Saturday saw the opening game of the Under-18 Academy season, but for the fourth year running the Blues failed to open their campaign with a win, going down to a late 1-0 defeat away to Blackburn Rovers.

Dermot Drummy was missing midfielder Josh McEachran, on international duty with England, but otherwise had the same team available as he did in pre-season. It started encouragingly, with the Blues making most of the ball in the middle of the park, but they struggled to make a breakthrough in the final third. Blackburn defended well and saw chances of their own at the other end, notably through Tom Hitchcock and Michael Potts.

The second half saw more of the same, with Chelsea battering at the Rovers door but without success. Marko Mitrovic created a good chance for himself with impressive work rate but saw his endeavours go unsupported by team-mates. With four minutes to go the home team won the game with a scrappy and messy set-piece which was bundled home by Andy Parry. In the final stages the Chelsea pressure was monumental but Jake Kean and his defence held firm.

You can read more on this game on the Chelsea and Blackburn websites, and throughout most of this season away reports will follow in this format. Home games should be up to the usual lengthy standards however.

Team: Walker, B. Clifford, Mills, Strickland, Hayden (Deen-Conteh 75), C. Clifford, Ashton (Prosenik 70), Kaby, Lalkovic, Devyne, Mitrovic