Match report for Plymouth Argyle vs Chelsea U21 on 15 Aug 17

Argyle 2
Fletcher 88, 90

Chelsea Under-21s 2
Hudson-Odoi 62, 74 

McCormick (Chelsea) scored 0-1
Carey (Argyle) scored 1-1
Fletcher (Argyle) scored 2-1
Muheim (Chelsea) scored 2-2
Christie-Davies (Chelsea) scored 2-3
Ainsworth (Argyle) scored 3-3
Fox (Argyle) scored 4-3
Maddox (Chelsea) missed 4-3
Sterling (Chelsea) scored 4-4
Wylde (Argyle) scored 5-4 

IN a competition now tailored for the Premier League’s talents of the future to shine, it was a young gun of Argyle’s own that ruled the night at Home Park. 

Chelsea, the current Premier League champions, sent their Under-21 side to Plymouth and led 2-0 thanks to a brace from Callum Hudson-Odoi – an England Under-17 international allegedly courted by Juventus this summer. 

His goals were cancelled out by a pair of late strikes by 18-year-old Alex Fletcher, on his first Argyle start, which took the game to an extra-point shoot-out. Fletcher was one of five Pilgrims who all scored their spot-kicks in a 5-4 shoot-out win.

Each team score one point for the 90 minute draw, with Argyle gaining an extra point for their victory in the 12-yard contest. 

Argyle made nine changes for the visit of the Blues’ 21s in the first group game of this year’s Checkatrade Trophy competition. 

Gary Miller and Antoni Sarcevic, the latter of whom who took the armband in the fixture, were the two survivors from the fantastic 2-0 home victory against Charlton Athletic in Sky Bet League One on Saturday. 

There were full debuts for summer signing Jamie Ness and first year professional Alex Fletcher in the much-changed Pilgrims line-up.

Amongst other potential future stars, the Chelsea side featured 16-year-old former Exeter City defender Ethan Ampadu and England under-17 international Dujon Sterling, who was recently selected in the squad of the tournament when featuring in the summer’s TournoiToulon. 

One name that will be familiar by the Pilgrims in the Chelsea 11 is Luke McCormick. The young forward, who coincidentally shares names with ‘Super Luke’, has been a trainee at Chelsea since the age of six. 

After many half chances and dangerous balls into the box by both sides, it was Chelsea who had the first chance to go ahead with a free kick by Hudson-Odoi. It was Callum who won the free kick, after being clipped by Miller but the Argyle wall stayed strong and the shot deflected over the bar.

It was the Pilgrims however who had the better chances of the first half. Gregg Wylde cut inside from the left and played centrally to Ruben Lameiras, who played the first time ball through to Lionel Ainsworth, only for a stretched leg from Joseph Colley to clear the ball at the most pivotal time. 

Ainsworth made a stunning run down the right on the half hour mark and despite looking like he had over run the ball, he was able to pull back to Fletcher, whose shot forced a save from Chelsea ‘keeper Jamie Cumming. The loose ball felt to Ruben Lameiras, who found the post with his reaction shot. 

Argyle started the second half positively with a through ball from Lameiras, cleverly taken into his stride by Ainsworth, but the winger could only to fire his shot straight at Cumming. 

Chelsea took the lead in the 62nd minute after Yann Songo’o was caught in possession by Hudson-Odoi who, one-on-one against Robbert te Loeke, made no mistake and placed his shot into the bottom right hand corner. 

That goal gave Chelsea a lift and Argyle found themselves giving the ball away cheaply a minute later, again Hudson-Odoi running at the Argyle defence. This time, he played through Sterling, who was blocked by the diving Miller. 

The young Chelsea side started to pile on some pressure. Hudson-Odoi capitalised on that rarest of beats – a David Fox loose pass - and again got himself into a one-on-one situation. This time, te Loeke did enough to put the forward off his stride, and Hudson-Odoi fired over the bar.

Hudson-Odoi was not finished there. He found the bottom corner from a free-kick which permeated the Argyle wall and gave the Blues a seemingly unassailable 2-0 lead with 15 minutes to go. 

Despite the deficit, Argyle never gave up and they managed to pull a goal back in the 88th minute. Wylde ran directly at the centre of the Chelsea back four, and switched the ball left to Lameiras, whose early shot was well saved by Cumming. The Chelsea goalie, though, could only parry it to Fletcher, who slotted home to give the Pilgrims hope. 

Hope, and then glory. It was Fletcher again who came to Argyle’s rescue. A cross in from Miller on the right hand side was knocked down by Aaron Taylor-Sinclair and there was Fletcher, on the turn, acrobatically firing the ball into the top corner.

The late goal gave Argyle a share in the points, but there was more drama to follow. 

At the Barn Park end, the first ever ‘ABBA’ shoot-out to take place at Home Park unfolded in suitably dramatic style.

McCormick stepped up first for Chelsea, hammering home the first penalty. As per the new system, Argyle took the next two kicks, with Graham Carey and Fletcher both scoring their penalties to keep the pressure on Chelsea. 

Chelsea seemed to deal with said pressure: Miro Muheim and Isaac Christie-Davies did their part by scoring their penalties for Chelsea, but the experienced Lionel Ainsworth and David Fox each converted too, taking the score to 4-3 to Argyle with Chelsea to take the next two penalties. 

Jacob Maddox, one of Chelsea’s substitutes, sent te Loeke the wrong way but could only hit the post and then watch as the ball trickled, from his perspective, the wrong side of the goal line. Sterling scored his penalty, meaning that it was left to Wylde to fire his penalty home to get Argyle an extra point for their group in the Checkatrade Trophy. 

Argyle (4-2-3-1): 1 Robbert te Loeke; 2 Gary Miller, 4 Yann Songo’o, 20 Jakub Sokolik, 17 Aaron Taylor-Sinclair; 7 Antoni Sarcevic (capt, 24 David Fox half-time), 6 Jamie Ness (10 Graham Carey 61); 8 Lionel Ainsworth, 11 Ruben Lameiras (13 Nathan Blissett 89), 21 Gregg Wylde; 27 Alex Fletcher. Substitutes (not used): 3 Gary Sawyer, 15 Sonny Bradley, 16 Joel Grant; 23 Luke McCormick (gk). 

Booked: Lameiras 81, Carey 85. 

Chelsea Under-21s (4-3-3): 61 Jamie Cumming; 64 Reece James, 51 Joseph Colley, 44 Ethan Ampadu, 52 Cole Dasilva (60 Juan Castillo 74); 43 Isaac Christie-Davies, 55 Luke McCormick, 46 Ruben Sammut (capt); 66 Dujon Sterling, 67 Martell Taylor-Crossdale (54 Jacob Maddox 59), 70 Callum Hudson-Odoi (45 Miro Muheim 90). Substitutes (not used): 47 Ali Suljic, 56 Richard Nartey, 59 Marcin Bulka (gk). 

Booked: Sterling 68, Ampadu 90. 

Referee: Brett Huxtable. 

Attendance: 3,962 (209 away)