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Toon fans go wild at Stamford Bridge!

By Lee Ryder on Nov 22, 08 05:01 PM

NEWCASTLE United fans partied in the capital tonight after holding moneybags Chelsea to a stalemate at Stamford Bridge.

United picked up an unlikely but crucial point at Chelsea today after a superb performance in the capital.

Toon players celebrated on the pitch at the end of the 0-0 stalemate but they fully deserved their moment as they held moneybags Chelsea to a draw on a frustrating day for the title favourites.

United made two changes to their starting XI against Wigan for the trip to Stamford Bridge to take on star studded Chelsea.

Danny Guthrie was named in the centre of midfield alongside Nicky Butt with Joey Barton out of action for eight weeks after sustaining a knee injury against the Latics.

Shola Ameobi dropped to the bench as skipper Michael Owen returned to the attack with Joe Kinnear resisting the opportunity to start with a front three.

And there was also a taste of first team life again for 17-year-old Kazenga LuaLua after the young gun - who shattered his ankle in the summer - played an hour of the reserve team's 1-0 loss against Everton in midweek.

United won a free-kick on two minutes after Habib Beye was shoved over by Ashley Cole but Chelsea easily cleared Damien Duff's free-kick.

Oba Martins then cracked one wide with his right foot on Newcastle's next attack but it didn't trouble Petr Cech.

Nevertheless, it was a positive opening from the Magpies who faced a mammoth challenge against the title hopefuls.

But Newcastle were indebted to Shay Given on eight minutes after he produced a brilliant diving save low down after Frank Lampard headed at goal from Florent Malouda's left-wing centre.

Inevitable chants from home fans in favour of controversial director of football Dennis Wise boomed around Stamford Bridge early on but while Chelsea always looked dangerous going forward it was a reasonable start to the game by the black and whites.

Sebastien Bassong's immaculate tackle on 17 minutes denied Malouda after the speedy Chelsea ace weaved his way into the box to create a good chance for the Blues.

Four minutes later Jonas cracked a shot high and wide but again Cech was untroubled.

On the half hour mark ex-Barcelona star Deco's dink into the box was latched on to by Lampard but his shot on the turn was gathered by Given.

Moments later Jose Boswinga clipped in a fine cross from the right and Ashley Cole's header at the back stick somehow bounced across the face of goal with Given rooted to the spot.

With 39 minutes on the clock Jonas made a superb right wing run and cross but John Terry did well to block another effort from Martins, this time from close range.
A minute later Beye exchanged passes with Owen down the right with Chelsea forced to concede a corner but the home side cleared.

Newcastle went in at the break level after an encouraging performance but they knew the hard work was only just starting.

Indeed just four minutes into the second half Nicolas Anelka fired in a shot at Given with the ball striking the Eire keeper on the chest.

Jonas was then wrongly booked on 49 minutes by Phil Dowd after a 50-50 challenge on Malouda to hand the home side a free-kick 25-yards from goal.

But despite the dangerous position of the set-piece it struck the Toon wall before the danger snuffed out.

There was relief all round for Newcastle fans with 55 on the clock as Chelsea had a goal chalked off for offside.

Joe Cole had stabbed the ball home from close range after Given had parried Malouda's shot from range but a flag denied the Blues.

There was controversy behind Given's goal as the game approached the hour mark with a Chelsea ball boy - who felt United were wasting time - continually entering the field of play to place the ball down on the edge of the six yard box for the Irish stopper to take his goal kicks.

The youngster was then warned not to repeat his antics by a home official after United keeper coach Paul Barron protested to the fourth official Pat Miller.

With 61 minutes played Martins was hooked by Kinnear and replaced by Ameobi.

But the adverse conditions continued for Newcastle on 67 minutes when Dowd first played advantage after Joe Cole had been clipped on his way through but then pulled play back after Beye had cleared.

Again though Lampard's free-kick crashed into the black and white wall.

Kinnear made his second change with Jonas coming off for Charles N'Zogbia with 14 minutes to go.

Chelsea boss responded soon after by introducing Michael Ballack for Joe Cole.

There were Toon hearts in mouths in the 90 th minute when Ballack latched on to a sloppy header from Butt yet smashed his shot into the side netting.

With three minutes of stoppage time displayed by Miller, United had everybody behind the ball as Chelsea pushed forward.

Nerves were jangling for United going into the closing stages but the Magpies held on for a vital point on a day when most fans expected a hammering in the capital.

CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic, A Cole, Terry, Boswinga, J Cole (Ballack 83), Mikel, Lampard, Deco, Malouda (Kalou 72), Anelka.

UNITED: Given, Beye, Coloccini, Bassong, Enrique, Jonas, Butt, Guthrie, Duff, Owen, Martins (Ameobi 61).

Ref: Phil Dowd

Crowd: 41,660

2 Comments

Dr No said:

Getting a draw at stamford bridge is no mean feat so to get a point from chelsea is a great result!
No doubt the press will slam us for playing so defensive but who cares, its not as if we can compete with them on their own turf.

I predicted a battering and I admit the lads deserve credit here.

No big news then, thought so. I still think ashley will try to ride this out. If JK spoke to ashley the other day, why didnt he ask him to offer owen another contract? If ashley is really going to flog the club then he'll only have to pay his wages for another couple of months and let the new owners waste their money.

I can see this mess dragging on for months!

bob harvey said:

Basically the whole defence played well away from home to the top of the league team who still have a goal difference of 28.
Who knows what will happen next week, but yesterday the defence looked like a proper EPL unit.

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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