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FA Youth Cup: Chelsea boys leave it late in 2-1 win

That Billy Clifford. He can play.


So, too, can Josh McEachran. But you already knew that. Nathaniel Chalobah, he's the monster Chelsea are obviously trying to keep under wraps. On recent displays, the world will soon know of the native of Sierra Leone.

They're not alone. Aziz Deen-Conteh, George Saville, Adam Nditi, captain Daniel Pappoe - this damn youth team really is something else. Our young Blues kept hopes alive Thursday evening of retaining the FA Youth Cup, roaring back from a goal down at halftime to pip Barnsley 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in the fifth round.

Danny Rose opened the scoring inside 15 seconds, but second-half goals from McEachran and Chalobah, off his back after 88 minutes, ensured Chelsea a spot in the quarterfinals. They'll host Watford in the Round of 8 at a date yet to be determined.

It was nothing less than the boys deserved. They responded well to going behind, then absolutely dominated the final 45 minutes of play. I reckon, and this is not an understatement, that we held an 80-20 advantage in possession. We were camped in their half after the interval.

The second half opened with a piece of brilliant team play from the boys, capped by a clever piece of exchange between McEachran and Clifford on the right side of the penalty box. Clifford's back-heel for McEachran was the pièce de résistance from which Josh hammered a low strike in at the near post. The rest of the half consisted of a lot of composed play, but not nearly enough incisiveness. Thankfully, there was no quit in the camp. The winner came after a free kick was awarded near the byline - it was a corner basically. McEachran delivered to the center, the Barnsley keeper missed in an attempt to punch away and the ball clipped off the back of Chalobah an into the far-post netting.

Clifford, man of the match. He was outstanding in the second half, full of zest and never stop running. He was everywhere. Josh, of course, was his usual self, as composed as one can be on the ball. Add a handful of fantastic turns and touches to his day's work as well. More than individual highlights, this was a fine team performance.

On to the quarters then.

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