Blues denied perfect ten
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Everton upset the form book by claming a 1-1 draw against runaway leaders Chelsea.Chelsea were denied a perfect ten wins in a row in The Premiership as Everton upset the form book by claming a 1-1 draw against the runaway leaders.
The match had been billed as a David versus Goliath contest, given Everton were rock bottom after scoring just once all season, and Toffees boss David Moyes all but emulated his biblical namesake as James Beattie's penalty set them up for a point that justified Everton's unswerving faith in their boss.
Chelsea emerged from the break and threatened to offer the same fightback that saw them destroy Bolton Wanderers 5-1 last week, but only Frank Lampard hit the target with a beautiful strike, as The Blues proved wayward with their shooting and saw a Didier Drogba effort surprisingly ruled out for offside.
The draw represented the first dropped points of the season for Mourinho's men and whilst that is scant consolation for struggling Arsenal and Manchester United, the stalemate could work wonders for a previously subdued Everton team.
Chelsea looked to be starting in impressive fashion yet again as Michael Essien blazed over in the first minute, but the nature of the tie prevented any momentum developing in the early stages, as an intriguing physical contest unfolded.
Lampard had an effort tipped round the post by Nigel Martyn after collecting an intelligent guided pass from Drogba, whilst England team-mate Joe Cole also saw a low drive deflected wide, as David Weir intervened.
The Scottish stopper could have made a more telling contribution at the other end after being left irresponsibly unmarked from a corner, although Petr Cech punched his header away with ease.
Mourinho's men looked uncomfortable at times, as Beattie and strike partner Duncan Ferguson made life difficult for them, although The Blues continued to press forward and both Drogba and Lampard offered weak efforts - after the Ivorian had skied an overhead kick over the bar.
Shaun Wright-Phillips was unlucky as he shot wide after beating Nuno Valente to a Lampard long ball, although the young winger was soon to make a more decisive impact on the game.
Robbed by Tim Cahill in possession, Wright-Phillips continued to pursue the Australian, and just as the Everton man encroached into the penalty area, he scythed him down from behind.
Beattie, the villain of the piece in the corresponding fixture last season after head-butting William Gallas, showed incredible confidence from the spot as he rocketed his shot in off the crossbar for his first league goal for The Toffees.
Shocked, Chelsea looked to respond but Asier Del Horno had a well directed drive blocked by Joseph Yobo and Drobga headed over, as Everton clung on to their lead - but The Toffees suffered pain before the break, as Nuno Valente had to be removed due to injury with Matteo Ferrarri given the nod by Moyes.
Everton would have emerged fearing the kind of reprisal that Bolton suffered when they had the audacity to take an advantage into the break last weekend, and their lead accordingly lasted just five minutes when Lampard showed his class from a seemingly harmless position.
Del Horno took a throw on the left and looked to find Claude Makelele although the French star was unable to collect, as he clattered into referee Mark Clattenburg.
As the ball ran across the face of goal, Lampard let it cross his path and lashed a trademark effort that dipped and beat Nigel Martyn to find the netting like a laser-guided missile.
Essien tried to emulate his midfield partner just a minute later but found his effort wayward, before the Ghanaian star chipped a superb cross in from the right for Lampard again, although he mistimed his header in front of goal.
The former West Ham United man was, as always, at the heart of everything for The Blues and he was instrumental in finding Drogba in space in the box on 62 minutes after a twisting run. However, as The Ivorian hit-man smashed in past Martyn, the goal was harshly disallowed for offside.
Replays showed Kevin Kilbane clearly playing Drogba on and, although substitute Eidur Gudjohnsen was in an offside position, Chelsea were understandably angry with the decision.
Everton were desperate to weather the storm as both Lampard and Gudjohnsen had further efforts from range, and young German Robert Huth was also posing a problem with his presence, as he headed wide from successive corners.
Arjen Robben and Hernan Crespo were summoned from the bench but Mourinho's men were struggling to find the target in what was far from a vintage performance for a Chelsea side currently setting incredibly high standards.
Indeed, Everton were shown an unlikely glimpse of a further surprise as substitute Simon Davies saw an ambitious long range effort fumbled by Cech - although the shot stopper quickly smothered the loose ball.
The effort was firmly against the run of play but heartened the home support and they were given further reason to shout when substitute Marcus Bent's shot rebounded off the arm of John Terry in the box, but the assistant referee saw nothing untoward.
Chelsea were not keen to relinquish their winning streak and Lampard and Essien both tested Martyn before Robben cut inside and saw his curling effort fly agonisingly over, as Everton held on for a draw that must have felt like a win.
Everton v Chelsea player ratings.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||3|
|1||Shots off Target||15|