Brave Addicks hold Chelsea
By Stephen Bateman
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Chelsea dropped their first home points of the season in a 1-1 draw with Charlton.
Chelsea dropped their first home points of the season in a 1-1 draw with Charlton on Sunday lunchtime.
After 19 minutes Eidur Gudjohnsen opened the scoring only for Marcus Bent to level a minute before the hour mark with a goal on his Charlton debut. Ricardo Carvalho was dismissed with nine minutes left but, despite a spirited display, The Addicks fell just short of causing one of the biggest upsets of the season.
Both sides made one change, with Damien Duff coming in to replace the suspended Arjen Robben for Chelsea, while Darren Ambrose came in for Shaun Bartlett as Alan Curbishley looked to match the opposition with a fluid 4-5-1 formation.
The visitors enjoyed plenty of possession during the opening exchanges as they looked to push Dennis Rommedahl and Darren Ambrose forward in support of Darren Bent, who was left to plough a lone furrow up front.
Chelsea soon fired a warning shot across the Charlton bows, however, as Gudjohnsen reacted first to a loose ball, picking out Joe Cole to set up a rapid-fire counter-attack. The former West Ham man then slipped a pass through for England colleague Frank Lampard to latch onto, only for linesman Andy Williams to raise his flag.
Shortly afterwards, Williams played a crucial role in awarding Chelsea's opener. Duff swung in a near post corner which was met by the head of Hernan Crespo. Charlton keeper Thomas Myhre failed to gather the ball, however, and Gudjohnsen was quickest to react.
Radostin Kishishev appeared to have completed a goal-line clearance, but the flag was already raised, prompting referee Steve Bennett to briefly check with his assistant before awarding the goal.
Two minutes later and Chelsea gave a tantalising glimpse of the exhilarating football that they are capable of producing. Cole used his trailing foot to clip a ball across to Lampard, who then executed a textbook overhead kick which whistled inches wide of the target.
Charlton started to look overwhelmed as the home side began dominating possession, the early goal seeming to have settled any lingering nerves. Crespo and Lampard both saw shots blocked and full back Asier Del Horno had a chance to extend the lead with a close-range header.
Moments after the restart Gudjohnsen almost grabbed his second of the afternoon. Chris Powell conceded a free-kick deep inside Charlton territory allowing Lampard to deliver a ball towards the Icelandic forward. But his header looped just over the bar as a rapidly back-peddling Myhre gasped a sigh of relief.
Bryan Hughes almost levelled with a snapshot from the edge of the area after a Carvalho header had fallen to him but, although his effort cleared a forest of legs inside the Chelsea area, it rolled agonisingly wide of Petr Cech's right-hand upright.
Charlton had suddenly begun stringing their passes together and on 58 minutes they stunned Stamford Bridge with an equaliser straight out of the blue. As Marcus Bent set sail for the Chelsea area, Ambrose lofted a ball over Terry and Carvalho, allowing the former Evertonian to loop a header high over a stranded Cech and into the empty net.
Jose Mourinho reacted by throwing on Shaun Wright-Phillips along with debutant Maniche and just after the hour mark the changes almost paid an instant dividend as Gudjohnsen created space on the edge of the area before blazing a shot just wide.
On 78 minutes Ambrose linked up with Marcus Bent once again, but this time he hit his shot high over the bar from 18 yards when he really should have done better. Three minutes later the likelihood of a shock result was increased when Carvalho headed for an early bath after receiving a second yellow card after a tackle from behind on Darren Bent.
The dismissal ensured a frenetic final ten minutes, and Ambrose had a great chance to put Charlton ahead after picking up a Darren Bent knockdown. However, with Cech rushing off his line, Ambrose could only hit his shot straight into him as the game swung like a pendulum.
With the visitors looking to have settled for a draw, Myhre got down well to deny Lampard in the closing stages but a share of the spoils reflected a keenly contested affair which neither team deserved to lose.
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|Chelsea||Team Statistics||Charlton Athletic|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||5|
|5||Shots off Target||4|