With eight goals, it seems churlish to
complain that Spurs missed one right at the death, but it would have
been a fitting comeback and some recompense for the appalling refereeing
of the game by Riley, who spoiled a perfectly good game.
Well, that and the fact that I have never
seen a 5-4 to Spurs in a competitive match, so I was robbed of that and
Tottenham of two more points, which would have come in handy for us and
would have left Chelsea out of the title race.
When Spurs conceded an early free-kick in
the territory that Drogba scored from at Wembley, it looked ominous.
But the wall did it's job and blocked the shot, even though the Chelsea
striker wanted handball, when it hit someone's head. When it was
crossed back into the six yard box, it found Jenas running back towards
his own goal and Drogba coming in behind him to head home. The
early goal caught Spurs lacking concentration to defend the second phase
of the attack.
It looked like it might be a long night,
especially when Robinson dived to keep out Drogba's low shot, but could
only push it out to Joe Cole, who netted, only to find himself flagged
(rightly) offside by the linesman.
Jermaine Jenas was getting the bird for
not making the most of a couple of free-kicks we had, one hit too long
and one not clearing the first man, but his third was lucky. As
his 12th minute cross reached the centre of the goalmouth,
Jonathan Woodgate rose so high it looked as if he must have taken a ride
on Drogba's back, but his header was firm enough to leave keeper
In a game that was surprisingly open for
a London derby, Chelsea almost went back into the lead when Joe Cole's
low ball across the face of goal was missed by Kalou with the goal at
his mercy in front of him. It was only temporary respite, as Joe
Cole ran at the Tottenham defence, in the 25th minute who backed off him
and allowed him to play the ball to Drogba who looked offside, while
Essien snatched the ball off the striker's toe and lifted the ball over
the advancing Robinson
Jenas had been relatively quiet on the
ball, but his run into the area ended with his shot hitting Drogba, who
needed treatment for about the nineteenth time), then he was left on the
floor when Lumpoflard hacked him down, only for Riley to wave play on.
When the ball ended up with Drogba and his shot was saved with a dive by
Robinson, it might have been a time for the referee to take come action.
Chelsea seemed to have lost their rag and Mr. Girls Aloud perpetrated a
high and late assault on Alan Hutton just before half time.
Chelsea players gathered around the official, the Dutch Chelsea coach
started getting a bit over-heated and Cole was finger pointing all over
the place. A yellow card resulted, which was not the correct
decision by Riley, whatever he says or does.
The break might have acted to allow some
of the players to be last.
As the ball was worked across the
Tottenham goal. Spurs failed to intercept and when it reached Joe Cole
on the right of the area, with 51 minutes gone, he dinked his shot off
the keeper and into the net.
1-3 down looked like the game was going
to Chelsea but things started to turn around when, on the hour,
Huddlestone played a corner into the area and Berbatov rose highest,
leaving Terry humiliated and Cudicini out of position who could only try
to reach it after it looped up and over him to pull a goal back.
Riley continued to give free-kicks and
one a couple of minutes after the goal was scored, it was a flop on the
right wing that saw Chelsea given another free-kick. It almost
completed the argument about the destination of the points, but rumours
that Drogba has to be held up at the toilet, least he should crash onto
the porcelain looked like they might be true, as he hits the turf more
regularly than Red Rum's hooves in it's racing days.
As the Ivory Coast forward smashed it at
goal from the Chelsea right wing, it felt like it would go in, as the
game was going that way for Spurs. However, Robbo palmed the
free-kick away to a point outside the box and the trouble passed.
The ball moved to the Chelsea end and
when Berbatov supplied Keane, the striker took the ball down and spun to
hit a shot that Cudicini was quickly out to block the effort.
Still the game ebbed and flowed, with the ball moving swiftly from one
end to the other, Essien played a pass to Joe Cole, who measured his
shot, but it thudded back off the post and out of harm's way. Then
Lennon broke to set up Malbranque, who pulled his shot wide.
Changes were starting to be made and
Ledley King made way for Darren Bent, leaving Robbie Keane to drop a
little deeper, while Chelsea took off Kalou for Alex as they sought to
sit on their lead. Perhaps Spurs got the better of the change,
with the ability to push onto another defender, with one man taken out
of the visitor's attack.
Huddlestone broke onto a through pass and
sensing a Terry "challenge" coming, evaded the tackle and got a booking
for his trouble. Keane's move almost paid off, with a run into the
area to get on the end of Berbatov's through pass, although Robbie
failed to connect with the ball.
Again, it was only two minutes until the
chance came. A corner on the left was taken by Aaron Lennon, but
it was headed out and dropped for Hud on the right hand side of the
penalty box. Tom took a moment to steady himself and drilled a
shot back past the defender and keeper to hit the inside of the net on
the other side of the goal.
Coming back level with 15 minutes left
meant that there was still time for more goals and unfortunately, the
net one went to the Pensioners. A free-kick came to nothing and
the ball was cleared for a throw-in. From this the defenders lost
their concentration and the ball was laid into Joe Cole's path to hit s
shot that Robinson could not save.
Spurs fans were gutted and Chelsea's
started giving it large.
When they brought Michael Ballack on for
Joe Cole, the main threat disappeared. A sustained period of
pressure built up on the Chelsea goal and Cudicini prevented Darren Bent
converting Woodgate's flick on, but gave away one of ten corners we had
to Chelsea's one !!
With only two minutes left on the clock,
a long ball hit Ferreira and as it fell, Robbie Keane swivelled and
struck a well controlled half-lob. As it arced over Cudicini, the
crowd were ecstatic and the policy of sitting on what they had was
starting to go sour on Chelsea. it was a marvellously improvised
piece of finishing and while Keano might not be a goal poacher, he is a
supreme goal taker.
It was time for Grant to panic and bring
on Shevchenko for Ferreira, but the move hardly saw the Russian touch
the ball. Spurs kept pressing on and using the right wing, they
made inroads in wide positions. As the game went into the final
minute of time added on, Lennon's run at the defence, followed by a
back-heel to Malbranque saw the midfielder feed Berbatov. Dimitar
held the ball, dragged it away as Alex slid into a tackle and missed.
He stood with only the goalie between him and an unlikely winning goal,
eight yards out. But Cudicini stood firmly in his set position,
waiting until the last moment to move, so that the forward has to make
the first move. The keeper did well, as Berbatov fired a shot on
goal, but it was far too close to him and the ball came out off a very
strong hand Cudicini and the final whistle blew.
If only ... but a point before the game
would have been welcomed and even more so at 1-3 down, so we felt as
though we had lost, while still feeling like we had won. if that
makes any sense.
The benefits are that we have come out of
the game with a point against a top three side and shown good character.
If only we could stop letting the goals go in in the first place.
With Pompey coming to the Lane on
Saturday, I guess it would be more goals again !! Hopefully more
in the right end than the wrong one.
THE HEATHROW SPUR