The Blues shared a point with rivals Fulham after an entertaining game at Cobham this morning - the draw means Chelsea remain unbeaten in the league this season.
The top two teams came togeher a didn't disappoint in putting on an entertaining contest, Fulham took the lead after 90 second through Ollie O'Neill against the run of play.
Charlie Wiggett got us back on level terms shortly after the restart as he scrambled the ball over the line following a succession of Blues corner kicks.
Fulham regained the lead against the run of play through substitute Jean-Pierre Tiehi who headed home from close range but Armando Broja made sure it didn't last long as he fired into the bottom corner for the last goal of the game.
Fulham got the game started in cold conditions under the winter sunshine in Cobham and it was the visitors broke the deadlock in this morning’s table-topping clash.
After a positive start from Chelsea which saw us enjoy plenty of the ball in the oppositions half, Fulham made their attack of the game count. There were just two minutes on the clock as Ollie O’Neill beat the offside trap and slotted home for the opener.
Our best chance in the first half came after 20 minutes, Broja’s deft touch sent Dion Rankine racing through on goal. Fulham’s ‘keeper, Damien Las, was quick off his line and made it hard for Rankine who got to the ball first but couldn’t connect cleanly enough to force it over the line. It was much better from the Blues who were still most threatening in attack.
Broja was seeing a lot of the ball and could only watch on as two chances went begging for him 10 minutes before the interval. The first routed from a quick counter-attack which found the forward in the centre circle, his half-long run preceded a powerful strike across goal which forced Las into a save.
The second came from the resulting corner, the Albania Under-21 international leaped highest from Marcel Lewis’ set-piece but the header agonisingly dropped the wrong side of the post. It was a frustrating end to the first half for Chelsea.
Ed Brand’s half-time team talk sparked confidence into the Blues who drew level 90 seconds after the restart. Rankine and Joe Haigh were involved as Chelsea forced a corner kick and as a result, Wiggett was on hand to bundle the ball home from close range. It was game on at 1-1.
Chelsea’s leveller seemed to leave the game wide open despite plenty of football still to be played. Fulham had two quick-fire chances squandered by Blues bodies – both fell to forward Jay Stansfield.
His first came after he sprinted beyond the defence and advanced towards goal with only Jake Askew to beat, the woodwork came to Chelsea’s rescue before Sam Iling-Junior cleared the lurking danger.
The second was just a matter of seconds later, after a game of pinball inside the box the ball fell to Stansfield who struck at goal but Dynel Simeu threw himself at the effort to again deny the visitors.
After an hour’s play, Brand introduced Myles Peart Harris and the midfielder got straight involved in the action but could only head wide following Iling-Junior’s centre.
In similar fashion to their first, Fulham retook the lead against the run of play - substitute Tiehi nodded his side ahead with just 20 minutes remaining. Chelsea’s hard work to get back into the game had been undone.
However Broja made sure the single goal deficit didn’t last long, four minutes to be exact as he slotted home his 10th of the league season from 12 yards. That goal meant we were back in the game and set up a tense final 14 minutes.
Neither team were settling for the point and Askew was called to action and made sure Fulham didn’t steal all three when captain Fabio Carvalho unleashed a strike from distance forcing the ‘keeper into an acrobatic stop. That proved to be the last of the action as the points were shared, the Blues reamin unbeaten and point behind league leaders Fulham.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Jake Askew; Dynel Simeu (c), Sam McClelland, Charlie Wiggett, Sam Iling-Junior (Josh Brooking 89); Lewis Bate, Xavier Simons; Marcel Lewis (George Nunn 81), Joe Haigh (Myles Peart Harris 61), Dion Rankine, Armando BrojaUnused subs: Ethan Wady, Bashir HumphreysBooked: Simons 35Scorers Wiggett 48, Broja 76
Fulham: Damien Lucas, Connor McAvoy, Idris Odutayo, Jon Page (Terry Ablade 86), Ibane Bowat, Luca Murphy, Ollie O’Neill, Adrion Pajaziti (Jean Pierre Tiehi 53), Jay Stansfield , Fabio Carvalho (c), Sylvester JasperUnused subs: Mac Chisholm, Mika Biereth,Jay WilliamsScorers O’Niell (2), Pierre Tiehi (72)
- Photography by Mark Sandom