Writer: Al Billy
Date:Monday December 28 2009
Fulham once again suffer a defeat at Stamford Bridge, it looks like we`re just not destined to win there.
This time though we can feel more miffed than usual as our lads put on a superb performance to frustrate the current Premier League leaders.
But like I said, some things are just not meant to be.
As we suspected, Brede Hangeland wasn`t fit enough to play and his place, at the heart of the defence, was taken by young Chris Smalling.
The action got underway and with only four minutes played we were ahead courtesy of a strike from Zoltan Gera.
The goal came after Paul Konchesky caused confusion in a shaky home defence allowing Gera two bites of the apple to score. After missing the first he showed sublime skill to hook the ball in over his shoulder.
The travelling support went mad!
With the lion wounded you knew that Fulham would have to be at their defensive best to deny Chelsea, and they were.
Sheer hard work frustrated Chelsea and it gave the visiting support confidence to hear the home side being booed by their supporter`s.
Chelsea had chances, mainly through Didier Drogba, but some good saves from Schwarzer and some superb intercepting blocks from Baird, Smalling and Pantsil kept Fulham ahead.
1-0 to Fulham at half time and forty-five minutes away from a historic victory.
In the very first minute of the second half, Zamora had a fantastic chance to rub Chelsea`s noses in it with a second goal.
Carvalho made a hash of a long Schwarzer clearance and Zamora looked to have a great chance but his header hit Cech and we all held our hands in our heads.
From that moment on Chelsea poured forward relentlessly. It looked to be only a matter of time before our defensive dam was breached and that moment came in the seventy-third minute.
Ivanovic put in a high ball that Baird lost in the Stamford Bridge lights and Drogba powered his header past Schwarzer.
Never mind, a draw would still be a good result, or so we thought.
Two minutes later we were behind and in unfortunate circumstances. With the ball played into the danger area by a combination of Kalou and Sturridge, Smalling must have wanted the ground to swallow him up as the ball struck him and rolled into the net.
In all fairness he had no chance of getting out of the way but it will still linger in his mind on a day when he showed he is a classy defender and at top flight level.
Despite a few excursions forward and a few minor shakes in the home defence, it was not to be our day, but the boys should be proud of what they achieved and now we look forward to Swindon in the FA Cup.
Date:Monday December 28 2009
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