A LACKLUSTRE Swindon Town crashed to a heavy 0-4 loss against Chelsea’s Under 21s in their opening Checkatrade Trophy group stage fixture at the County Ground tonight.

Phil Brown’s men were outclassed by Chelsea’s youngsters in the first half with possession and chances on goal for the hosts at a premium.

Starting the second half with a two-goal lead, Chelsea Under 21s scored two more in the concluding 45 – ending a miserable night for Brown’s troops who were issued a harsh reality check on the opening week of the competitive season.

Brown made seven changes to the side that defeated Macclesfield Town in dramatic circumstances at the County Ground on Saturday in the club’s opening League Two fixture.

Debuts were handed to goalkeeper Luke McCormick, defender Sid Nelson and striker Toumani Diagouraga.

Meanwhile Saturday’s substitutes Jak McCourt and Scott Twine earned their first starting spots of the season while Joe Romanski and Ellis Iandolo were the two others to make their seasonal debut.

Kyle Knoyle, Jermaine McGlashan, Elijah Adebayo and Dion Conroy were the four players to keep their team places from Saturday’s opener.

Chelsea were forced into making an early substitution when midfielder Luke McCormick was helped off the field and replaced by Bill Gilmour with only six minutes played.

Swindon had their first chance of the game on 12 minutes when Joe Romanski received the ball on the right after some strong build-up play in the centre on the edge of the 18-yard box.

Jak McCourt fed an unmarked Romanski before the 18-year-old aimed his shot directly at Chelsea stopper Jamie Cumming, much to the frustration of Scott Twine and Jermaine McGlashan.

The move sparked some energy into Town’s attacking presence as McCourt tried his luck from outside the area. His weak effort was comfortably gathered by Cumming though.

Chelsea then caught Town off guard when Juan Castillo’s cross from the left found Charlie Brown, who converted from close range.

There was concern for right back Kyle Knoyle on 20 minutes when he went to ground inside the penalty area. Taking no chances, Phil Brown opted to substitute Knoyle with James Dunne filling the void.

The visitors were handed a golden opportunity to double their advantage on 28 minutes when Conroy’s trailing leg caught an advancing Taria Lamptey.

Charly Musonda made no mistake from 12 yards, sending Town keeper McCormick the wrong way as Chelsea opened up a two-goal lead.

Chelsea’s second goal sparked a period of complete dominance from the visitors, who rarely gave the ball away and moved through Swindon’s midfield as though they were not there.

Frustration led to a free-kick 30-yards out, which was placed wide by Marc Guehi, granting Town some much-needed time on the ball.

A subdued end to the first half saw Town struggle to break through Chelsea’s midfield while Ellis Iandolo picked up a yellow card following a challenge as the half ended 0-2.

Joe Edwards’ men started the second half as they ended the first when Billy Gilmour made a run down the right before his shot was saved by McCormick.

The rebound fell fortuitously to the feet of Castillo, whose effort escaped through the legs of James Dunne before Nelson cleared the danger.

Town were granted their first opportunity of the first half on 54 minutes when Scott Twine was tripped on the edge of 18-yard box.

The teenager blasted his effort over Cumming’s’ crossbar though, much to the frustration of the 1,500 home supporters.

A complete defensive breakdown then gifted Chelsea their third goal on 58 minutes.

Dunne and Romanski were yards behind play, allowing Charlie Brown to exploit the middle with ease.

Both Conroy and Nelson failed to pick up the Blues youngster, who coasted past both central defenders and beat McCormick to score Chelsea’s third.

The goal prompted Town boss Brown to switch midfielder Jermaine McGlashan with youngster Jordan Young, who almost immediately was forced to leave to field when falling heavily to the pitch after contesting a ball with Castillo.

Scott Twine had a chance to get Town off the mark of 73 minutes when a through ball from midfield found the youngster in space on the left.

His eventual shot was blocked before the resulting corner led to a goal kick.

Twine was presented with a further chance on 80 minutes, but his shot from just inside the area was blasted over Chelsea’s crossbar.

Diagouraga was then denied only by a goalline clearance from Joseph Colley after the ball fell to the Town midfielder’s feet while he was stranded on the ground after contesting a header.

The visitors were to strike once more though on 88 minutes when Luke McCormick’s reaction save failed to prevent Ike Ugbo from heading in the rebound.

Swindon are next in Checkatrade Trophy action on Tuesday, September 11, when they welcome Newport County to the County Ground. 

Swindon Town: Luke McCormick, Kyle Knoyle (19’ James Dunne), Jak McCourt, Sid Nelson, Jermaine McGlashan (66’ Jordan Young, 73’ Sol Pryce), Ellis Iandolo, Elijah Adebayo, Toumani Diagouraga, Scott Twine, Joe Romanski, Dion Conroy.

Chelsea U21s: Jamie Cumming, Charly Musonda Jnr, Fankaty Dabo, Ike Ugbo, Joseph Colley, Luke McCormick (6’ Billy Gilmour), Charlie Brown (63’ Daishawn Redan), Marc Guehi, Juan Castillo, George McEachran (74’ Tariq Uwakwe), Taria Lamptey.