Our development squad took two points from their opening Papa John’s Trophy fixture away to Exeter, winning a penalty shoot-out 4-3 after a 1-1 draw in normal time.
Bryan Fiabema’s clinical finish had given the young Blues a lead they thoroughly merited on a beautiful evening in Devon. The striker expertly converted after Xavier Mbuyamba’s long pass released him on the stroke of half-time, showing no signs of nerves having missed a similar chance a couple of minutes earlier.
Chelsea played with poise and panache throughout and deserved all three points, keeping their more experienced hosts at arm’s length. Teddy Sharman-Lowe in our goal did not have a save of note to make until Matt Jay’s stoppage-time penalty that beat him, while we could certainly have put the game beyond doubt before then, with the excellent Dion Rankine and Jude Soonsup-Bell both going close on several occasions.
Sharman-Lowe was the hero in the shoot-out, impressively keeping out Exeter’s first and fifth penalties. Fiabema had missed a spot-kick to win it, but our young goalkeeper saved the very next effort to ensure the Blues at least take two points back to London ahead of further trips in this competition to Bristol Rovers and Cheltenham Town.