Blues edge past Terriers
Huddersfield gave Chelsea a scare at Stamford Bridge but the cup holders are safely through after a 3-1 win.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 16/02/08 5:10pm
Huddersfield gave Chelsea a scare at Stamford Bridge but the cup holders are safely through to the quarter-finals after a 3-1 win.
Chelsea dominated possession throughout the first half but struggled to break through a resolute Terriers defence.
Frank Lampard did give the home side the lead on 18 minutes, stroking the ball into the bottom corner following good work down the right by Scott Sinclair, but the Blues were largely restricted to efforts from long range.
Huddersfield had their moments in the first period and Nathan Clarke saw an effort cleared off the line by John Terry before Michael Collins snatched an eqauliser right on half-time.
James Berrett lifted a delightful ball over the top of Chelsea's backline and Collins stole in at the back post to calmly slot his effort past a helpless Carlo Cudicini.
Avram Grant's side looked far more comfortable after the break and it came as no surprise when they restored their lead on the hour mark.
Delightful one-touch football on the edge of the box saw Lampard break into space and, after seeing his first effort saved, he was first to react to the rebound allowing him to slide into an empty net.
Ten minutes later the result was put beyond doubt when Salomon Kalou latched onto a Lampard pass, rounded Clarke and bundled in a third.
Chelsea could have been in front as early as the sixth minute when Kalou, one of four players back from Africa Cup of Nations duty, crossed for Sinclair to try to curl the ball beyond Matthew Glennon in the Town goal.
Sinclair would have been successful if it had not been for the quick-thinking Robbie Williams, whose clearance demonstrated Town had the determination to handle that kind of pressure.
Predictably, it was all Chelsea in the early stages of the contest and Steve Sidwell should have done better with an 18-yard drive in the 15th minute but he sent his effort high over the crossbar.
The opener arrived in the 18th minute and it was Lampard's 100th goal for the club.
Sinclair's low cross from the right wing eluded the retreating Town defence and the ball fell invitingly for the England midfielder to drill a low right-foot shot into the bottom corner.
Another Sinclair cross moments later almost brought Chelsea a second but Chris Brandon nipped in to take the ball off Kalou's right foot at the last second.
Chelsea continued to dominate and Sinclair was unlucky to see his 18-yard drive charged down by Robert Page in the 36th minute.
A speculative cross by former Chelsea player Frank Sinclair was deflected for a Town corner a minute later and it required Terry to clear a shot from Clarke off the goal-line.
It was the closest Town had been to a goal and moments later Clarke sent a 25-yard drive just wide of Carlo Cudicini's right-hand post.
Huddersfield stunned the Premier League title chasers with a leveller just seconds before half-time when Collins collected a pass from Berrett and slipped the ball under Cudicini.
It was clear from Chelsea's lacklustre start to the second half Town's goal had shaken the hosts.
Brandon was unlucky to see his shot deflected to safety when Luke Beckett nodded the ball into his path on the edge of the penalty area in the 51st minute.
Chelsea had a goal rightly ruled out for offside in the 55th minute when Terry's shot was stabbed home by Kalou, who was standing almost on the Town goal-line.
But Chelsea went back in front on the hour when Lampard scored his second of the game.
The England midfielder began and finished the move - playing a neat one-two with Kalou before firing home at the second attempt after his first effort had been partially saved by Glennon.
A fantastic run and dribble by Claudio Pizarro looked to have earned Chelsea a third in the 64th minute but when Glennon saved his shot and Sinclair slipped home the rebound, the winger was adjudged offside.
Chelsea were now in control of the game and Kalou burst through the Town defence in the 70th minute to slip the ball under Glennon for their third.
Town still tried to haul themselves back into the game but Brandon failed to hit the target with an 18-yard free-kick seconds before the end of normal time.