Holders Chelsea came from behind to earn a 3-1 victory in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup Final against Arsenal on Friday night.
Xavier Amaechi opened the scoring for the Gunners at Stamford Bridge with a well-taken finish as Chelsea conceded in the competition for the first time this season.
But substitute Daishawn Redan levelled on 66 minutes and struck the third, after Marc Guehi had headed home a second, to put Chelsea in control of the final ahead of Monday's second leg at the Emirates Stadium.
- FA Youth Cup
- Final First Leg
- Friday April 27, 2018
- By Andrew Lawton
The first opening fell to Chelsea’s Charlie Brown but he was unable to get his effort on target after a lovely first-time George McEachran cross.
Arsenal responded on 18 minutes when Amaechi drove into the area before pulling the ball back to James Olayinka who scuffed his shot.
But the ball fell to Amaechi again who turned and shot well from the edge of the area to force a strong save from Chelsea goalkeeper Jamie Cumming.
Brown had a second opportunity to put the Blues ahead on 21 minutes but he was unable to get a full contact on the ball after a darting run to the front post.
The visitors then took the lead as a delightful ball from Emile Smith-Rowe put Amaechi away and the winger dinked the ball delicately over Cumming.
Callum Hudson-Odoi went close in the second half as Chelsea searched for an equaliser before manager Jody Morris brought Redan on for Brown.
The change brought almost immediate dividends as McEachran played the ball in behind for Redan to run onto and the Dutchman slid home for 1-1.
Conor Gallagher nearly surprised Virginia minutes later with a chip but the Arsenal goalkeeper was alert to tip the ball over the crossbar.
From the resulting corner though, Reece James found space on the right to cross and Guehi powered his header into the ground and over the line.
Juan Castillo provided the cross for the third and, when Arsenal’s Zech Medley failed to clear, Redan struck a powerful half-volley home to put the Blues 3-1 ahead.
Chelsea: Jamie Cumming, Tariq Lamptey, Reece James (c), Marc Guehi, Jon Panzo, Conor Gallagher, Billy Gilmour, Tariq Uwakwe, George McEachran, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Charlie Brown (Daishawn Redan 61)
Substitutes: Dujon Sterling for Uwakwe 45, Daishawn Redan for Brown 61, Juan Castillo for Lamptey 85,
Substitutes not used: Karlo Ziger, Tino Anjorin
Goals: Redan 67, 86, Guehi 78
Arsenal: Joao Virginia, Vontae Daley-Campbell, Dominic Thompson, Robbie Burton, Danny Ballard (c), Zech Medley, James Olayinka, Matthew Smith, Tyreece John-Jules, Emile Smith-Rowe, Xavier Amaechi
Substitutes: Trae Coyle for Smith-Rowe 62, Bukayo Saka for Smith 67, Joseph Olowu for Medley 88
Substitutes not used: Tobi Omole, Daniel Barden
Goals: Amaechi 36
Referee: Tim Robinson