Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Monday August 24 2009
It`s almost twenty-four hours after we lost, without showing any real fight, to that lot down the road and I think I`m composed enough to do a match report.
After beating Amkar Perm, 3-1, on Thursday night, I`d hoped we could carry some of that momentum into the Chelsea game and possibly get some kind of reward in what was obviously going to be a tight tussle.
With the pole-axed Andrew Johnson not available, Roy Hodgson chose to give Damien Duff his Fulham Premier League debut and push Clint Dempsey up alongside Bobby Zamora.
With the sun beating down and some sort of cricket match going on across the other side of the river, the setting was perfect to be entertained by a rich, flowing performance.
In fact when Zoltan Gera threaded an enticing bal into the box that Clint Dempsey almost slotted home, despite getting the ball caught under his feet, I thought this could be our day.
I was wrong.
From that moment on we were pushed back by a Chelsea side that kept things narrow in midfield and relied on their full backs to provide the width. To be brutally honest it was only the fact that a sheer weight of numbers made the area so compact that kept us on an even keel.
Our visitors relied too much on long range shooting and when Schwarzer was tested there wasn`t really any power on the ball to trouble him. Sadly though, we never looked like creating anything apart form the odd cross that Cech easily claimed.
But with half time approaching I was optimistic that we`d go in all square but those hopes were dashed when Lampard and Anelka combined to send Drogba through. The African striker slotted past Schwarzer and we were 1-0 down.
At half time I hoped that Roy would pump his men up that they`d come out with a bit more passion and a bit more drive but it didn`t appear so, if they were gamblers they looked as if they`d been given a duff hand (no pun intended) and were looking at a losing hand.
Chelsea continued to control matters and when the sum total of our efforts came to two corners in quick succession I knew we were in trouble. Seeing Danny Murphy limp off only rubbed salt in the wounds and when Hodgson shuffled the pack, pushing Nevland up front you kind of knew that they`d strike with venom.
A minute after coming on Nevland could only watch as Anelka rounded Schwarzer and slotted home, at 2-0 we were dead and buried. We were, on that performance, unlikely to come back from 1-0 down but at 2-0 we were as dead as those Australian Ashes dreams that were dying across the other side of the Thames.
Not a day I`ll remember footy-wise!
Date:Monday August 24 2009
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