Chelsea 1 Fulham 0
And so our abysmal Premier League away record continues.
Having not won at Stamford Bridge for thirty-one years and having not won, in the Premier League, on the road for what seems like an eternity, did we seriously expect to reverse that trend last night?
Mark Hughes, deprived of Carlos Salcido, as well as Zamora, gave a start to young Matthew Briggs in a line-up that, once again, saw Andrew Johnson on the bench.
The opening stages, at Stamford Bridge, were cagey with the home side intent on keeping the ball but not making any serious in-roads into breaching our defence.
But Fulham, keeping men behind the ball, were having trouble breaking out and troubling the current champions.
With thirty minutes completed we fell behind in dodgy circumstances. Didier Drogba appeared to collect a leg injury and went down in the box. Our defence momentarily stopped and before they could recover, Michael Essien had out-jumped everyone to head past Mark Schwarzer.
The goal was the last thing Fulham needed as Chelsea went on to dominate the half and Mark Hughes would have been grateful when half time came.
The second half saw Chelsea continue to press us back as they sought to get a vital second goal. Much to our surprise the home side missed chance after chance with Kalou being the biggest culprit.
Schwarzer, rumoured to be on the verge of signing a new two-year deal, produced a smart stop to deny Mikel and Matthew Briggs cleared a loose ball to safety after Schwarzer`s leg had taken the pace off the ball from an effort by Malouda.
As the half wore on Chelsea become nervous and Fulham could quite easily have snatched an equaliser.
Clint Dempsey produced a long range effort that the Stamford Bridge support were relieved didn`t ripple the net, Zoltan Gera produced a sparkling volley that produced an equally good save from Cech and a Dempsey overhead kick brought a few gaps from the traveling support but didn`t produce the desired result.
With four minutes of stoppage time announced, the game ended on a sour note when Essien, who had previously been booked, received a straight red card after what looked like a two-footed tackle on Clint Dempsey.
Just when will our away woes, in the Premier League, end - this weekend perhaps!
Vital Fulham on:
Vital Fulham on:
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