City fall to 2-0 defeat against Blues at Electrical Services StadiumTWO Josh McEachran goals early in the second half condemned Norwich City's Under-21s to a 2-0 defeat against Chelsea at the Electrical Services Stadium on Friday evening.
The first-team midfielder calmly dispatched a penalty before netting a second seven minutes later, settling a close match at the rainy home of Conference Premier side Aldershot Town.
Norwich had chances throughout the 90 minutes but it wasn't their night in front of goal, with Jamar Loza, Harry Toffolo and Jacob Murphy going closest.
City had the blow of Carlton Morris missing out through illness, but five players who started the decisive FA Youth Cup Final for the Canaries were named in the line-up, including former Chelsea trainee Cameron McGeehan.
The hosts also included five from that memorable night at Stamford Bridge last season, with the highly-rated Isaiah Brown joining McEachran – both have played Premier League football.
In driving rain, the Canaries should have taken the lead after just 30 seconds – a sloppy pass was pounced on by Loza, but the forward nudged his shot just the wrong side of the post.
Remi Matthews then tipped round a fine Billy Clifford effort as Chelsea settled, before City’s keeper then held a tricky free-kick from Lewis Baker.
Neither side made strong inroads as conditions worsened, but the hosts looked the most likely to get the game’s opening goal because of their greater hold on possession.
Norwich finished the half strongly, though – firstly Jacob Murphy almost got lucky when he deflected shot looped towards goal, almost catching out Jamal Blackman, before Toffolo had a low drive kept out on 40 minutes.
HALF-TIME: Chelsea 0-0 Norwich City
Seven minutes into the second-half, the influential Clifford earned the spot-kick that gave Chelsea the lead after a foul by McGeehan in the box.
McEachran stepped up and sent Matthews the wrong way to edge the hosts in front.
Josh Murphy curled a free-kick just wide for the Canaries after Ewan McNeil had been fouled, but Chelsea doubled their lead through McEachran against on 59 minutes.
The former Swansea City and Middlesbrough loanee played a smart one-two with Brown before jinxing past the final Norwich defender and finishing clinically.
Norwich had half chances, both through Jamar Dunga, and McGeehan was on hand to block a Brown effort from inside the box before Matthews tipped over from Nathan Ake.
For the Canaries, Jacob Murphy spurned the second half's best chance when he found the side-netting after being put clean through, and he mishit another effort moments later before McGeehan had a free-kick held by Jamal Blackman but it wasn't to be their night in front of goal and Chelsea notched their third win on the bounce.
FULL-TIME: Chelsea 2-0 Norwich City
GOALS: Chelsea: Josh McEachran (pen 52, 59)
CHELSEA: Blackman; Ssewankambo, Christensen, Ake (c), Nditi; Swift (Kiwomya 57), McEachran, Clifford; Baker, Feruz (Loftus-Cheek 76), Brown. Subs not used: Beeney (GK), Davey, Conroy.
NORWICH CITY: Matthews; McNeil, Gafaiti, McFadden, Toffolo (Barker 74); Jacob Murphy, Hodd, McGeehan (c), Josh Murphy (Wyatt 90); Hall-Johnson; Loza. Subs not used: Priestley (GK), Norman.