Cheltenham Town proved too good for Chelsea Under-21s, winning 4-0 to seal a place in the quarter-finals of the Papa John’s Trophy.
A brace from Charlie Brown and goals from Liam Sercombe and Ryan Broom helped the Robins at least equal their best ever progression in the competition, emulating the run of 2005/06.
The Robins didn’t have to wait long before opening the scoring. Sean Long’s long throw-in was flicked on by Dan Nlundulu, and Brown was able to nod home from close range.
After a quarter of an hour, the Robins nearly had their second after Nlundulu’s diagonal ball reached Alfie May. The forward cut inside onto his left foot and tried to bend the ball into the far corner, but Chelsea ‘keeper Eddie Bench got a strong hand to the ball.
Nlundulu went close himself later in the half. Having played a one-two with Broom, the striker’s shot curled away from the far corner.
Chelsea’s first clear sight on goal fell at the feet of Leo Castledine, but Shaun MacDonald was able to block with his legs from close range.
A darting individual run from Sercombe saw him with space 20 yards from goal and he tried to shoot for the bottom left corner, but he dragged the ball just wide of the post.
MacDonald was called into action again after substitute Harrison McMahon tried to bend a shot into the far corner, able to spring to his right and palm the ball clear.
The Robins sealed the result three minutes from time, after George Lloyd won the ball back inside Chelsea’s final third, before feeding it to Christian Norton. The Welshman turn one way and then the other, before sliding the ball into the path of Sercombe who was able to find the bottom right-hand corner of the net with a low shot.
Charlie Brown then piled on the misery for his former club to double his tally for the day. After Broom’s initial effort was saved by Beach, Brown picked up the loose ball and fired into the net.
Academy defender Cam Walters made it onto the pitch for the final for few minutes and made a crucial block to deny Derrick Abu a consolation goal. Broom then went up field again and after Norton miss-hit a shot from his squared ball, the Welshman curled the ball with his left foot off the far post and into the net to add an emphatic touch to the score line.
Robins: MacDonald (GK), Long (C), Raglan, Freestone (Walters 90’), Broom, Williams (Hutchinson 68’), Barkers, Sercombe, Brown, Nlundulu (Lloyd 68’), May (Norton 68’)
Unused: Southwood (GK), Bradbury, Bonds
Chelsea Under-21s: Beach, Brooking, Sturge, Casadei, Williams, Abu, Gilchrist (c), Mothersille, Castledine, Flower (McMahon 60’), McNeilly (Golding 13’)
Unused: Merrick (GK), Akomeah, Murray-Campbell, Dyer
Attendance: 1058 (134 away)
Referee: S Mather