Originally published for Quays News on 14/5/2014
CHELSEA’S youngsters came from behind to win 2-1 against Manchester United and claim the Barclays Under 21 Premier League title, spoiling the Reds’ party in front of over 13,000 spectators at Old Trafford.
A first-half strike from Tom Lawrence put United in front, but a goal in each half from Charly Musonda and Lewis Baker sealed victory for the Blues, ending the home sides’ hopes of retaining their U21 Premier League crown.
Both sides fielded players with first team experience in a thrilling game which sees Chelsea complete the double after their FA Youth Cup triumph over Fulham.
After a combative opening ten minutes, which saw referee Paul Tierney produce three yellow cards, it was United who dealt the first blow early on.
Saidy Janko’s cross allowed James Wilson to tee up Lawrence, who showed great composure to work room for a shot and coolly finish past Chelsea keeper Jamal Blackman.
United’s lead was shortlived when Musonda beat three men and fired past Ben Amos to score a magnificent solo effort just ten minutes later.
Chelsea began to assert their dominance after the break, and midfielder Baker put the Blues in front with just ten minutes to play as he capitalised on a Charni Ekangamene mistake to slot the ball past Amos.
A late flurry saw United pile on the pressure, with an ambitious thirty yard volley from substitute Tyler Blackett denied in spectacular fashion by Blackman in the dying seconds of the game.
Chelsea will feel that the title is deserved after they topped the league stage of the competition, whilst third-placed United are unable to add to September’s Manchester Senior Cup success.
Manchester United U21s: Amos (GK), Varela, James (Blackett 82), McNair, Keane, Ekangamene, Janko, Pearson, Wilson (Weir 68), Pereira, Lawrence (Harrop 85)
Subs not used: Pereira (GK), Willock
Chelsea U21s: Blackman (GK), Ssewankambo, Aina, Christensen, Nditi, Loftus-Cheek (Palmer 77), Swift, Ake, Feruz, Baker, Musonda (Colkett 87)
Subs not used: Davey, Beeney (GK), Dabo