Carlos Vicens’ side are the first City team to lift the trophy for 12-years and in doing so, ended our agonising run of four final losses.
Chelsea triumphed in three of those games, but Cole Palmer, who missed the decisive penalty in our 2018/19 shootout defeat to Liverpool, converted from close range late in the game to ensure history did not repeat itself.
Both sides were forced to come from behind in a fiercely competitive encounter, in which Chelsea took the lead through Marcel Lewis.
City hit back through James McAtee and Morgan Rogers, but the Londoners levelled when a Lewis strike took a fortunate deflection of Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
But Palmer, one of four players with first team experience, had the final word to ensure the trophy ended up in City’s hands.
There was little to separate the two teams during a first half in which City had the better of the chances despite Chelsea dominating the territory.
The Blues pressed aggressively, but Vicens’ side looked threatening on the break and fired a warning with Rogers’ rising effort, before Palmer cut inside off the right wing to force a good save from Lucas Bergstrom.
Lewis occupied the City back four all night and when he beat the offside trap and rounded Cieran Slicker, he was left with a tap in to put his side ahead.
McAtee levelled inside 10-minutes, sending a smart finish into the bottom corner from 10-yards after Palmer and Tommy Doyle combined well down the right flank and, bolstered by the equaliser, we came flying out of the blocks after the break.
The lively Rogers saw an effort cannon back off the crossbar, but he would not be denied and when Liam Delap powered into the Chelsea area and squared across goal, the winger was on hand to convert from six-yards.
It was proving to be a game of fine margins and a huge slice of luck dragged the West London outfit back into it.
CJ Egan-Riley looked to have things under control when Lewis picked the ball up on the left of the area, but the forward’s curling effort, which was heading for the far corner, deflected off the retreating Harwood-Bellis and wrong footed Slicker in the City goal.
But in howling wind, there was a steeliness to our performance and despite the set-back we remained aggressive in our play.
Another strong run from Delap saw the striker blaze over with Palmer waiting in the middle, whilst substitute Jayden Braaf thought he’d won it with a fizzing 20-yard shot that cracked the post.
In the end, it was Palmer who was in the right place to seal a hard fought but deserved victory.
There was an element of good fortune about the winner, with Delap's saved effort rebounding off Tino Livramento into the path of the midfielder, who guided it home at the far post.
Cole palmer reaction
"Last year we were one step away. And I’m just glad we could do it this time. I feel for Chelsea, they’re a good team but on the night we were better.
"Everyone loved Jeremy [Wisten] very dearly. We all miss him. We need to pay respects. Hopefully he’s resting well up there."
How we lined up
Doyle returned to captain the team after missing the semi-final win over Blackburn Rovers and Slicker replaced James Trafford in goal due to the latter’s involvement with the first team.
Slicker was protected by a back four of Egan-Riley, Harwood-Bellis, Luke Mbete and Alpha Diounkou.
Joe Hodge, Doyle and McAtee formed the midfield three, with Palmer and Rogers on the right and left wing respectively.
Delap led the line up front.
The Under-18s return to league action with a trip to Leeds United on Saturday 7 November, with kick-off at 12:00 (UK).
Our EDS, of which many of this group play for, also return to our league campaign on Saturday. They face Southampton away at 12:00 (UK).
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