Derby 1 Chelsea 2: Kiwomya's late strike sends holders into FA Youth Cup semi-finals
02:06 GMT, 9 March 2013
02:08 GMT, 9 March 2013
Chelsea's defence of the FA Youth Cup remains alive after they negotiated a tricky quarter-final assignment at Derby County thanks to Alex Kiwomya's late strike.
The Blues were matched all the way by a talented Derby side but eventually prevailed when Kiwomya, nephew of former Arsenal player Chris, found the bottom corner with a sweet drive on 82 minutes.
Extra time looked likely as Derby, who claimed a Premier League scalp in Manchester City in the last round, sniffed another when the excellent Mason Bennett equalised Lewis Baker's 16th minute penalty.
Traget man: Chelsea's Jeremie Boga has an effort on goal
But when Kiwomya received a through ball from substitute Charlie Colkett, he spun and fired beyond Rams goalkeeper Ross Etheridge to kill their hopes.
The win means Chelsea will face either Hull City or Liverpool in the last four as they seek to emulate last year's success.
Chelsea took the lead in controversial circumstances just after the quarter-hour – Reece Mitchell burst through the heart of the Derby defence and was clattered by Etheridge inside the box.
The keeper was fortunate not to be sent off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, referee Chris Sarginson showing mercy with just a yellow card.
Lewis Baker wasn't so sympathetic, however, finding the bottom corner with a textbook penalty while Mitchell hobbled off.
The Premier League side should have added to their lead as they controlled the first half, and Alex Kiwomya was guilty of missing two golden opportunities within a minute of each other.
Goal-den boy: Alex Kiwomya celebrates his strike
First, neat interplay between Baker and Jeremie Boga on the edge of the box teed Kiwomya up 12 yards out, but he somehow missed the target.
On Chelsea's next break, the front man was presented with an even easier chance by Baker, but his powerful shot directly in front of goal was blocked by Etheridge.
And there was nearly a sting in the tale when Bennett rose above Alex Davey to head an Andrew Dales cross against the post in the second minute of stoppage time.
It was their best effort of a first half in which they struggled to keep the ball for any length of time.
Jamie Hanson, goalscoring hero in the victories over Ipswich Town and Manchester City in the last two rounds, curled a vicious free-kick over the bar, but other sights of goal had been few and far between.
The hosts were energised by the half-time break and 16-year-old Bennett, the club's youngest first team debutant and goalscorer, and an England Under 17 starlet, began to show his class.
He warmed the hands of Mitchell Beeney with a hit from 30 yards and then scored the equaliser on 55 minutes – although whether he meant it only he knows.
Blues brothers: Chelsea are through to semi-finals
Tearing down the left side after robbing Fankaty Dabo of the ball, Bennett cut inside and surely intended to pick out a teammate in the centre with a low ball. It took a deflection off a Chelsea foot, however, and left Beeney helpless.
With his next touch of the ball, Bennett crossed for Andrew Dales inside the box. The midfielder unleashed a powerful effort which cannoned back off the crossbar.
But when Kiwomya struck it was a decisive blow, Derby unable to respond despite the encouragement of a 4,000-strong crowd.
In fact, Chelsea could have added to their lead in stoppage time when Jeremie Boga's lopping shot struck the top of the crossbar.
With the last kick of the game, Hanson was nearly Derby's hero again but his free-kick on the left clipped the top of the bar.
Darren Wassall, Derby youth team coach, said: 'On the balance of the second half chances and play, then certainly we could have taken it to extra time.
'We said to the lads at half time you've seen how the crowd have got up in the last five minutes of the half and that's without scoring. So if you do score, this 4,000 crowd will be right behind you.
'When we equalised and when Mason went through, we had a real lively 20 minutes after the break. We had hit the bar and had a couple of chances we easily could have scored from. That's when we were in the ascendancy and that's when we should have taken advantage of that situation.
'Chelsea have got unlimited resources and they've got a lot of qualities – they played some great stuff, but so did we. We gave them a real fight. We competed against them for 95 minutes and I'm very proud of all the players.'
Wassall singled out Bennett for special praise: 'He was almost unplayable tonight for 20 minutes early in that second half. He scored the goal and caused havoc. It's all about progression into the first team and we're delighted with his performance tonight.'