OXFORD United’s hopes of a third successive Wembley appearance were ended as they were outclassed by a sharp Chelsea Under 21s at Stamford Bridge.

The Londoners looked nailed on to win the Checkatrade Trophy quarter-final as they raced into a 2-0 lead through Harvey St Clair and Daishawn Redan after only 16 minutes.

Caretaker boss Derek Fazackerley’s first half-time team talk made an impact, with United discovering some purpose after the break.

A flurry of efforts made the game into a contest for a few minutes, but the closest they came was a shot from Isaac Buckley-Ricketts which hit the woodwork.

Juan Castillo’s classy finish snuffed out hopes of a comeback to leave United with only Sky Bet League One to focus on for the rest of the season.

It is ten days until they are in action again – a period where the U’s will have to focus on the end of the transfer window and search for Pep Clotet’s successor.

Fazackerley’s maiden selection revealed a change of system, as Charlie Raglan made his first appearance of the season in a new-look back three.

Ricardinho, available again after suspension, returned as a wing back in a 3-4-1-2 formation and the visitors made a reasonable start.

The changes from Saturday’s defeat to Bury were completed by Ryan Ledson and Gino van Kessel, who combined for the first chance, but after the former’s tackle and pass, the Curacao international’s shot was blocked.

United threatened from the resulting corner, but that was as good as it got in an opening 45 minutes where the twinkle-toed teenagers bossed the game.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, who was part of the England Under 17 World Cup-winning squad in the autumn, stood out and laid on two goals in seven minutes.

Both came from flashes of skill and precise passes for Redan.

United were cut open for the first time in the ninth minute and although Simon Eastwood made a smart save to deny Redan, the ball rebounded for St Clair to tap into an empty net.

The visitors were quickly chasing shadows again with an even better move, as Hudson-Odoi showed silky skills again and this time Redan’s fierce shot from 15 yards beat Eastwood after he had turned Aaron Martin.

It was harsh on Eastwood, who in between the goals had made an excellent save to keep out a low shot from St Clair.

He denied the goalscorer again just before the half-hour mark after the Scotland youth international unleashed a fierce strike from the edge of the penalty area.

United, whose only effort on target before the break was a tame Raglan header from Ricardinho’s free-kick, were second best all over the park.

Unable to hold on to the ball, the bookings also began to mount up.

After Ricardinho and Ledson’s names were taken, the third name was Raglan after he scythed down Redan in the centre circle nine minutes before the break. Referee John Brooks waved play on as St Clair raced clear, but Eastwood made an excellent block.

It kept United just in the game at half-time and they emerged with far more purpose after the break.

Buckley-Ricketts came agonisingly close to halving the deficit, but his low shot from 18 yards hit Marcin Bulka’s right-hand post, hit the goalkeeper on the back of the head and bounced clear.

It came in a five-minute spell where Ledson flashed a shot wide and Josh Ruffels tested Bulka with a low shot.

For the first time Chelsea’s youngsters were worried, but it was only brief.

Redan should have made it 3-0 when he headed over a cross from Castillo, who took matters into his own hands to kill the game on 64 minutes.

The 18-year-old from Amsterdam broke through a Martin challenge before curling a precise finish into the far corner from the edge of the box.

United’s night got worse with the sight of Jon Obika picking up an injury 15 minutes from time, before the game petered out.

Chelsea U21s (4-3-3): Bulka, James (Grant 72), Ampadu, Chalobah, Castillo, Sterling, Scott, Sammut, St Clair (Christie-Davies 81), Redan, Hudson-Odoi.

Unused subs: Cumming, Hazard, Colley, Maddox, McCormick.

Booked: Sammut.

Oxford Utd (3-4-1-2): Eastwood, Martin, Mousinho, Raglan, Tiendalli, Ledson, Ruffels, Ricardinho, Buckley-Ricketts, Van Kessel (Napa 66), Obika (Mehmeti 77).

Unused subs: Shearer, Williamson, Ashby, Xemi, Henry.

Booked: Ricardinho, Ledson, Raglan.

Referee: John Brooks (Leicestershire).

Attendance: Not given.