Chelsea Reserves 3, Norwich City Reserves 0
Former City loanee Ryan Bertrand featured for Chelsea's second string yesterday as the Blues eased past a youthful Norwich side in the Premier Reserve League.
Ricky Martin's lads rattled the woodwork twice and had a Taylor McKenzie goal disallowed against a Chelsea side who were reduced to 10 men when Rohan Ince was sent off in the first period. Milan Lalkovic grabbed a brace with Marko Mitrovic's strike helping Chelsea end a run of four consecutive defeats at this level.
'I felt we started well, we didn't allow them to create many opportunities, and as the half went on we grew into it, so it was disappointing to find ourselves 1-0 down,' said Martin. 'But we reacted, finished the half better, and we pressed. George Francomb hit the crossbar and we were unlucky to go into half-time a goal down.
'We went for it second-half, but got caught out in a mad 10 minutes trying to get the goal back and found ourselves 2-0 down, and then 3-0 down through ill-discipline and having too many players up the field. We then reshuffled and got back in control of the game. Sam Kelly hit the crossbar and we had a goal disallowed, so it's disappointing that we didn't stay at 1-0 for longer and force our way back into it later into the half.'
Chelsea counterpart Dermot Drummy revealed Bertrand had requested to feature in a bid to step up his match sharpness against the club where he made 56 loan apperances in an 18 month period at Carrow Road.
'Ryan Bertrand asked to play because he needs minutes and that is great when he performs like that,' he said. 'Norwich were a young side but we tried to play the right way so the attitude was great.
'We kept our tactical discipline in the second half and we broke well and scored a wonder goal – a great bit of skill from Kaby and Milan finished it off. It was great for Marko to get a goal as well.'
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Francomb captained a City side that featured fit-again keeper Jed Steer, who was recently forced to cut short a loan spell at League One Yeovil.
Chelsea opened the scoring on 28 minutes. Jacob Mellis hit City on the counter before picking out Slovakian U21 international Lalkovic. Ince was dismissed on 36 minutes when he hauled back Jamar Loza. Francomb struck the bar with a free-kick but City fell further behind when Lalkovic fired past Steer early in the second period. Kelly crashed another shot against the bar before McKenzie's half volley was disallowed for offside and Mitrovic completed the scoring on 69 minutes with an accomplished finish. City's next Premier Reserve League game is a trip to Arsenal's reserves next Monday.
• Chelsea Res: Taylor, Hutchinson, Ince, Gordon, Bertrand, Clifford, Saville, Mellis, Lalkovic, Mitrovic (Prosenik, 80), Djalo (Deen-Conteh, 88). Subs not used: Russell, Nditi, Feruz. Goals: Lalkovic (28, 51), Mitrovic (69).
• Norwich Res: Steer, Barker, Francomb (McFadden, 53), McKenzie, Tofolo (Dobbs, 58), Florence, Ball, Brindley (Clunan, 6), Kelly, Hall-Johnson, Loza. Subs not used: Matthews, Murphy.