Writer: Tranmere Loyal
Date:Friday May 6 2011
The 690 who attended Ewen Fields last night plus the onlookers on Chelsea TV witnessed a performance of total quality and resilience by City's Elte Development Squad, who systematically took Chelsea apart.
A Chelsea team boasting the 'next big thing' in the shape of McEachran plus a host of other imported footballers was definitely second best as City brought the curtain down a fruitful season which saw them finish runners-up in the Northern half of the Barclays Reserves League.
With the team intent on playing the game in the top two thirds of the field, Andy Welsh's boys laid down the blue print for the FA Cup final in keeping Chelsea as far away as possible from City's goal. And if they did spring the offside trap, as they did twice, they had to beat the returning-from-injury Shay Given. The fact that they didn't score tells you who won that one.
A wonderful professional, Shay turned in an excellent performance making three outstanding saves at key times and injecting confidence throughout the back line throughout the evening.
Not surprisingly Guidetti opened the scoring springing Chelsea's offside trap and cleverly hitting an excellent shot past Sebek with only six minutes on the clock.
On twenty six Razak set up Ibrahim onthe left hand edge of the box. His far post shot wrong-footed Sebek and squeezed into the net.
For the rest of the first half there were a number of individual battles going on,none more intense than Guidetti v Magnay leaving the Chelsea defender with a bandaged headwound before he caught a flailing arm to the nose which saw him heading for treatment again. Ahead of half time there was a fracas which saw Clifford and Guidetti yellow carded by the referee who told me he was a Stoke City fan and had got his ticket for Wembley.
Shortly after Philip had the referee writing again mowing down Wabara. Immediately following this Chelsea's keeper decided it was time to go and was replaced by Blackman.
Throughout this period, City's team stood tall and robust, intent on not letting what was now a frustrated Chelsea team in the mould of chopper Harris, interupt the game plan.
For the early part of the second half Chelsea started to make some headway but found Given in top form and they weren't going to beat him tonight.
City gradually took over as Chelsea seemed to lose heart. Logan hit the bar and Bunn started to torment them after coming on a sub at half time. Razak was a monster in midfield, rampaging like Yaya and Chelsea simply didn't have the answer. Ibrahim also looked good moving the ball well and tackling like a demon.
Mancini was replaced by Joan Roman and almost immediately, seventy-one minutes, a sweeping move by City which saw the Chelsea defence all over the place and wrong-footed by a clever pass from Poole from which Bunn unleashed an unstoppable effort to make it 3-0 for City.
Poole's reward came three minutes later playing a neat one-two with Guidetti, tonight more of a team player than individual, and finished in superb style by Poole, lifting it over the giant of a keeper in the Chelsea goal.
Chelsea had one more chance before the end but once again Given was up to it.
Although Chelsea did hit the back of the net from a quick free kick, the ref hadn't given permission and another Chelsea player (Woods I think) added to the ref's paperwork.
Make no mistake, avid readers, this was a performance to behold and just as in the 2008 Youth Cup Final we were simply too good for what was a useful Chelsea line-up.
Andy Welsh told me afterwards that he was delighted with the performance with much of what they had been trying in training coming off tonight. I thought it was the best performance I'd seen from the team since the heady days of Asa Hartford as manager when the team yielded a host of footballers who are all playing somewhere today and included Richards, Onuoha, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, the D'Lareyas, McCarthy and Miller.
A great evening's football for a bumper crowd and our thanks must go to the staff at Hyde FC for looking after us so well for the entire season.
Date:Friday May 6 2011
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