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Chelsea edge 18s in thriller

18 March 2014

Taylor-Crossdale and Owusu score in 3-2 defeat

Reading 2 (Taylor-Crossdale 45, Owusu 50)
Chelsea 3 (Abraham 25, Mitchell 33, Musonda 59)

The Royals under-18s were edged by Chelsea in a five-goal Barclays Under 18 Premier League thriller at Hogwood Park on Monday Afternoon.

FA Youth Cup quarter final hero De'Jaune Taylor-Crossdale scored his third goal in three games before Nana Owusu fired home as the Royals came from 2-0 down to level, but a wonderful Charly Musonda sealed the points for the visitors.

David Dodds rested key Academy players in captain Aaron Kuhl, Jack Stacey, Tariqe Fosu and Liam Kelly after they helped the under-21s beat Arsenal after extra time to reach the Premier League final on Saturday.

But our somewhat inexperienced youngsters didn't look out of place early on, keeping Chelsea at bay and creating chances of their own. Owusu had an effort nicely saved by Blues goalkeeper Bradley Collins.

The Londoners, however, took the lead midway through the half. Good work down the right flank enabled Tammy Abraham to get a shot away, and his effort appeared to have crossed the line before a seemingly offside Dom Solanke prodded it into the back of the net.

Chelsea doubled their advantage soon after via a wonderful team counter-attack. Solanke and Musonda exchanged passes excellently on the halfway line before advancing, Abraham slid a low centre across goal and Reece Mitchell was on hand to stab home at the back post.

Our heads didn't drop though, and just before half-time the Royals were back in it. Taylor-Crossdale, who scored in extra time and the winning penalty in last Wednesday's dramatic Cup win over Liverpool, showed great strength to keep hold of the ball in the area and slotted home in the far corner.

In the second half, Reading came flying out of the blocks and grabbed an equaliser. After a positive move forward, Owusu scampered with the ball towards and drilled a low strike past Collins in the Chelsea net.

But an unstoppable 25-yard effort from Musonda halted Reading's superb turnaround, as the strike nestled into the top corner past goalkeeper Lewis Ward.

Substitutes Lewis Collins and Amadu Waritay were introduced midway through the half as the Royals searched for a third goal of their own.

Despite their efforts that killer chance could not be created, and Chelsea held on for an impressive win on the road.

Dodds' lads will aim to bounce back this Saturday, as they take on Aston Villa at Hogwood Park behind closed doors.

Chelsea: Collins; Sammut, Houghton (C), Clarke-Salter, Dasilva; Ali (Brady 58), Colkett (Scott 43), Musonda; Abraham, Mitchell, Solanke (Kandi 81).

Unused subs: Thompson, Christie-Davies.

Reading: Ward, Sheppard, McLennan, Dickie, Hyam (C), Fridjonsson (Collins 67), Watson, Taylor-Crossdale, Owusu (Waritay 72), Husin, Cardwell.

Unused subs: Williams, Urbancic, Jules.

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