Fabulous Foster denies Chelsea
Lee Bowyer scores winner in epic clash at St Andrews
By James Riach. Last Updated: 20/11/10 6:05pm
Foster: Heroic display
Birmingham City held on for a remarkable 1-0 win over champions Chelsea in the Premier League, following a heroic display from goalkeeper Ben Foster and the entire defence.
Still smarting from their humbling at home to Sunderland last weekend, the Londoners travelled to the Midlands looking to right the wrongs of their previous outing, but time and time again they were thwarted by Foster.
Lee Bowyer scored the only goal of the game in the 17th minute - latching on to a Cameron Jerome knock-down and finishing coolly past Petr Cech with his left foot.
It proved to be their last shot on target as in a scene akin to the Alamo, Birmingham set their stall out to defend their goal as if their lives depended on it.
Didier Drogba hit the crossbar with a header in the first half, but it was epic stuff from Roger Johnson, Scott Dann and in particular Foster, that condemned Chelsea to three league defeats in four games.
Chelsea were quickly into their stride and Salomon Kalou missed an early chance to put them ahead.
Drogba's flick found Kalou with only Foster to beat but his shot went through the legs of the keeper and just past the post.
Foster made a fine save to keep Birmingham on level terms after Drogba was sent clear by Kalou.
It was the kind of chance Drogba would normally convert but Foster raced off his line to reduce the angle and saved low to his left.
Chelsea had quickly established a grip of the game and were taking advantage of having an extra midfield player.
But Birmingham stunned Chelsea by taking the lead via their first worthwhile attack after 17 minutes.
Sebastian Larsson's right-wing cross was headed down by Jerome to Bowyer who was completely unmarked and lashed the ball past Cech for his first goal of the season.
Chelsea tried to retaliate and Foster went down to his right to hold onto Drogba's effort from the right of the box.
He then made a superb reflex save to keep out Drogba's close-range header from Nicolas Anelka's centre.
Chelsea continued to dominate and Foster again did well to beat out an Ashley Cole shot after he had seized onto a pass from Kalou.
Chelsea were carving chances almost at will and Alex had a free header from Florent Malouda's corner but directed it past the post.
Drogba tried his luck with a low 30-yard free-kick and Foster was again alert to turn it around the post.
But he was helpless after 38 minutes when Drogba crashed a header against the crossbar from Malouda's cross.
Ramires was first to react to the rebound but from eight yards out slashed his shot wide.
Chelsea continued in the same manner after the break although there were less clear-cut openings.
Johnson produced a superb tackle to stop Ramires after his run into the box and needed treatment to his knee before being able to continue.
Kalou had Chelsea's best chance to date of the second period when turning back inside but he curled his shot over the bar with Foster off his line.
Carlo Ancelotti brought on Jose Bosingwa in place of Paulo Ferreira after 65 minutes.
The chances started to come again for the visitors with Foster holding onto a Drogba free-kick and Kalou heading wide from Anelka's cross.
Scott Dann's backpass played in Kalou but Foster took the ball away from his feet with a perfectly timed challenge.
Foster parried aside a Branislav Ivanovic header as the pressure again became relentless.Liam Ridgewell was yellow carded for bringing down Bosingwa but Chelsea could not find a way through.
|Birmingham City||Team Statistics||Chelsea|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|1||Shots on Target||9|
|1||Shots off Target||15|
Barclays Premier League
|4||West Ham United||17||31|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||17||17|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||17||17|