MATCH REPORT: BRENTFORD 2 CHELSEA 2
The Blues are still alive in the FA Cup, but if we are to secure our place in the fifth round we will have to get the better of Brentford in a replay at Stamford Bridge after a 2-2 draw at Griffin Park.
Our defence of the trophy looked in jeopardy at times, but we showed good character to fight back on two occasions in a frenetic west London derby.
Brentford had taken the lead four minutes before half-time when Marcello Trotta scored from close-range, but when Oscar levelled 10 minutes into the second half with an exquisite strike, the balance of the game looked to be turning.
The home side, however, were back in front in the 71st minute when Harry Forrester scored from the penalty spot after Ross Turnbull had brought down Tom Adeyemi, but to our credit, we hit back for a second time with a wonderful curling effort by Fernando Torres seven minutes from time.
It's now another game in what was already a hectic fixture schedule, and our immediate attention will now turn to a trip to Reading on Wednesday in the Premier League.
John Terry made his first start for the Blues since November as Rafael Benitez rang the changes from the side which drew at Swansea in midweek.
The captain returned to partner Gary Cahill in the centre of defence, while Ross Turnbull came in for the injured Petr Cech in goal and Branislav Ivanovic replaced Cesar Azpilicueta at right-back, the Spaniard dropping down to the bench.
Ramires and Frank Lampard retained their places as the two deep-lying midfielders, and ahead of them, Marko Marin and Ryan Bertrand came in for the suspended Eden Hazard and the rested Juan Mata, who started on the bench.
In attack, Fernando Torres was given the nod ahead of Demba Ba.
David Luiz missed the game through injury, while there was a place on the bench for Yossi Benayoun, who hadn't featured for the club since the opening day of last season.
It was Chelsea who fashioned the first opening of the game inside the opening four minutes. Terry picked out Oscar, who in turn found the advancing Ashley Cole, but the left-back's inviting delivery had just too much pace on it for Fernando Torres who was making his way into the penalty area.
Oscar, playing through the middle in the absence of Mata, looked lively early on, and he was unlucky to see a shot fizz inches past Simon Moore's right-hand post moments later.
The home side were struggling to impose themselves in the opening stages, but they were handed a great opportunity in the 12th minute when Terry, under pressure from Clayton Donaldson, passed the ball back to Turnbull conceding a free-kick right on the edge of the box.
The skipper, though, breathed a sigh of relief as Forrester blasted high over the bar.
With the wind blowing right across Griffin Park, the game was developing into a pretty even contest as passes from both teams went astray and clear-cut opportunities proved hard to come by.
We were seeing plenty of the ball, but Uwe Rosler will have been delighted at the manner in which his side had limited our attacking threat during the first 25 minutes.
The attacking trio of Marin, Oscar and Bertrand tucked in behind Torres hadn't played together prior to the game, and aside from a few moments of inventiveness by the Brazilian, they were struggling to influence proceedings.
It was Brentford who came closest to breaking the deadlock just after the half-hour mark when the ball was worked inside to Adam Forshaw, who sent a curling effort narrowly wide with Turnbull beaten.
Four minutes before the break, however, a disappointing half took a turn for the worse when the hosts took the lead.
Forrester dispossessed Lampard on the edge of the box and saw his shot parried by Turnbull, but the rebound fell invitingly into the path of Trotta who smashed his effort into the back of the net to send the home fans delirious.
It proved to be the last action of any note in the first half, and Benitez had much to ponder during the half-time break.
The Blues came out for the second half with Mata introduced at the expense of Marin, with the substitute playing through the middle and Oscar moving out to the right.
There appeared to be more urgency about our play, particularly in the final third, with Mata, as he has been for much of the season, pulling the strings.
Within 10 minutes of the restart we were level, and it was a goal fit to grace the biggest stage.
Oscar picked the ball up on the edge of the Brentford penalty area, and the youngster displayed wonderful technique to evade two challenges before bending his shot into the top corner beyond the despairing dive of Moore.
A minute later, Mata went close to giving us the lead, racing into the box to meet Cole's cross, only to be denied by the outstretched leg of Moore.
Brentford responded well to our equaliser, and 19 minutes from time they were awarded a penalty.
Substitute Adeyemi raced in behind the Blues defence, and as he nudged the ball past the advancing Turnbull, the goalkeeper brought him down, leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot.
The home supporters called for Turnbull to be dismissed, but to our relief only a yellow card was produced.
Forrester was the man entrusted with taking the kick, and he restored their advantage by drilling his strike into the bottom corner of the net.
Having worked our way back into the game once, we were now up against it again, but this time with the clock ticking down.
Almost from the restart we poured forward, and after Mata had driven the ball across the face of the goal, Lampard was desperately unlucky to see his overhead kick saved by Moore.
Shortly after, Azpilicueta, who had come on for Ivanovic, crossed to the far-post, where Bertrand rose highest but headed over the bar, and it was to be his last involvement as moments later he was replaced by Demba Ba.
With the home supporters beginning to celebrate, and the Blues desperate for some good fortune, the equaliser came with seven minutes left to play.
Ba did well to win the ball back, and after he hooked it into the path of Torres, the Spaniard did the rest, expertly curling his strike into the far corner from just outside the box.
As time ticked away we pressed forward in an attempt to steal a late winner, and could have a penalty when a Mata cross was stopped by the hand of close-by defender, but the League One side stood firm, and we will now need to do it all over again.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Turnbull; Ivanovic (Azpilicueta 79), Cahill, Terry (c), Cole; Ramires, Lampard; Marin (Mata h/t) Oscar, Bertrand (Ba 81); Torres
Unused substitutes: Hilario, Ferreira, Ake, Benayoun
Scorers Oscar 55, Torres 82
Booked Cahill 44, Turnbull 71
Brentford (4-5-1): Moore; Hodson, Dean, Craig, Logan; Donaldson, Forshaw (Saunders 84), Diagouraga, Douglas (c), Forrester (Barron 79); Trotta (Adeyemi 70)
Unused substitutes: Lee, Dallas, Reeves, Hayes.
Scorers Trotter 42, Forrester 72 (pen)
Referee Jonathan Moss