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Chelsea 2 West Ham 1 By Mark Bradley, PA Sport
Rio Ferdinand proved the unlikely cure for Chelsea's traditional hangover from
their European exertions as his own goal set the home side on the road to a 2-1
win over West Ham in the London derby at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea had looked as if they were still nursing the after effects of their
7-1 thrashing of Tromso in the Cup Winners' Cup three days ago until Ferdinand's
mistake turned the game on 57 minutes.
Gianfranco Zola crossed the ball from near the by-line and Ferdinand succeeded
only in steering it past his own keeper Craig Forrest as he tried to clear.
Chelsea had lost their previous three Premiership games immediately following
their European matches, losing to Arsenal, Liverpool and Bolton.
But playing a West Ham side who had not won away since the first day of the
season at Barnsley, they grew in confidence after Ferdinand, who is in the
England squad for next Saturday's friendly against Cameroon, committed his
And Zola, playing up front with Mark Hughes as midweek hat-trick hero Gianluca
Vialli was rested, doubled their advantage on 81 minutes.
The Italian international repeated his dead ball magic from the win over
Tromso to score only the second direct free kick in the Premiership this season,
leaving Forrest rooted to the spot from 20 yards out.
Welsh international John Hartson pulled one goal back for West Ham, his 13th
strike of the season, two minutes later when he confidently slotted home a
penalty after Andy Myers had felled substitute Sammassi Abou, making his debut.
Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit came on in injury time to replace Frank Leboeuf,
who was carried off after giving away a free kick on the edge of the area as the
home side's fans' nerves grew.
But Eyal Berkovic, who had been involved in a bizarre first half tussle with
team mate John Moncur which led to both players being spoken to by referee
Graham Barber, slipped as he took the free kick and the ball sailed five yards
over the bar.
The match had started as a typical London derby with few chances and the ball
rebounding around the midfield.
On 15 minutes, Roberto Di Matteo had to head clear under pressure from Moncur
and then Hartson's shot scraped past the far post from the edge of the box.
Shortly afterwards, Chelsea defender Frank Sinclair, making his 200th
appearance for the club, swung over a dangerous cross and Dennis Wise got a
touch just ahead of Forrest but the ball rolled agonisingly past the post.
Hartson, the country's leading scorer, was causing concern for Chelsea even
though he was playing alone up front but it was Zola who had the next clear cut
chance when Forrest had to dive to scramble the ball past the upright from his
At the other end, Chelsea keeper Ed de Goey pulled off a wonderful save to
deny Steve Lomas on 31 minutes.
But it was Zola who threatened just before the break with two free kicks, the
first straight at Forrest before the second beat the keeper - only for Ferdinand
to head it off the line.
Steve Potts replaced David Unsworth at the back for West Ham at half time but
the second period started just as scrappily as the first had ended.
West Ham's midfield of Moncur, Lomas and the dangerous Frank Lampard were
controlling the game and it took Ferdinand's own goal to turn the course of the
Chelsea began bursting forward after they had taken the lead and Wise's shot
from the edge of the area on 62 minutes was deflected wide before Zola fired
over from a similar position.
Di Matteo then came within inches of doubling Chelsea's lead when he was put
through by Zola half way through the second period.
He stroked his shot past Forrest but the ball rebounded off the inside of a
post and ran across the face of the goal before it was cleared.
West Ham boss Harry Redknapp three on Abou to spice up his attack, taking off
Moncur, but Zola put the game apparently beyond West Ham with his stunning free
And despite Hartson's coolness under pressure from the penalty spot, it was
Chelsea that were given a standing ovation off the pitch by their largest crowd
of the season after securing a 2-1 victory.
Chelsea: De Goey, Petrescu (Nicholls 35), Babayaro,
Leboeuf (Gullit 90), Hughes, Wise, Di Matteo, Myers, Sinclair,
Subs Not Used: Vialli, Hitchcock, Flo.
Booked: Hughes, Leboeuf.
Goals: Ferdinand 57 og, Zola 83.
West Ham: Forrest, Rowland, Unsworth (Potts 45), Pearce,
Ferdinand, Lomas, Lampard, Berkovic, Hartson, Moncur (Abou 67),
Subs Not Used: Sealey, Dowie, Bishop.
Booked: Rowland, Pearce, Abou.
Goals: Hartson 85 pen.
Ref: G P Barber (Pyrford).