on possession with their brains working all the time and they had to earn it today, as Wolves were good and organised.
‘The movement was great and the football intelligence was fantastic and the goals were a joy to watch, Aziz’s was outstandng but we also defended well because Wolves at times could hurt us.’
Chelsea (4-3-3): Jamal Blackman; Todd Kane (c) (Fankaty Dabo 79), Alex Davey, Nathan Ake, Aziz Deen-Conteh; Ruben Loftus-Cheek 75, George Saville, Billy Clifford; Lewis Baker, Patrick Bamford (Tika Musonda 73), Lucas Piazon.
Unused substitutes: Mitchell Beeney, Adam Nditi, Jeremie Boga.
Wolves (4-4-2): Aaron McCarey; Matt Doherty, Ethan Ebanks-Landell (Jamie Tanik 76), Michael Ihiekwe, Jamie Reckord (c) Jordan Cranston 81); Kristian Kostrna, Sam Whittall, Jack Price, Zeli Ismail; Liam McAlinden (Jake Kempton 72), Sam Winnall.
Unused substitutes: Aljaz Cotman, David Moli.