Blackburn 1-0 Chelsea (Agg 1-4): Visitors win FA Youth Cup despite Payne-inspired defeat in second leg

The hosts cruised to an impressive victory, fully deserving to beat the Stamford Bridge starlets without ever threatening to overturn the four-goal aggregate deficit
Chelsea lifted the FA Youth Cup for the second time in three years with a 4-1 aggregate win over Blackburn, despite losing the second leg 1-0 at Ewood Park on Wednesday night.

Adi Viveash’s side held a 4-0 aggregate lead after a great performance at Stamford Bridge, but they produced no such form away from home, consistently passing poorly.

The winner on the night was scored by Tim Payne after some good work from John O’Sullivan and Hugo Fernandez, but the hosts were unable to capitalise on a host of other chances.

The home side made four changes from the first leg, with Kellen Daly, Bradley Mason, Robbie Cotton and Payne coming in for William Beesley, Curtis Haley, Osayamen Osawe and Reece Hands.

Chelsea made just two changes from their comfortable win as Adam Nditi and Nathan Ake missed out to be replaced by Archange Nkumu and Alastair Gordon.

During a scrappy opening, Chelsea looked the better side as they knocked the ball around confidently and with elegance, soon almost carving open the first chance.

However, when Islam Feruz was played through by John Swift, Matthew Urwin in the Rovers goal just beat the rapid attacker to the ball.

The home team managed to get themselves a foothold in the match as they pressured their visitors at every opportunity in midfield, while the physical duo of O’Sullivan and Payne made their presence felt.

Payne was the man to register Blackburn’s first effort on goal as the centre-forward controlled the ball before turning and striking, but Jamal Blackman in the Chelsea net made the save, launching himself down to the right.

The attendance at Ewood Park was admittedly poor compared to previous finals, with just two areas of one stand hosting spectators, but in stark contrast to the Blackburn first team the fans were in decent voice.

As the hosts grew into the game it didn’t take long for them to take the lead, and they did so in marvellous fashion. O’Sullivan charged down the right wing and was invited even further forward when Chelsea defender Alex Davey slipped over, allowing the striker to square to Fernandez in the area who stepped over the ball for Payne to smash home.

Chelsea almost replied immediately as Lucas Piazon cut back to Swift on the edge of the area and two wicked deflections almost took the ball into the goal, but Urwin pulled off a dramatic diving save to claw the ball away.

The visitors were still in the lead, but were looking incredibly sloppy and lax, almost conceding a second before the break. O’Sullivan burst into the area, beating Blackman with a low shot, but Archange Nkumu came to the rescue, clearing the ball off the line as Blackburn settled for a 1-0 lead at half-time.

The second half started at a good pace as Jack O’Connell forced Blackman into a save from 35 yards inside the first minute, while Alex Kiwomya almost equalised moments later as he received a well-weighted through ball from Piazon only to shoot just wide.

However, after that full-throttle start, the match became disjointed as free-kicks constantly halted play with the rain hammering down.

Rovers soon went close again though, through a different medium this time as Raheem Hanley’s in-swinging corner was dealt with poorly by Blackman in the Chelsea goal, but O’Connell could not reach the ball.

Chelsea continued to offer very little going forward, while they showcased some truly dreadful passing in and around the penalty area.

Piazon and Feruz were getting very little service, but when the duo did get themselves involved, the Brazilian ended up bringing about his own downfall as he tried to do too much and was crowded out just outside the penalty area.

With around 15 minutes to go Swift went close with a header as the midfielder got on the end of Piazon’s corner, but O’Connell came across and made the block, keeping Rovers in the lead and deservedly so.

As the second half progressed Chelsea grew into the game a little more as substitute Nditi romped down the left wing before poking a cross-cum-shot across the face of the goal only for no player to meet it.

With the triumph all but secured, Chelsea went close late on as Ruben Loftus-Cheek had a first-time effort deflected round the post in the penalty area. However, Blackburn knew they had little time to overturn the four-goal deficit and the Londoners comfortably held out to clinch the trophy.

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