City's FA Youth Cup Journey Cut Short By Chelsea
City went into the clash having already seen off Leyton Orient, Carlisle United and Middlesbrough in the earlier rounds but knew they faced a daunting challenge against the side who beat them 3-0 in the U18 Premier League South on Saturday.
It was the visitors, managed by Jody Morris, who had the most of the early exchanges with skipper Mason Mount blazing over inside 10 minutes before Cameron Yates was forced to save Ugbo’s header from five yards.
Mount was proving to be a persistent nuisance for Trevor Peake’s men but Kanya Leshabela was doing well to thwart him down the right wing while also being a useful outlet in attack whenever the situation allowed.
City’s first real opportunity of the match came on the half-hour mark when Kairo Arlott-Edwards burst into a pocket of space, after seizing upon a loose ball, before Marc Guehi took the sting off his shot with a well-timed block.
Neither side were able to break the deadlock before the interval but Leicester emerged from the tunnel with their tails up and they almost opened the scoring when Arlott-Edwards’s hopeful shot from outside the area was deflected onto the post.
But it was the visitors who took the lead as Reece James found space down the right channel and crossed for Ugbo to head it low beyond Yates in the City net. It was bitterly frustrating for the hosts after such an assured performance against their illustrious guests.
They rallied as the clock ticked down but Chelsea battled hard to make sure it is their name, and not City's, which goes into the hat for the semi-final draw later this month despite a determined, unrelenting effort from Peake's men until the last.
Chelsea’s goal came at a crucial moment in the match, in the 65th minute, just as the young Foxes were enjoying a period of control and looking the likeliest of the two sides to break the deadlock.
Leicester had been warned of the attacking prowess at the visitors' disposal seconds earlier as Ugbo headed narrowly wide from Hudson Odoi’s cross from the left. The goal started from the other side, courtesy of James's in-swinging cross, and stopped City in their tracks.
The hosts struggled to wrestle back control of the clash from thereon with Chelsea showing why they have held the competition under such an dominant monopoly in recent seasons with an effective defensive display.
The Under-18s return to Premier League U18 duties with three matches remaining to pull clear of the bottom of the table - against Aston Villa, Norwich City and Southampton.
Peake’s boys have enjoyed a fruitful return from their forays in the FA Youth Cup and can take great confidence from their performance against the seven-time winners at King Power Stadium.
They travel to Villa on Saturday 18 February (11am kick-off) before going to Norwich ten days later and then facing the Saints on Saturday 4 March.
CITY: Yates (c), Thandi, Ughelumba, Kaba Sherif, Pascanu, Johnson, Brown, Dewsbury-Hall, Arlott-Edwards, Ndukwu, Leshabela (Myring 76).
SUBS NOT USED: Heaven, Harrison, Templeton, Tee.
CHELSEA: Thompson, James, Guehi, T.Chalobah, Grant, Maddox, Mount (c), Sterling Taylor-Crossdale 80), McEachran (Uwakwe 57), Hudson-Odoi (Gallagher 92), Ugbo.
SUBS NOT USED: Nartey, Cumming.
GOAL: Ugbo 65
REFEREE: Mark Haywood
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