Fulham hold Chelsea to do Spurs and Newcastle a favour
21:57 09 April 2012
Premier League: Fulham 1 Chelsea 1
Fulham star Clint Dempsey scored late on to deny Chelsea the opportunity to go level on points with Tottenham and Newcastle.
It was the least the Whites deserved as they dominated possession in the main and could have won the game.
Like many derby games, neither Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer or Chelsea counterpart Petr Cech were severely tested often enough.
Indeed the only save either goalkeeper truly had to make in the first half was when the Czech Republic stopper dived well to tip Kerim Frei’s shot wide midway through the first half but the home side fell behind in controversial circumstances.
Frank Lampard fired the Blues in front from the penalty spot after Danny Murphy was deemed to have brought down Salomon Kalou.
But Chelsea conceded in the final 10 minutes for the fourth consecutive game as Dempsey headed home Damien Duff’s corner with eight minutes remaining.
The visitors had made six changes from the side that beat Wigan on Saturday, with star man Juan Mata taking his place on the bench and without the influence of the Spaniard, the Champions League chasers struggled to gain a foothold in the game.
Fulham had the first chance of note after 25 minutes as Dempsey fired the ball straight at Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech after excellent work from Mousa Dembele.
Moments later, Kerim Frei produced a scintillating run that had the Blues defenders at sixes and sevens and the Czech Republic stopper had to be at his best to tip the ball wide, diving low down to his right.
Yet Chelsea found themselves ahead in the final minute of the first half in controversial circumstances.
Danny Murphy was deemed to have brought down Salomon Kalou, despite replays suggesting that he played the ball.
Frank Lampard stepped up and despite Schwarzer diving the right way his penalty was too powerful for the Australian.
The Blues emerged for the second half galvanised by their lead and piled the pressure onto the Whites early in the second half and Raul Meireles fired over when well placed.
However, the Craven Cottage outfit rallied and continued to put their more famous neighbours under pressure.
The Blues defence held firm, despite a few clearances aimed for Row Z but Cech was only tested by a Dempsey shot which was straight at his body.
Yet the American finally forced Cech into a fantastic save from Duff’s corner with eight minutes but he was beaten from the resulting set piece.
The Irishman’s corner was perfectly flighted and the Texan leapt highest to head home with the ball taking a slight deflection off Gary Cahill to send the home fans into raptures.
Chelsea had recovered from conceding an equaliser in their last three games to scoring a winner but they failed to raise themselves for a fourth time.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Riise, Hangeland, Murphy (Etuhu 74), Duff, Hughes, Diarra (Sa 81), Frei (Kacaniklic 88), Dempsey, Dembele.
Substitutes Not Used: Stockdale, Kasami, Senderos, Briggs.
Goals: Dempsey 83
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Ramires (Drogba 83), Lampard, Torres, Mikel, Meireles (Mata 70), Kalou, Cahill, Terry, Bertrand.
Substitutes Not Used: Turnbull, Romeu, Malouda, Bosingwa, Sturridge.
Goals: Lampard 45 (pen)
Booked: Meireles, Cahill, Mikel
Referee: Mark Clattenburg.