Chelsea 4-3 Bolton Wanderers

  • April 11, 2009 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton came very close to pulling off one of the greatest comebacks of all time, but ultimately fell to a 4-3 defeat at Chelsea.

A first half strike from Michael Ballack, followed by a Frank Lampard penalty and a brace from Didier Drogba after the break had the hosts 4-0 up with 20 minutes to go.

However, three goals inside eight minutes from Andy O'Brien, Chris Basham and Matt Taylor ensured a nervous finale at Stamford Bridge and Wanderers were unlucky not to equalise in stoppage time as Gary Cahill saw his effort cleared off the line.

Taylor came close to an early goal for the visitors as he tried to catch Petr Cech out with a near post free-kick, but the Chelsea goalkeeper recovered to tip the ball behind for a corner.

From the resulting corner, Chelsea cleared and hit Wanderers on the counter attack, resulting in Drogba testing Jussi Jaaskelainen from the edge of the area.

Taylor soon went close again for Bolton, but he headed a Kevin Davies cross just over the bar following a good attacking run from Ricardo Gardner.

Lampard forced Jaaskelainen into another smart stop midway through the first half, with the Finn reacting well to a dipping free-kick from fully 30 yards.

John Obi Mikel also forced Jaaskelainen into making a save from long distance, before the hosts broke the deadlock five minutes before the break.

Ballack released Salomon Kalou down the right flank and after cutting inside he played the return ball to Ballack who fired Chelsea into the lead from close range.

Guus Hiddink's side raced out of the blocks after the interval and found themselves two up inside three minutes of the restart.

After Jlloyd Samuel had fouled Kalou on the edge of the area, Lampard struck the resulting free-kick across the Wanderers area and Drogba poked the ball home from inside the six yard box as the hosts began to take control of the game.

Lampard added a third on the hour, sending Jaaskelainen the wrong way from the penalty spot after Gretar Steinsson had been harshly penalised for handball.

Then, just three minutes later, they added a fourth as Drogba reacted quickest to guide Branislav Ivanovic's flick past Jaaskelainen.

With 20 minutes to go, the points looked safe but Wanderers gave themselves an outside chance of launching a comeback as Andy O'Brien reacted to Cech's fumble to score his first goal in Bolton colours.

Fellow substitute Chris Basham was soon to follow in getting his first goal for the club, Steinsson's deep cross found Davies who nodded back across goal for the academy graduate to poke over the line.

Davies was in the thick of the action and he was involved once again just four minutes later, flicking Jaaskelainen's long ball on for Taylor to head past a stranded Cech and send shockwaves round Stamford Bridge as the scoreboard read 4-3.

Chelsea reacted and Florent Malouda forced Jaaskelainen into a low stop moments later, before former Wanderer Nicolas Anelka almost capitalised on a short backpass from Andy O'Brien, but his effort was cleared off the line.

Then, in the final minute of stoppage time, Bolton almost completed the impossible and pull the scores back to 4-4.

Davies headed a deep corner back into the Chelsea goalmouth and Cahill's strike towards goal was cleared off the line as Wanderers were denied what would have been one of the most sensational comebacks in Premier League history.

The game ended 4-3, leaving Chelsea within touching distance of the Premier League's top-two, while Bolton remain 12th, seven points clear of the relegation trapdoor.

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, A Cole, Ballack, Mikel, Lampard (Deco 66), Kalou, Drogba (Anelka 66), Malouda
Subs Not Used: Hilario, Quaresma, Alex, Belletti, Mancienne
Goals: Ballack 40, Drogba 48,63, Lampard 60(pen)

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Shittu (A O'Brien 46), Samuel, Muamba, McCann (Cohen 83), Gardner, K Davies, Elmander (Basham 66), Taylor
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Hunt, Smolarek, Puygrenier
Goals: A O'Brien 70, Basham 74, Taylor 78

Attendance: 41,096
Referee: Peter Walton

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
13 Accrington Stanley 27 36
14 Charlton Athletic 27 33
15 Bolton Wanderers 26 32
16 Lincoln City 26 31
17 Cheltenham Town 27 31
View Full Standings >>


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