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Town Youth 0 Chelsea Youth 1

By: Paul Holmes
Date: 04/12/2002

DESPITE dominating the proceedings against supposedly superior opposition, Town's youth team were knocked out of the of the FA Youth Cup last night.

Home > 2002-2003 Season > Youth Team Reports > Chelsea (h)

Cup rulings meant that first-team members David Soames, Wes Parker and Darren Mansaram (who was injured anyway) were ineligible to play meaning coaches Neil Woods and Gary Childs were forced to use youngsters like 15-year-old Miles Chamberlain.

Also ineligible was striker Gio Carchedi. Top scorer Liam Nimmo missed the game through injury.

Town fielded highly rated fullbacks Chris Hyams and James Davey along with 'destined for big things' Joe Lightowler up front who snubbed several clubs to sign scholarship forms with the Mariners in the summer.

Chelsea, coached by former player Steve Clarke, towered over the Mariners but that was the only advantage they had.

From the start Town's youngsters played their football on the ground and looked a class above their opposition from West London who clearly didn't fancy a cold, wet and windy night by the sea.

The combined left-sided attack of Davey, Richard Forest and Nick Hegarty linked up well and caused no end of problems for Chelsea's defence.

Lightowler was acting more as a lone striker with Hegarty drifting out wide. Although slighty starved off support, Lightowler was not put off - beating his man/men to the ball every time and out-muscling much bigger opposition.

Although no clear cut chances were created in the first half, Town were the far better side with the defence mainly redundant apart from Davey who was pushing forward.

Town came out unchanged after the break and continued where they started off. Right winger Ade Morfitt's close control and determined running was a genuine threat with the calm and collected Hyams offering support.

However it was to be a lucky goal that beat the Mariners. Chelsea midfielder Danny Jeffreys struck a loose ball low across the body of Fraser who was possibly unsighted and failed to get down in time before the ball stumbled into the net.

After the goal heads went down for Town slightly but changes from the bench brought back the hope. The introduction of Andy Ward (brother of Ian) and Paul Chaplin gave Town different options up front but Chelsea were more than happy to sit deep and defend. With the lead in hand Chelsea also opted to waste time by feigning injury at every possible chance, striker Michele Gallaccio the main culprit. Whilst a few cases of cramp were genuine the constant falling to the ground was nothing short of disgraceful.

As the full time whistle went the pure disappointment of the Town lads and total relief of Chelsea was clear to see.

Credit has to be given to every member of the team who ran and ran and ran. This wasn't just a case of working harder though, Town were quite simply a class above. It is a shame that Town are unable to play opposition like this every week who will allow them to play the game rather than have lumps kicked out of them.

Overall the future looks very bright with wave after wave of youngsters coming through the system. If there was ever a reason needed to keep the youth set-up, then last night was it.

Town: Fraser, Hyams, Smith, Chamberlain, Davey, Morfitt, Steares, Newton, Forest, Hegarty, Lightowler.
Subs: Richardson, Ward, Chaplin, Parker, Booth.

Chelsea: Wizik, Smith, Hudell, Hollands, Watt, Pettigrew, Jeffreys, Sentance, Gallaccio, Younghusband, McKinlay.
Subs: Carr, Brand, Grant, Tillen, Younghusband.

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