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Battling Blues knocked out of League Trophy

07/02/2018

Chelsea's development squad took their EFL Trophy semi-final match the distance last night, but bowed out to Lincoln City on penalties.

The home side went ahead halfway through the second-half, but a strong strike from Daishawn Redan brought the Blues level a few minutes later.

The match went to penalties, but Chelsea couldn't make their spot-kicks count, only scoring two to Lincoln's four.

There were ten teenagers in the starting line-up that Joe Edwards named.

Marcin Bulka started in goal, protected by Reece James, Richard Nartey and Ethan Ampadu. Dujon Sterling and Juan Castillo were wing-backs, either side of midfield partners Ruben Sammut and Nathaniel Chalobah.

Harvey St Clair and Callum Hudson-Odoi supported Redan up front.

Lincoln piled on the pressure from the kick-off. Bulka was tested by a 20-yard drive, before Nartey and Chalobah made brilliant blocks following a Lincoln corner.


Ampadu was the next to show some heroics, intercepting a pass that would have put a Lincoln player one-on-one with the 'keeper.

Realising that Chelsea weren't getting any of the ball, Edwards switched to a back four. The formation change made an quick impact, as Chelsea started to create chances of their own.

One of the best of those chances came just after half-time. Reece James switched the ball from the right to Hudson-Odoi on the left, and the striker cut inside and curled a shot towards the top corner. It looked like Chelsea were going to take the lead, but then a Lincoln player leapt high to head it away from goal.

In fact, Lincoln were the team that scored the opener.

The Blues cleared a long throw, but the ball was put right back into Bulka's box, and a Lincoln player rose highest to head it past the Polish goalkeeper.

Chelsea equalised a few minutes later. Hudson-Odoi, who had been bright all match, fired a low cross which ran all the way to St Clair on the other wing. St Clair crossed it back into the danger area immediately, and Redan was on hand to smash it home.

Ampadu and Nartey made great blocks to take the game to penalties, but the Blues were second best when it came to spot-kicks, losing 4-2.

It was a tough result for the Blues, who played brilliantly against experienced opposition, but they will be able to take the spirit they showed into next week's match against Manchester United's academy side.

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