Chelsea 2 Toon 2
Newcastle took the game to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and came away with a worthy point. CHELSEA 2 TOON 2 CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Cole, Ramires (Malouda 64), McEachran (Essien 64), Lampard, Anelka, Benayoun (Drogba 64), Torres.Subs Not Used: Turnbull, David Luiz, Mikel, Ferreira. NEWCASTLE: Krul, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Gutierrez (Ranger 76), Barton, Ryan Taylor, Ferguson (LuaLua 69), Shola Ameobi,Lovenkrands (Sammy Ameobi 82).Subs Not Used: Soderberg, Smith, Tavernier, Kuqi. Att: 41,739 Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea looked a touch downcast as Man Utd took the Premier League title out of their grasp a day earlier, but take nothing away from Alan Pardew's side ... who had nothing to play for but pride. So often end-of season fixtures fizzle out without any pop, but Newcastle never gave up the ghost and twice bounced back from defensive howlers that gifted the Blues the lead. Without doubt, the signing of Fernando Torres was a £50m disaster, because it upset the balance of the side when they looked to be likely champions. The Blues haven't looked the same side since. But Coloccini (despite gifting Chelsea an early lead) looked class for the next 88 minutes, and Jose Enrique showed why Paul Merson has named him as "one of the finest left-back in the world". It was a fine Newcastle performance, and one that brings hope for the Toon fans who see this season of "consolidation" as a stepping stone for better things. In what could be his final home game in charge, Ancelotti's team started the brighter when Branislav Ivanovic scored inside two minutes. But Jonas Gutierrez soon levelled after deflecting in Ryan Taylor's free-kick with his arse! Alex headed the Blues back in front late on, but Steven Taylor was left unmarked in the penalty area to snatch a draw at the death. Despite Ancelotti's claiming Didier Drogba and Torres could play together, he decided against it and went with the under-fire former Liverpool striker. Frank Lampard's corner flicked on by Torres for Ivanovic to volley home. In the ninth minute Alex gave the ball straight to Peter Lovenkrands and John Terry tripped the striker, earning a booking. Making a rare start, Ryan Taylor struck the free-kick, which took a huge deflection off Gutierrez and flew past the wrong-footed Petr Cech. If that was unlucky for Chelsea, they were fortunate in the 16th minute when Shola Ameobi beat Cech in the air and the striker's goalbound header was cleared. The hosts also enjoyed a let-off when Ramires lunged horribly at Danny Simpson but failed to earn even a booking. A crucial interception from Alex cut out a dangerous Shane Ferguson cross, while Ryan Taylor went close to deflecting the ball into his own net at the other end after Ashley Cole's centre sparked panic. But as the half wore on, Chelsea began to look like a side that had not played together before as Newcastle more than matched them. The hosts' passing was sloppy, while Torres' inability to hold the ball up was not helping and it appeared only a matter of time before Drogba entered the fray. Torres wasted a good crossing chance immediately after the restart as his touch began to desert him, with any confidence he might have gained from ending his goal drought last month appearing to have evaporated. Cole saw a header deflected behind and Ramires flashed wide from 30 yards, although Newcastle remained a threat and Gutierrez looped a header straight into Cech's arms and also curled too close to the goalkeeper from 25 yards. Lampard had just been booked for going straight through the back of Joey Barton and Ivanovic soon followed suit for tripping the impressive Ferguson. The resulting Taylor free-kick was clutched by Cech, despite the looming presence of Ameobi. With a little more than 25 minutes remaining, Ancelotti abandoned his experiment, introducing Drogba, Florent Malouda and Michael Essien for McEachran, Ramires and Benayoun. Newcastle then lost Ferguson to injury, Kazenga LuaLua coming on. A brilliant Drogba free-kick evaded everyone and Simpson was carded for a foul on Essien as Chelsea tried to crank up the pressure. Cole made a hash of a glorious Drogba lay-off before Terry headed over under pressure. Newcastle introduced Nile Ranger for Gutierrez and they went close themselves when Lovenkrands' overhead kick screwed off target, the forward immediately replaced by Ameobi's younger brother Samuel. But that 83rd-minute change came during a Chelsea free-kick which set up the home side's second goal, Lampard crossing and Alex leaping above Tim Krul to head home and net for the first time since October. Ryan Taylor almost levelled in stoppage-time before namesake Steven did, taking advantage of slack marking to nod in Ranger's header back across goal.
Related Newcastle United News