Terry Westley’s bright young U23 side missed a catalogue of opportunities at The Recreation Ground yesterday afternoon, as Chelsea managed to hold out for a 0-0 draw in an entertaining Premier League Two encounter.
In a game that was largely dominated by the visiting side, the young Hammers just couldn’t find a winner, whereas, both teams defended well and the hosts equally threatened when they went forward.
A draw sees the West London side fall a place to tenth with ten points, but Westley’s Boys retain fourth place In The Premier League Two Division One Table on 14 points, having missed a chance to overtake The Gunners in third.
From the start in Hampshire, the likes of exciting young defenders Reece James and Dujon Sterling, England U19 midfielder Trevor Chalobah and barnstorming forward Jacob Maddox were all included in Adrian Viveash’s Xl.
Meanwhile, Terry Westley opted for three alterations to the team that defeated Manchester United 4-2 at The London Stadium last time out.
First-teamers Sam Byram and Edimilson Fernandes returned to Slaven Bilic’s Squad and were replaced the returning Ben Johnson and Sead Haksabanovic, as Domingos Quina came in for Joe Powell.
On a sunny afternoon in Aldershot, it would be the Claret & Blue starlets who made the faster start.
A superb run and pass from the Montenegrin International Haksabanovic found Dan Kemp in the early stages, his effort was narrowly tipped over by Jamie Cumming.
The boys in black and blue would go agonisingly close yet again just after the break in The South, as former Everton man Nathan Holland picked out last weekend’s hat-trick hero Toni Martinez.
The Spaniard’s ferocious volley curled inches over the crossbar on a nearly day for the No9.
However, Martinez’s volley was quickly upstaged by one of the efforts of the season from Haksabanovic as he met a Holland ball with an incredible overhead kick that was just about tipped round the post by Cumming.
Meanwhile, at the other end, the home side were finally creating some chances of their own, with Harvey St Clair cutting in from the left and launching a fine effort that Nathan Trott fingertipped over the bar.
But, that would be it in terms of goalmouth action during the affair and as Referee Carl Brooks blew his final whistle, both sides had to settle for a share of the points.
The draw would have felt like two points dropped for Westley, however, on the balance of things, is respectable considering the sheer amount of talent on display in Chelsea’s Development Squad.
Next up for The Blues will be a trip to Huish Park on Wednesday night in The Checkatrade Trophy, before hosting high-flying Arsenal in their next PL2 clash, Saturday lunchtime.
Where, our Hammer starlets face the daunting task of the visit of Manchester City to The Chigwell Construction Stadium at the same time, with a trip to The Memorial Ground in The Checkatrade trophy to follow next Tuesday.