Chelsea 4-0 Blackburn Rovers
The FA Youth Cup
The Final First Leg
7pm, Friday 20 April 2012
Stamford Bridge, Chelsea FC
Chelsea made big strides towards lifting The FA Youth Cup this season, with a comprehensive victory over Blackburn Rovers in the first-leg of The Final at Stamford Bridge on Friday evening.
Two goals in the first-half from captain Nathaniel Chalobah and Lewis Baker put them in control, before a brace from Islam Feruz after the break was enough to give Adi Viveash’s team a solid advantage ahead of the second-leg at Ewood Park in early May.
Whilst the scoreline may suggest the home side dominated this game, that wasn’t always the case and they had goalkeeper Jamal Blackman to be grateful to on several occasions, with the England U19 international making a number of good saves to earn a his side a clean sheet.
It was a bright start to the game too, with Chelsea’s Todd Kane testing Rovers ‘keeper Matthew Urwin early on, after cutting in from the right and striking a left-footer at goal. Fortunately for Blackburn, Urwin was down quickly to his left to turn it behind for a corner.
Blackman bettered that at the other end moments later though, as a slip from Nathan Ake allowed Hugo Fernandez to cross for Curtis Haley in the box. He controlled instantly on his chest before firing a close range volley at goal, but Blackman was well placed to make a fine reaction save to keep the scores level.
It was the hosts who took the lead after 20 minutes though, when Chalobah nicked the ball just outside the area before feeding it to Amin Affane on the right. The Blues skipper swiftly made his way into the area from there and was granted the freedom of Stamford Bridge from the resulting cross, to head past Urwin into the bottom corner.
Chelsea added a second in the 28th minute and it was a fine strike to boot. This time, it was Lucas Piazon who provided the ammunition, laying off from inside the box to Baker, who struck an unstoppable right-foot shot past Urwin and into the top corner.
Blackburn nearly had a goal back five minutes later, as another of their well-worked corner routines found its way to captain Ryan Edwards at the far post. His header looked to have enough power to sneak home, but again Blackman was to Chelsea’s rescue with another good save.
With no changes at the break for either side, Rovers knew they needed to find a goal to get themselves back into the game and they had a great chance less than five minutes after the re-start, as Edwards played a raking cross into the area for John O’Sullivan. He controlled the ball well, but found Blackman in good form again to deny him with a smart save.
That proved to be crucial too, as on the hour mark Chelsea added a third goal with Chalobah sliding a pass through the middle and into space. Feruz was onto it in a flash and slotted past Urwin to put his side firmly in control.
The Scotland U17 striker didn’t have to wait much longer for a second goal either, as Piazon skipped around Fernandez before picking out Feruz in the box and he got to the ball first to poke it past Urwin.
Blackman was called upon once more, seconds from full-time as he made a decent save to deny Osayamen Osawe what would have been a lifeline for Rovers ahead of the second leg on 9 May.
Chelsea: 1 Jamal Blackman, 2 Todd Kane, 3 Alex Davey, 4 Nathan Ake, 5 Adam Nditi, 6 Nathaniel Chalobah (c ), 7 Amin Affane (12 Alex Kiwomya, 53), 8 John Swift, 9 Islam Feruz (Reece Mitchell, 78), 10 Lewis Baker, 11 Lucas Piazon.
Substitutes not used: 13 Mitchell Beeney, 14 Alastair Gordon, 16 Archange Nkumu.
Goals: Nathaniel Chalobah 20, Lewis Baker 28, Islam Feruz 60, 69
Blackburn Rovers: 1 Matthew Unwin, 2 Peter Wylie (12 Darragh Lenihan, 61), 3 Will Beesley, 4 Reece Hands (16 Robbie Cotton, 61) 5 Ryan Edwards (c ), 6 Jack O’Connell, 7 Osayamen Osaye, 8 Raheem Hanley, 9 Curtis Haley (14 Timothy Payne, 82), 10 John O’Sullivan, 11 Hugo Fernandez.
Substitutes not used: 13 Christopher Dilo, 15 Kellen Daly.
Referee: Lee Probert
Assistant Referees: Peter Bankes & Matthew Wilkes
Fourth Official: Stephen Bratt
Play Highlights from the first leg of The FA Youth Cup Final at Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea clock up a big lead.
Chelsea take firm advantage in Youth Cup Final first leg.