Tuesday 07 January 2014
Nathan Ake scored the winning goal as Dermot Drummy's Chelsea side reached the last eight of the inaugural Under-21 Premier League Cup with a 2-1 victory over West Ham United in windswept conditions at Aldershot.
"We were worthy winners and I've said to the boys it is a nice trait to keep winning"
Chelsea took the lead after only six minutes when striker Isaiah Brown received Lewis Baker's pass, cut inside and thumped a fierce, low strike past Sam Howes for his eighth goal of the season.
With so many Under-21 players involved in West Ham United's FA Cup third round defeat by Nottingham Forest on Sunday, Steve Potts and Tony Carr deployed a side consisting wholly of the club's U18 contingent but the young Hammers responded well to the setback and were level on 13 minutes.
Jerry Amoo's enterprising burst from right-back created the danger and his low centre was spilled into his own net by Mitchell Beeney after the ball deflected off Adam Nditi.
The visitors soon extended their lead, however, as Blues captain Ake raced on to an excellent through-ball from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, before firing what proved to be the 24th-minute winner across into the far bottom corner of the net for his second goal of the campaign.
Chelsea might have extended their lead in the second half through Brown, Baker and John Swift but Howes, deputising for Jamal Blackman, gave an inspired performance in goal as the Hammers acquitted themselves well in trying conditions.
"Well done to [Chelsea head groundsman] Jason Griffin and the Aldershot staff for getting this game on," Drummy told Chelsea's website. "We needed the match because we did give the lads, especially the foreign players, a good break at Christmas and no matter what training you do, it is nothing like going through a game.
"It was a cup tie and we won it so we are pleased with that but compliments to West Ham, they had a good game plan and their goalkeeper made some outstanding saves. If you look on the balance of chances we were worthy winners and I've said to the boys it is a nice trait to keep winning."
West Ham report | Chelsea report
After knocking out Crystal Palace and Southampton in previous rounds Exeter City are hoping to continue their giant-killing run at home top Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday evening. Tickets for adults and the over-60s cost £7 with under-18s and students admitted for £3. For further details read here.
Friday 20 December
Everton (Long 2) 2-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 (Bancessi, Zeli, Kostrna)
Sunday 22 December
Manchester City (Fofana, Cole) 2-0 West Bromwich Albion Read report >>
Monday 23 December
Newcastle United (Armstrong 2) 2-1 Leicester City (Dawson)
Burnley (Howieson, Gilchrist, Frost) 3-0 Bolton Wanderers
Reading P-P Watford
Monday 7 January
West Ham United (Beeney OG) 1-2 Chelsea (Brown, Ake)
Exeter City v Blackburn Rovers, 7pm, St James' Park Ticket details >>
Find out the full Barclays Under-21 fixture list here and view the table here.
To discover the Under-21 Premier League Cup draw, click here.