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Published : 01 Aug 2009 18:24:59Rss feed
Chelsea, Manchester City, Blackburn and Stoke were all held by lower league opponents on a busy afternoon of pre-season action. Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti fielded a strong side against Reading but had to come from behind to escape with a 2-2 draw. Jimmy Kebe's strike and Scott Davies' free-kick put the Royals in command before half-time, even though the Blues had posed plenty of problems. Salomon Kalou slotted home in the 89th minute to reduce Chelsea's arrears and there was a dramatic late equaliser as Alex Pearce turned Florent Malouda's cross into his own net. Kolo Toure hobbled out of his Manchester City debut after an hour as Mark Hughes' side played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Barnsley. City enjoyed long periods of dominance but substitute Daniel Bogdanovic was allowed room chase down a long ball and fire past Shay Given with seven minutes remaining, before Martin Petrov grabbed an 88th minute equaliser. Toure was withdrawn following a tangle defending a Barnsley corner, but did not appear to be in great discomfort as he went down the tunnel. Lorik Cana and Fraizer Campbell made their first Sunderland appearances in a 2-1 victory over Celtic. The Scottish side were looking for a confidence-boosting performance after losing the first leg of their UEFA Champions League qualifying tie to Dinamo Moscow on Wednesday. However, goals either side of the break from Kieran Richardson and Kenwyne Jones gave the Black Cats a two-goal cushion, before Marc Crosas netted late on for Celtic. Stoke were denied their first pre-season victory as Derby salvaged a late 2-2 draw thanks to Arnaud Mendy's acrobatic effort. Liam Lawrence's deflected strike had given the Premier League side an early lead before Stephen Pearson levelled four minutes after the break. Ricardo Fuller's 65th-minute strike looked to have won the match for Stoke but Mendy scored with a stunning scissor-kick. Blackburn were also held to a 2-2 draw, as Sheffield Wednesday fought back from two goals down at Hillsborough. Ryan Nelsen and Jason Roberts fired Rovers into what looked to be a comfortable lead after just 21 minutes. Akpo Sodje got one back for Wednesday moments later and Marcus Tudgay netted the leveller from close range in the second half. Wigan's preparations for the new season suffered a setback at Carrow Road as they lost 3-2 to Norwich. The Latics went in front after just nine minutes through Charles N'Zogbia's cool finish, but the impressive Canaries were back on level terms before the break as Chris Martin sidefooted home Jon Otsemobor's cross after some poor defending on the right. Cho Won-hee produced a superb finish to put Wigan in front again but the hosts had the final word, equalising through Martin's second goal of the game and then grabbing a winner after 76 minutes when Simon Whaley slipped the ball past keeper Mike Pollitt. Nottingham Forest beat Birmingham 2-1 courtesy of goals from David McGoldrick and Robert Earnshaw, with Lee Carsley's effort mere consolation for Alex McLeish's men. Fellow Premier League new boys Burnley slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Leeds despite David Edgar's late strike. The damage had already been done by goals from Mike Grella and Andy Robinson. Elsewhere, Preston won 3-1 at Hibernian, Blackpool overcame Oldham 4-2, Peterborough beat Oxford 3-0 and Queens Park Rangers cruised to a 3-0 victory over Southampton. Middlesbrough were held to a 1-1 draw by Millwall, Scunthorpe were shocked 2-0 by Brighton, while Watford claimed an impressive 3-2 success against Parma. Swansea thumped Kilmarnock 4-1, while Bristol City were 3-1 winners at home to Wycombe. Charlton saw off Bournemouth 2-1, Dagenham & Redbridge edged out Leyton Orient 1-0, Barnet beat Ebbsfleet 3-1 and Bury lost 2-1 to Fleetwood. Lincoln hammered Goole 4-0, Brentford triumphed 3-0 over Hayes & Yeading, while Walsall battled to a 1-0 win at Hereford. Chesterfield lost 1-0 to Kettering, Morecambe were defeated by the same scoreline at home to Barrow, Rochdale crushed Southport 4-1 and Gillingham beat Thurrock 1-0. Tranmere and Shrewsbury played out a 1-1 draw, Bradford and Carlisle shared six goals, Huddersfield recorded a 3-1 victory at Wrexham and Yeovil scored three against Tiverton without reply.