Bello Nets Hat-Trick as Blues Thrash Chelmsford in FA Youth Cup
Monday, 23rd Nov 2020 21:35
Ola Bello netted a hat-trick as Town’s U18s thrashed Chelmsford City 5-0 in the second round of the FA Youth Cup at the Melbourne Stadium to set up a home tie with Premier League Fulham in round three. Elkan Baggott and Fraser Alexander were also on target for Adem Atay and Jason Dozzell’s side.
The young Blues started positively and midfielder Liam Gibbs curled a free-kick over in only the second minute.
Moments later Town skipper Alexander swept a shot goalwards from 20 yards, forcing Chelmsford keeper Sam Kingston to push behind to his right.
The Blues continued to dominate and in the eighth minute they took the lead.
Gibbs cleverly turned away from his man midway inside the Clarets' half and threaded a superb pass through to Nico Valentine. Keeper Kingston saved but Bello turned home the loose ball as he held off two defenders.
Two minutes later, Alexander shot straight in to keeper Kingston’s arms from distance with the home side struggling to get a foothold in the game.
Town made it 2-0 in the 18th minute when Gibbs sent over a corner from the right and Indonesia U19 international Baggott nodded the ball into the ground past the keeper as he strode into the area.
The Blues, with first team manager Paul Lambert, his assistant Stuart Taylor and U23s coach Kieron Dyer among those watching, went close again in the 25th minute when Ben Wyss was played in on the right of the box but his shot was blocked. Bello eventually worked the ball to Alexander, however the skipper’s low shot flew beyond Kingston’s right post.
Town made it 3-0 five minutes before the break when Wyss crossed from the right and keeper Kingston dropped the ball. Bello forced it back to Alexander, whose first shot hit one of his own players but his second flew low through the crowd of players and into the net.
Shortly before the end of the half, Kingston did brilliantly to tip over Brooklyn Kabongolo’s top corner-bound header from a Cameron Humphreys cross from the right.
The Blues fully deserved their 3-0 lead at the break having been well in control throughout, passing the ball around confidently and creating chances.
The National League South side’s youth team had battled gamely but had been unable to lay a glove on Town.
Four minutes after the restart the Clarets went very close to pulling a goal back when Dominic Forces turned a corner from the left against the near post. The ball deflected behind Blues keeper Lewis Ridd but somehow the danger was cleared.
Almost immediately, Town broke away and scored their fourth. Jack Manly, who made his first team debut as a sub at Crawley a fortnight ago, crossed low from the left and Bello slid home his second of the game.
In the 54th minute, the Blues introduced midfielder Tawanda Chirewa, who made his senior debut at Colchester in the EFL Trophy last season, for Wyss with Alexander moving out to right-back.
Chelmsford were getting into the Town half more than in the first half and on 58 Henry Davis’s shot flew not too far wide.
Then, just before the hour mark, Ben Adams probably inadvertently sent a cross shot from distance only just over Town keeper Ridd’s crossbar.
On 64 Town swapped Manly for Jesse Nwabueze, while the Clarets switched John Thain for Aaron Willett. Five minutes later, Valentine was replaced by Tyrese Osbourne.
Nwabueze might have done better as the game reached the 70-minute mark but shot high and wide from a tight angle on the right when he ought to have cut across the six-yard box to Bello for his third of the game.
But six minutes later, Bello was celebrating his hat-trick. The second-year scholar, whose pace had been a threat all night, chased a long ball forward into the area on the right and slipped past the advancing Kingston and into the net.
Nwabueze went close to a sixth in the 82nd minute with a strike which flew just past Kingston’s left post.
Chirewa forced Kingston into a diving save away to his right on 85 with the Blues not letting up despite their five-goal cushion and Chelmsford tiring.
A minute later Baggott smashed a powerful 25-yarder following a corner which Kingston did very well to palm over.
In injury time, Nwabueze brought the ball into the area from the right but Kingston was somehow able to get something on to it to prevent Town’s sixth of the evening.
A dominant display throughout from the Blues with the margin of victory a fair assessment of the balance of the game. But for a number of impressive saves from Kingston the scoreline could have been even more emphatic.
Town got their early goal, then regular took chances with Chelmsford only really threatening during a couple of spells after half-time, most notably when Forbes hit the post.
Bello will grab most of the headlines for his goals and overall performance, and deservedly so, but there were impressive displays throughout the side with the subs also all making an impression.
The Blues will now turn their attention to their home tie with Fulham. Matches in the third round, in which clubs from the top two divisions make their entry into the competition, must be played by Saturday 14th December.
Chelmsford U18s: Kingston, Imray (c), Adams (Attwood 78), Davis, Forbes, Payne, Spearing, Thain (Willett 64), Lewis, Bevan (Howson 54), Gregory. Unused: Morritt, Woodrow, Wright, Haynes.
Town U18s: Ridd, Wyss (Chirewa 54), Humphries, Alexander (c), Kabongolo, Baggott, Valentine (Osbourne 69), Cutbush, Bello, Gibbs, Manly (Nwabueze 64). Unused: Catley, Knock, Siziba, Stewart.
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