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FA Youth Cup 2011/12 Thread

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The FA Youth Cup gets underway for us tomorrow night against Doncaster Rovers.


Posted on: Tue 13 Dec 2011

It is FA Youth Cup time once more for the Chelsea Academy, and stand-in captain Nathaniel Chalobah cannot wait to get back into the competition against Doncaster Rovers at Staines Town on Wednesday night.

The youngster, who turned 17 on Monday, is already a regular in the reserves and was on the first-team bench as a 15-year-old last season, yet admits there is a hunger to lift this trophy having reached the semi-finals at his only previous attempt.

We were beaten by Manchester United over two legs last year, having been Youth Cup winners the year before and Chalobah is desperate to discover that feeling.

'Having come so close being in the semis last year and being knocked out, it makes us more determined this year to win it because it was so disappointing,' said the midfield man. 'We have a very good squad this year and we are all looking forward to it.

'There is a lot of excitement obviously, but also there will probably be anxiety and nerves among those lads who haven't played in it already. We the experienced players, like Jamal Blackman, Toddy Kane, it is our job to get people focused.

'The regular captain Daniel Pappoe is injured but he will be there with us to get everyone set on the game, calm and relax, which is how we play our best football.'

It may seem odd to speak of experience when so young, but Chalobah has also experienced an Under 17 World Cup and travelled on the club's pre-season tour to Asia in the summer. He says however that he has no problem in dropping down to youth level.

'It isn't strange. It's part of life isn't it?' he said. 'If you enjoy playing football then it doesn't matter where you are playing, the boys are of good quality.

'You have to have the right attitude and mentality to train at your normal level no matter who you are training with. That's the most important thing, to do your best every time.'

If this attitude runs through the team then there is every chance the boys will be in the fourth round draw, and they will have studied Doncaster prior to Wednesday's game. The hope is to progress into the later stages and once again enjoy the atmosphere of Stamford Bridge.

'A couple of the lads really want to play at the Bridge in front of a crowd, and it's an unbelievable experience, it's everyone's dream and we all look forward to it,' Chalobah said.

'Adi has been saying that the third round is the hardest stage and there have been a few upsets this year, so we have to be focused for the game at Staines without thinking too far ahead. Last year we started at Sunderland's training ground, and we had the right mentality on the day.'

Kick-off tomorrow night is at 7pm. Entry to Wheatsheaf Park is £3 for adults and £1 for concessions. The game is also live on Chelsea TV with coverage starting from 6.30pm.

Let's hope this campaign gets off to a comfortable start and emulates the side of 2 years ago.

Come on you Blue Boys!

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It's a shame that we're not seeing as many from that winning youth team make it into our first team as we had hoped.

But glad things are back in action. Does seem strange that Chalobah has bounced about as much as he has

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Posted on: Wed 14 Dec 2011

Following the scoring pattern of the first team's win on Monday, the Under 18s recovered from an early shock to progress in the Youth Cup with goals scored by John Swift and Lucas Piazon.

In front of 482 spectators in their first game staged at Staines Town FC, the young Chelsea side conceded from a free-kick in the opening minutes. Doncaster had few chances after that but they knew how to defend although Swift put Chelsea on level terms inside the opening 10 minutes.

The winner had to wait until the closing stages, Piazon (pictured above) finding the net after advancing from midfield, but it was a win that was clearly deserved on balance of play.

Jamal Blackman had recovered from a back spasm that forced his late withdrawal from the weekend league game so took his place in goal. Nathaniel Chalobah was added to the defence and captained the side and schoolboy Alex Kiwomya came in to play wide on the right of the front three.

The young Blues went behind with less than two minutes played, a set-piece doing the damage. A free-kick was awarded on the Doncaster right which was fired in to the near post area where the visitors' centre-back Liam Wakefield got away from his marker and in front of Blackman to head in.

Doncaster had been faster out the blocks even before that goal but the Blues soon wrestled back control of the game.

John Swift, playing in the heart of the Chelsea midfield shot straight at the keeper who had a more difficult task from a diagonal effort from left-back Adam Nditi. The equalising goal came on seven minutes, centre-forward Islam Feruz having moved wide to attack and cross in low. The ball reached Swift who finished confidently from inside the area.

Back on level terms and the Blues kept the pressure on. Feruz showed good control to take a Swift pass and shoot, but the keeper saved.

Chelsea knew by now to take care when Doncaster had a set-piece and one corner ricocheted inside the six-yard box before it was cleared, but then Chelsea went close twice midway through the half. First Swift fired just over from distance when Nditi had beaten his man and centred, and then Piazon, running on to an Affane pass, shot wide from much closer in.

A quieter spell came to an end when Affane was found in plenty of space on the left and the Swede went for the shooting option, missing the far post by a whisker with Feruz sliding in and almost turning it on target.

Doncaster weren't afraid to use the long ball forward and mostly such attacks were dealt with comfortably, Dutch defender Nathan Ake the outstanding defender of the first half, but when one long punt did break the way of Doncaster forward Patrick Mullen, he cleared the Chelsea bar with as Blackman raced back to his line.

There had been a few hard challenges going in but Nditi was first to receive a yellow card for one shortly before half-time.

There was an early threat by Chelsea after the restart when Swift wormed his way along the by line and struck the keeper's legs, Kiwomya on the turn then knocking a difficult follow-up chance wide.

The best moments from Feruz continued to come when he pulled wide and found by an excellent Chalobah pass, the diminutive striker cut in and thundered a shot at Jonathan Maxted that the Doncaster keeper managed to keep out.

Ake tested the glass in one of the houses behind the goal with a volley but clear-cut chances were proving hard to come by in the second half. Baker had a shot saved by the post.

With 20 minutes left Chelsea had a strong penalty claim waved away. Feruz had used his good acceleration to reach the ball in the first place and then he tried to slip round the back of Brett Lucas but the Doncaster skipper appeared to push him down. No foul was given. Lucas himself went down with cramp. Was this the first sign that a side that had been chasing the game were tiring?

It took only another two minutes for Chelsea to go ahead. Piazon, playing as an attacking midfielder, had been quiet in the first half but as against Portsmouth at the weekend, the Brazilian came more into it after the interval and his was a graceful run forward past a man and shot from the edge of thDoncaster, now in need of a goal, had their best minutes of the half immediately after the Chelsea goal, and Blackman had to stand up and block an over-head kick from unmarked Jordan Ball.

Doncaster substitute Evan Finnegan clattered Affane to earn a booking. A card apiece in this game had been quite lenient by the ref.

Feruz heeled Baker's free-kick in but from an offside position before the Doncaster keeper kept the score at 2-1 with a diving stop. Todd Kane's shooting prowess is no secret and the right-back had drilled one hard towards the top corner. It was good save that kept it out.

There was one final moment of concern for Chelsea when a corner was tipped onto the top of his bar by Blackman, but the whistle blew soon after to send Adi Viveash's side into the fourth round.

'It was a very tough game and the third round is always tough, as you can see from some of the results already, including Liverpool going out,' said Viveash after the final whistle.

'I was really pleased with the boys' mentality, they fought and scrapped and stuck together and a little bit of magic from Piazon at the end has won a close game. All credit to Doncaster, they came with a plan to stop us playing and for most of the game it worked but we could have had more goals in the first half, their keeper made two outstanding saves.

'There were some very good performances. Nathaniel Chalobah and Nathan Ake were excellent. Todd Kane gives great desire and drive and Amin Affane played extremely well. Islam Feruz was the best player on the pitch with good movement and he was always a threat.

'Our midfield couldn't quite get going, Doncaster won that battle in the first half, but the work rate they put in meant they tired because of our use of the ball.

'It was a great little atmosphere, a good pitch and a good cup tie.'

Chelsea (4-3-3): Jamal Blackman; Todd Kane, Nathaniel Chalobah, Nathan Ake, Adam Nditi; Lewis Baker, John Swift, Lucas Piazon; Alex Kiwomya (Archange Nkumu 64), Islam Feruz, Amin Affane (Ismail Seremba 89).

Unused subs: Michell Beeney, Alistair Gordon, Reece Mitchell.

Doncaster (4-3-3): Jonathan Maxted; Jordan Binns, Liam Wakefield, Brett Lucas ©,James Husband; Jacob McCormick (Joshua Meade 87), Harry Middleton, Eddie Wilding (Evan Finnegan 79); Patrick Mullen, Christopher Whincop (Alex Peterson 75), Jordan Ball.

Unused subs: Aaron Busby, Lewis Ferguson.e area, although the ball was helped on its way in by a deflection off a defender. There were 72 minutes played.

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Feruz, Amin Affane and Ake look really good. Piazon, despite the goal, was a bit disappointing, i expected more, but i won't judge him based on one goal. I'm looking forward for more matches to watch, this team seems be really good, again.

Agreed. Taking this game in isolation is being a little hard on Lucas Piazon, as he has strung quite a run of influential games together recently and he is a definite first team prospect in the making. I’d also single out Todd Kane to make similar strides to Nathan Chalobah’s stellar rise through the ranks. Islam Feruz is said to be ‘the Scottish Rooney’ and he certainly plays in the same style, although a 5’ 3ins there will have to be something John Spencer-special about him if he is to make the grade.

My personal choice, as a complete outsider to surprise everybody, is Feruz’s strike partner Alex Kiwomya, a schoolboy who has searing pace to burn and a really good eye for goal that must be hereditary - is it his father or brother who was a lower league striker? Anyway, for what it’s worth, I think he’s got what it takes and [yes, you’ve guessed it] whatever that is, it could easily see him end up in prolific Jimmy Greaves mould four or five years down the line..

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  • 3 weeks later...

Next round on Wednesday and it's Norwich away at Carrow Road which is a result as I'll be in Norwich Wednesday so should be able to get to the game and cheer the boys on.

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