Ed Brand and his boys got off to a good start to their Under-18 Premier League campaign as an early goal from Leo Castledine was enough to take the three points.
It was a sunny day at the Arsenal training center as our U18 national team started the season away.
Ed Brand’s line-up consisted of a handful of first-year Scholars, some of whom were having their first experience of youth team football.
It was a very quick start from our young Blues as Captain Castledine pounced on a loose clearance from the Arsenal keeper. The midfielder caught himself in mid-park and lulled into the empty goal to put us ahead in under five minutes.
Despite the goal, the next 20 minutes of play were controlled by the home side as they missed a number of equalizer opportunities. On our end, a loft attempt by Tyrique George landed just over the bar.
We remained resolute on defense with the back four of Somto Boniface, Travis Akomeah, Harrison Murray-Campbell and Brodi Hughes kept busy throughout the competition.
As the game progressed, our young blues tried to find a clear line, got into dangerous positions, but couldn’t find the last pass.
Donnell McNeilly had the best chance of the second period with a nice spin and finish well saved by backup goalkeeper Alexei Fedorushchenko.
It was the young Gunners who pushed hard for the equalizer in the game but couldn’t unleash our strong defence. Castledine had an opportunity to put the game out of range with a second, but his shot at the swivel was saved by the Arsenal shot stopper at close range.
Although the home side were in need of a goal, Brand’s boys looked the closest to scoring another late goal, with Frankie Runham’s shot being saved by the Arsenal keeper’s right foot.
Our U18 side will be back in action next weekend as they play their first home game of the season against Leicester City Saturday August 20th. Before that, the development team is hosting Fulham at Kingsmeadow on Monday nights, and you can still buy tickets online from just £3.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Ted Curd; Brodie Hughes, Harrison Murray-Campbell, Travis Akomeah (Noah Hay 78), Somto Boniface; Kiano Dyer, Harrison McMahon; Leo Castledine (c), Tyrique George (Sam Rak-Sakyi. 78), Ato Ampah (Michael Golding 63); Donnell McNeilly (Frankie Runham 63).
Unused substitutes: Max Merrick.
Scorers: Leo Castledine 4.
Booked: Harrison McMahon 57.
Arsenal (4-3-3): Alex Kovacevic (Alexei Fedorushchenko 40); Josh Nichols, Tino Quamina, Maldini Kacurri, Elian Quesada (Luis Brown 75); Michal Rosiak, Bradley Ibrahim, Ethan Nwaneri; Amario Cozier-Duberry, Omari Benjamin (Romari Forde, Seb Ferdinand (Harrison Dudziak 66).
Unused Subs: Cody Small.
Booked: Maldini Kacurri 58.