since 1878

Chelsea (1) 2 - 1 (0) Ipswich Town

FA Barclaycard Premiership 2001-02

Sunday, November 4, 2001

Referee: R Styles

Manager: Unknown

Stamford Bridge

Attendance: 40,467

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2919
























Match Report

Predictable defeat at Chelsea

Normal service resumed. After the joys of the midweek win in Helsingborgs, Town were brought back down to earth with a very predictable defeat at Chelsea…

Did we really expect to get anything from this game? We always lose away to Chelsea, and there wasn't much to suggest we would achieve anything better than that today. We had at least managed something in Europe that the ‘continental club' couldn't, but Chelsea had suffered only one league defeat all season. Stamford Bridge was never going to be an easy place to look for that elusive Premiership win. And so it turned out. A 2-1 defeat means that Town are now bedded firmly in the relegation zone for the first time since our promotion. This is now our worst league run since Burley took charge of team affairs, and today's result makes it ten in a row without a win. We never looked like winning this one, as Chelsea on their home soil were just too good. But the annoying thing is, is that we nearly pinched a point. It would have a largely unjust point, but when you're at the bottom you take everything you get. After trailing for most of the match to a Ginafranco Zola opener, a Marcus Stewart Penalty equaliser eight minutes from time gave us real hope of salvaging a valuable point. We only had to hold for eight short minutes, but we couldn't even do that. In the dying seconds of the match a Chelsea stunner from Dalla Bona ruined the day and consigned the Blues to another defeat. Jermaine Wright was reinstated to the starting line up, in the place of Sixto Peralta. I can only presume this was down to injury; any other reason for leaving out the lively Argentinean would have been scandalous. Otherwise Town were unchanged from the team that finished in Sweden. Chelsea on the other hand, with their massive multi national squad, made no fewer than six changes to their team that lost on Thursday night. After an even first fifteen minutes, Chelsea gradually began to take control of the game. Hasslebaink had a couple of long-range efforts, but was unable to hit the target. Frank Lampard was looking impressive, and was denied with some good blocking. Chelsea had the ball in the net after Sereni could only parry a Lampard shot, but the flag had been raised well before the Terry had fired in the rebound. It immensely irritated the home fans, but it was a good decision from the ref. However, after 35 minutes, Chelsea finally went ahead. Yet again it was a quick free kick that undid Town, albeit at the other end of the pitch. A swift break outnumbered the Town defence, and Zola gave his countryman Sereni no chance with a sweetly executed angled drive. Two harsh yellow cards were pointed at Naylor and Jamma in the final minutes of the first half, and the last chance, a hotly disputed free kick, was fortunately fired wide from Hasselbaink. The second half did see a marked improvement in Town, as the players tried hard to make a game out of it. A couple of crosses rained in, but Stewart was unable to get on the end of them. Venus had a free kick saved, and Hreidarsson headed over the bar. Reuser replaced Clapham, and Counago came on for Naylor as Town went for the jugular. But not enough chances were being created, and a goal didn't really seem on the cards. But on 80 minutes, a good pass found Stewie in the box. Melichot had other ideas, and bundled him over before he had a chance to shoot. It was definite penalty, and Marcus made no mistake from the spot, banging the ball to Bosnich's left. It was a great relief, and it seemed now a case of hanging on. Chelsea obviously piled on the pressure, but didn't look like scoring. But as normal time came to an end, Dalla Bona broke Town hearts with his speculative but spectacular shot that Sereni couldn't get near. It was another cruel blow, after a good point looked on the cards. There was confusion all round after Dalla Bona's winner, as the scoreboard had signalled four minutes of injury time. But the referee blew up only seconds after the restart, to give Town no chance of sneaking another. So, another league defeat. Will we EVER win again? There is no point in mincing words here, we are currently look favourites for relegation. If we don't start picking points up soon, we'll be too far behind to turn it around. We had a bit of luck with Derby and Southampton losing, to keep up from slipping down further. But we, along with them and Leicester are now cut off from the rest of the League. All the other teams are managing to scrape wins-we're not. I don't want to be all doom and gloom. A 2-1 defeat at Chelsea is by no means a disgrace, and only our lowly position makes it seem bad. Until Dalla Bona's wonder goal, we were moments away from a very creditable point. We played much better in the second half (as usual) and bearing in mind how tired the players must have been after the Sweden trip, it's no real surprise we lost. At least the players now have two weeks rest before we play our ‘must win' match against Bolton. Leicester somehow picked up a win to go above us, but they surely are the worst team in the division. We should have one aim now- to get above them, and finish fourth from bottom. That is something that should still be easily achievable, and I believe we will do. But anything else would be a bonus. Being in the relegation zone is, is a very strange sort of way, almost a relief. For the last four or five weeks we've been looking below us, and relying on other teams to lose. Now, we're in the bottom three, the only way has to be up. It's up to us to get the points and climb, and we can do it.

From The Terrace

Match Gallery


2001-02 Reports