Leaving it late
Inside Blue Thu 21 Dec 2017
Alvaro Morata became the latest Chelsea player to make himself a late hero in a Carabao Cup tie against opposition from the South Coast.
The Blues booked our place in the semi-finals of a competition which offers the first major silverware in the domestic season thanks to a dramatic win over Bournemouth.
It looked as though a fabulous early goal from Willian would be enough to send us through, but the Cherries fought back to level in the last minute of the 90 through Dan Gosling.
The Spanish striker isn’t the only man to strike late to settle a tie against a side from the South Coast, though.
We took on Southampton in the second round of the competition in 1981/82 and after two legs and 180 minutes, there was nothing to separate the two sides. Indeed, the Second Division Blues could actually consider that alone to be a success, considering we were up against a fine Southampton side who had Kevin Keegan in their ranks.
There was a twist to come in extra time, though, as Mike Fillery settled a thrilling tie and made himself a League Cup hero in the process. His moment of glory was quickly forgotten as, in typical Chelsea fashion of the era, tumbled out in the next round against Wigan Athletic.
A few years later we travelled to Fratton Park for a third-round replay against Portsmouth, and on this occasion we needed more than one hero. Bobby Campbell’s Blues looked certain to be heading for the exit as we trailed Pompey 2-0 shortly after the half-time break, and we went into the final 10 minutes looking for a miracle.
It duly arrived via quick-fire goals from David Lee and Dennis Wise, the latter netting from the penalty spot, but it’s Kevin Wilson who took the plaudits. The underrated forward with a legendary moustache raced through on goal to score a scruffy winner in stoppage time.
Unfortunately, despite a stunning win over Tottenham in the quarter-finals, we were denied a trip to Wembley after a disappointing two-legged performance against Sheffield Wednesday in the last four.
That wouldn’t be the case in 1997/98, however, when Southampton were the visitors to Stamford Bridge. Remarkably, our run to League Cup glory that season saw us go to extra-time four times, including in the final, and we required penalty shoot-outs to see off Blackburn Rovers and Ipswich Town.
Sandwiched in between those ties was a meeting with the Saints which also looked set for penalties until Jody Morris intervened late on. The midfielder, who now coaches our Under-18s, took a lay-off from Mark Hughes and curled an absolute beauty into the back of the net to send us into the next round.