Chelsea youngsters draw at Crawley

Kenneth Omeruo and Michael Hector anchored a youthful Chelsea side in a 1-1 friendly draw with League Two Crawley Town and recent signing Ethan Ampadu also featured. 

Nigeria international Omeruo captained a starting XI with an average age of 19 and was joined in the back three by Jose Mourinho signing Hector – who spent last season on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt – and Ampadu, the talented 16-year-old brought in from Exeter.

The likes of Tomas Kalas, Fikayo Tomori and Jake Clarke-Salter did not feature, despite being named in the initial advertised squad.

The hosts could have gone ahead early on in spectacular style had Josh Payne’s 40-yard lofted shot not dropped inches wide of Jamal Blackman’s post.

Chelsea could not unlock a solid Red Devils defence in a low-key first half, with Isaac Christie-Davies firing well over and Ruben Sammut drilling just past the upright, both from outside the box.

After the break, Luke McCormick’s jinking run gave him a sight of goal inside the Crawley box but he put his effort past the post, while at the other end, Enzio Boldewijn fired straight at Blues keeper Blackman.

Ampadu played an hour before being replaced in the first tranche of changes, but it was 17-year-old Charlie Brown, brought on in the next wave of substitutions, who broke the deadlock on 75 minutes, latching on to a through ball before coolly converting in front of 600 travelling fans.

Blues’ substitute keeper Mitchell Beeney claimed an effort from Crawley’s Dean Cox but they could not keep a clean sheet as, three minutes from time, Richard Nartey was beaten in the air by Joe McNerney, who powered in a header.

Chelsea: Blackman (Beeney 60); Grant (St Claire 70), Omeuro (Nartey 70), Hector (Suljic 70), Ampadu (Guemi 60), Sammut (Brown 70), Christie-Davies (Colley 70), McCormick (Gallagher 70), Ugbo (Taylor-Crossdale 70), Hudson-Odoi (McEachran 60), Castillo (Muheim 60).