Norwich City Under-18s were beaten 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller at Cobham Training Centre on Friday afternoon.
Jude Soonsup-Bell has started the season well for the Blues, and it was Chelsea’s number nine who had the hosts first shot at goal, but a good block from Jaden Warner denied the hosts the opener.
In an end-to-end opening period, Jon Rowe hit the side netting moments later, before Charlie Wiggett headed wide from a Chelsea corner.
Rowe had another sighter in the 14th minute, testing Jake Askew with a shot from distance, but the Chelsea ‘keeper smothered the loose ball after spilling the initial effort.
City continued to get bodies in the Chelsea box, and the pressure paid off when a handball gave the Canaries a 17th-minute spot-kick, which Tom Dickson-Peters duly dispatched to put the visitors 1-0 up.
At the other end, Sam Blair made a good save with his left foot to deny Alex Kpakpe from inside the 18-yard box.
Six minutes on from taking the lead, Steve Weaver’s U18s strengthened their grip on the game, Oscar Thorne finding the back of the net with a smart, low shot back across goal to wrong foot the keeper following some tidy build-up down the right.
Blair’s left leg was once again called into action on the half-hour mark, this time in response to another effort from the ever-present Soonsup-Bell.
City really ought to have made it 3-0 when Thorne put Dickson-Peters one-on-one with Askew, but the Norwich forward sent his shot high and wide, allowing Chelsea a sight back into the game on the brink of half-time, Harvey Vale picking out the bottom right corner for 2-1 City.
Dickson-Peters made amends for that previous miss early on in the second half, smashing a shot into the roof of the net for 3-1 after Rowe had burst through the middle of the pitch and put the ball on a plate for his fellow attacker.
Abu Kamara was next to have a go for City, Rowe again involved in the build-up, but Askew made the save on this occasion.
With half an hour remaining, Chelsea pulled one back again, Vale getting his brace with a header from a corner.
Rowe, who was involved in almost everything from an attacking perspective for City, was unfortunate not to get his name on the scoresheet in the 69th minute, when a left-footed effort from distance struck the outside of the post.
City were again made to pay shortly after, Chelsea equalising in the 72nd minute with an impressive overhead kick from Soonsup-Bell.
Heading into the game’s final knockings, Rowe had another shot go over the bar, before Derrick Abu got spectators off their seats with a cross that would have snuck past Blair if not for the fortunate re-bound off the far post.
But Chelsea dominated the second half and always looked dangerous from set-pieces, eventually getting the winning goal in the 87th minute with another header from Soonsup-Bell.
Chelsea starting XI: Askew, Gilchrist, Wiggett, Tobin, Humphreys ©, Castledine, Thomas, Hall, Soonsup-Bell, Vale, Kpakpe
Goals: Vale (44’, 59’), Soonsup-Bell (72’, 87’)
Norwich City starting XI: Blair, Jackson, Stewart, Warner, Shipley, Khumbeni, Rowe, Earley ©, Dickson-Peters (Brooke 65’), Kamara, Thorn (Pitcher 54’)
Subs not used: Brown, Alidor-Hamilton, Okeowo
Goals: Dickson-Peters (17’, 49’) Thorne (23’)