Chelsea 2-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • September 24, 2014 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton's League Cup adventure is over for another year, as they were beaten 2-1 by Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Kurt Zouma scored on his Blues debut to give Jose Mourinho's side a 25th minute lead, but Wanderers went in level at the break after a Liam Feeney free-kick was powered past Petr Cech by the head of Matt Mills just six minutes later.

Oscar capitalised on some poor defending 10 minutes after the break, by drilling the ball into the bottom corner from 25 yards and, although Wanderers desperately searched for an equaliser in the latter stages, the home side held on to claim a deserved victory that takes them through to the last 16 of the competition.

Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman made five changes to the side that lost at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday. Out went Tim Ream, Jay Spearing, Owen Garvan, Joe Mason and Lee Chung-Yong, allowing Chris Herd, Neil Danns, Darren Pratley, Medo Kamara and Jermaine Beckford to start.

Chelsea were the runaway favourites prior to kick-off and they took the game straight to Bolton, with Andre Schurrle coming close to scoring three times inside the opening five minutes.

Loic Remy was denied by an offside flag as he raced clear for the first time, with nine minutes gone, before Andy Lonergan pulled off his first meaningful save of the evening to keep out a deflected strike from Oscar moments later.

Mills was on hand to block a goalbound shot from Schurrle on the quarter-hour mark and it was the German World Cup winner who continued to look the most likely to score, as he next saw a free-kick tipped onto the crossbar by Lonergan.

Schurrle curled another attempt wide of goal as the game passed the 20-minute mark, but the Blues didn't have to wait much longer before their dominance was converted into a goal.

Wanderers failed to deal with a routine corner into the box and after Gary Cahill's shot was blocked, Zouma responded quickest to fire the ball into the roof of the net.

Falling behind seemed to spark the visitors into life, with Jermaine Beckford being denied at the death by a superb challenge from Zouma.

Mohamed Salah curled a shot inches wide of Lonergan's far post just after the half-hour, before the visitors got themselves level in the 32nd minute. Liam Feeney's free-kick from the right was perfectly weighted to the edge of the Chelsea box, where Mills rose highest to head beyond a stranded Petr Cech to send the 850-plus travelling supporters wild with delight.

Schurrle and Nathan Ake both came close to restoring Chelsea's lead as the first-half drew to a close, with the two sides going in level at the break.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second period, which started very much in the same way the opening half had ended - with the home side well on top in terms of chances created.

A foul by Craig Davies on Cesar Azpilicueta ended with Lonergan keeping out a glancing header from Oscar, before the Wanderers goalkeeper got down to keep out a low drive from John Obi Mikel soon thereafter.

Then, with 55 minutes on the clock, Chelsea went in front for the second time as the Bolton defence stood off Oscar - who picked out the bottom corner of the net with a strike from 25 yards. After holding their own at the back, Wanderers would have been disappointed to concede such a simple goal.

Oscar clipped the roof of the net with a free-kick, as the clock ticked past the hour, before Schurrle flashed a shot just wide of the post as he continued his assault on the Bolton goal.

A number of substitutions halted the flow of the game, with Jay Spearing replacing Feeney for Bolton and Didier Drogba taking over from Remy for the hosts.

A deflected free-kick from Oscar almost wrapped up victory for Chelsea with 15 minutes to go, but the touch from Mills just about cleared the post, before Schurrle and Salah both failed to test Lonergan with shots from the edge of the box.

Lonergan got down well to push away another strike from Schurrle on 81 minutes, before Wanderers pushed forward in search of an unlikely equaliser - with Cech making a superb save after Chung-Yong's shot had flown through a host of players.

Mason, on as a late substitute for Danns, came within inches of firing home in the final minute of normal time, before the final chance saw Dorian Dervite head wide of the target from a Spearing corner.

Despite their best attempts in the latter stages, Bolton couldn't force extra-time and exit the competition at the third round stage to a side many predict will end the season as Premier League champions.

Chelsea will travel to Shrewsbury Town in the next round, while Freedman can now turn his attention to league action - starting with Saturday's game against Derby County at Macron Stadium.

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Cahill, Luis, Mikel, Ake (Matic 90), Oscar, Schurrle, Salah (Hazard 80), Remy (Drogba 72)
Subs Not Used: Ivanovic, Schwarzer, Christensen, Baker
Goals: Zouma 25, Oscar 55

Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, Herd, Mills, Dervite, Moxey, Feeney (Spearing 68), Danns (Mason 83), Pratley, Kamara, Beckford, C Davies (Chung-Yong 52)
Subs Not Used: Clayton, McNaughton, Ream, Kenny
Booked: Pratley, Herd, Spearing
Goals: Mills 31

Referee: Graham Scott
Attendance: 40,988

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
14 Charlton Athletic 21 26
15 Cambridge United 21 26
16 Bolton Wanderers 21 26
17 AFC Wimbledon 19 24
18 Lincoln City 20 21
View Full Standings >>


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