PREMIER LEAGUE: Newcastle score late equaliser to deny Chelsea
Newcastle United held Chelsea to a 2-2 draw thanks to an injury time leveler at Stamford Bridge this afternoon. Things kicked off well for the Blues when Branislav Ivanovic finished from close range in just the third minute before the Magpies were the recipients of some good fortune when Ryan Taylor's 10th minute free-kick clattered in off Jonas Gutierrez to make it 1-1.
Chelsea were arguably the better of the two teams for most of the match and they got a deserved second seven minutes from time when Alex headed home a Frank Lampard free-kick.
But at the death, Alan Pardew's men managed to grab a share of the points when centre-half Steven Taylor got his second goal of the season with a header from inside the six-yard box.
It could very well be the last time we see Carlo Ancelotti in charge of the Blues at Stamford Bridge as speculation regarding his future continues to swell whilst some Chelsea players, including Didier Drogba, may have also played their last game in a blue shirt at the venue.
Chelsea stay second after the draw and are now four points ahead of Arsenal, who play Aston Villa this afternoon, whilst Newcastle remain 12th thanks to their second solid performance at the Blues' home ground this season after their 4-3 Carling Cup win back in September.
Venue: Stamford Bridge, West London Crowd: 41,739 Referee: Lee Mason Yellow cards:CHE - John Terry 9', Ramires 45+1', Frank Lampard 58', Branislav Ivanovic 60' NU - Danny Simpson 73', Jose Enrique 82'
GOALChelsea got a dream start when Frank Lampard's corner in just the third minute was flicked on by a glancing Fernando Torres header which fell perfectly for Branislav Ivanovic who stabbed home from close range to rock the Newcastle defence.
Torres was looking very sharp in the early stages as Chelsea indicated that they were well up for the match but the Magpies held their own despite falling a goal behind.
GOAL Seven minutes after the opening goal, Newcastle were back on level terms when Ryan Taylor's free-kick from about 25 yards cannoned into the back of an unsuspecting Jonas Gutierrez. The ball took a wicked deflection off the Argentine, completely wrong-footing Blues keeper Petr Cech and rolled into the back of the net much to the delight of the travelling fans.
Both sides were looking to press forward in what was a very open affair in perfect conditions at 'The Bridge' but there were only a few half-chances down the Chelsea end in the remainder of the opening half as Newcastle finished strongly with some promising play.
Torres had a great opportunity early in the second half but Joey Barton was on hand to block his shot from inside the area just moment before Ramires tried his luck with a long range attempt as the shots on goal column crept up for the Blues.
Down the other end, Gutierrez tested Cech with his 59th minute attempt as the Magpies tried to lift themselves back in the contest. The Czech international was then called on when Taylor again whipped in a free-kick but this time there was no deflection and he was able to hold safely.
Carlo Ancelotti made a triple change in the 64th minute, bringing on Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda and Michael Essien and it almost paid immediate dividends when Drogba's free-kick from the right flank evaded all in the box and trickled past a diving Tim Krul and out of play.
The Magpies were just hanging in there as the minutes elapsed and it seemed just a matter of time before Chelsea would score a second and that came in the 83rd minute through central defender Alex. GOAL Lampard's free-kick was placed perfectly into the area and the big Brazilian powered a header home past an advancing Krul from the back post to make it 2-1.
Newcastle pushed for another leveler and their persistence paid off in injury time when Steven Taylor headed home with a last-gasp equaliser. GOAL Joey Barton's corner from the left was directed across the six yard box where Shola Ameobi rose above the pack to head into the path of the unmarked Taylor who got his head onto the ball and into the back of the net to deny the home side all three points.
Chelsea Petr Cech (gk) - Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Alex, Ashley Cole - Ramires (Drogba 64'), Frank Lampard, Josh McEachran (Essien 64') - Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Torres, Yossi Benayoun (Malouda 64')
Subs - Ross Turnbull (gk), Didier Drogba (64'), Michael Essien (64'), Florent Malouda (64'), Paul Ferreira, John Obi Mikel, David Luiz
Newcastle Tim Krul (gk) - Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique - Joey Barton, Ryan Taylor, Jonas Gutierrez (Ranger 76'), Shane Ferguson (LuaLua 69') - Peter Lovenkrands (Ameobi 83'), Shola Ameobi
Subs - Ole Soderberg (gk), Kazenga LuaLua (69'), Nile Ranger (76'), Sammy Ameobi (83'), Shefki Kuqi, Alan Smith, James Tavernier
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