Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bent goal knocks Eider Down

Chelsea 1 Charlton Athletic 1

Carling Cup? Premiership? Same score. Jose Mourinho won't be able to claim that the result wasn't real for this one, as Charlton became the first team not to lose a Premiership fixture at Stamford Bridge this season, and repeated their Carling Cup feat of securing a 1-1 draw against the competition holders.

The goalscorers (pictured left) were Eider Gudjohnsen and Marcus Bent; Chelsea took the lead in the first half from their first corner, but Charlton equalised in the second half with a well-worked move that ended with Marcus Bent heading over Peter Cech.

The official match report is here.

New-signing Bent came on as sub just before half time for Dennis Rommedahl, who was cleaned out by team-mate Luke Young when they both challenged for a high ball. Our Danish winger suffered a kick to the thigh and a back injury too, and couldn't continue after treatment.

Curbs made one change to the team that beat Birmingham last week - Darren Ambrose replacing Shaun Bartlett after a switch to 4-5-1 formation. Ambrose had a good game and was man-of-the-match according to Sky Sports.

At times, it was backs to the wall, and after Chelsea scored after 18 minutes, the writing really was on the wall for the Addicks. However, hard work, passion, commitment and no little skill, combined with Chelsea's tendency to over-play meant that Charlton came more and more into the game.

It helped that the FA had asked two Fulham supporters to be linesmen, as this evened up the balance of having a Palace supporter as the referee.

When Carvallho was sent off for his second bookable offence shortly after Charlton's equaliser, it looked as if an away win may have been secured. Darren Bent and Darren Ambrose both had chances to win the match, but it wasn't to be.

The whole Charlton team played well, though Chris Powell had a particularly tough game handling first Joe Cole, then Shaun Wright-Philips. The midfield (Holland, Hughes, and Kishishev) did exceptionally well in keeping Lampard and Gudjohnsen quiet for most of the game. This was a real team effort that secured Charlton's second Premiership draw of the season.

Next weekend, Charlton get a break from the Premiership, and take on Orient at The Valley. On this showing, there is only one outcome, but we know that Cup football isn't that predictable. Orient will be as much the underdogs next week as Charlton were today.

Tomorrow, rafts of Charlton supporters will go to work with smiles on their faces; we didn't beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this time, but a point is the next best thing, and it shows that the Cup win was no fluke.

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