Chelsea hang on for win
Blues battle for home win
By Peter Fraser. Last Updated: 25/08/07 6:20pm
Lampard: Chelsea winner
Chelsea stretched their unbeaten home record to 65 games, but they were forced to fight all the way in a 1-0 win over Portsmouth.
Once again it was Frank Lampard who made the difference as he collected his third goal in as many games in the 31st minute to settle a tight match.
The England midfielder raced onto a knock-down from Didier Drogba and drove a low shot past David James in the Pompey goal from 18 yards.
Pompey had enjoyed the better of the opportunities in a flat opening half hour, and it was only a fine Michael Essien challenge which denied them the lead when the Ghanaian international excellently blocked John Utaka.
In the second half Portsmouth continued to suggest they could conjure an equaliser as Chelsea were forced to hang on for much of the time.
Sean Davis should have done better when presented with a good opportunity following close skills from Nwankwo Kanu and then Pompey knew it was not to be their day as Hermann Hreidarsson saw a late goalbound header cleared off the line by Ashley Cole.
Chelsea began in their customary attacking fashion and almost took a first-minute lead when Claudio Pizarro sent a low drive just beyond the reach of James and his right-hand upright.
In the 10th minute, the home side put together another fine move, with Pizarro and Florent Malouda combining on the left-flank.
However, Malouda's left-foot shot from an acute angle could only find the side-netting.
Two minutes later, a free-kick from Malouda almost paid dividends for the home side but Pizarro's header was just too high to trouble James.
Chelsea found themselves having to defend for the first time in the game and, in the 23rd minute, Pompey almost went ahead.
Matt Taylor found himself with time and space in the penalty area and his curling shot deflected inches wide of Petr Cech's far post.
Moments later, Lauren tried his luck from distance but his effort failed to trouble Cech.
But Chelsea broke the deadlock in the 31st minute thanks to
Lampard, although the goal owed much to the bravery of Didier Drogba, who collected a kick in the face for his efforts as he found Lampard with a flick-on.
Lampard ran clear of the Pompey defence to drive the ball under James. The England keeper should really have done better but, although he got a hand to the drive, he could not prevent it going in.
It was the signal for Chelsea to increase the pace and moments later Shaun Wright-Phillips skied an 18-yard effort high over the crossbar.
It was all Chelsea now and in the 42nd minute Wright-Phillips almost managed to get on the end of a cross from Drogba.
But the diminutive winger could not anticipate the flight of the ball adequately.
Moments later, Lampard almost made it two but James was equal to his quickly-taken free-kick and managed to save comfortably.
Chelsea began where they left off and a clever move involving Malouda and Drogba ended with Wright-Phillips shooting just wide of the target from the edge of the penalty area.
A minute later, Portsmouth should have equalised when Davis collected a neat pass from Kanu only to fire over the crossbar from eight yards.
The visitors squandered another opportunity in the 58th minute when a counter-attack caught Chelsea's defence napping but Gary O'Neil could not find the target from the edge of the penalty area when presented with a clear shot at goal.
Portsmouth continued to push for an equaliser but Cech gathered the ball safely when Sylvain Distin looked to prosper from Sully Muntari's long ball into the penalty area in the 67th minute.
Yet, Chelsea showed they were very much in charge when Malouda sent a 20-yard effort just inches wide two minutes later.
James was at his best to prevent Drogba from adding a second goal fives minutes from time when he took advantage of a fine pass from Malouda to deliver a stinging drive which the Pompey keeper did well to hold on to.
But Chelsea were lucky to escape three minutes from time when a header from Hreidarsson was blocked on the line by Ashley Cole.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||1|
|10||Shots off Target||13|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Bromwich Albion||1||1|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||1||0|
|18||West Ham United||1||0|