Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Chelsea

FA Carling Premiership

Darren Steward reports

A second-half Wim Jonk penalty threw Sheffield Wednesday an unlikely Premiership lifeline, and consigned Gianluca Vialli's fixture-weary Chelsea to their first domestic defeat of the year.

The Yorkshire club perhaps caught the Champions League quarter-finalists' minds rambling on Barcelona's 'Ramblas,' but now find themselves just five points behind Wimbledon with five games to play.

As for Chelsea, it wasn't only Ed De Goey donning the gloves - a smattering of outfield players joined him. Maybe the Blues were not mentally up for this bruising encounter on a cold April day at Hillsborough.

Chelsea keeper De Goey was troubled in the 10th minute after chesting down a Celestine Babayaro back pass, only just scrambling the ball clear as Andy Booth chased the ball down.

The Blues were looking vulnerable at the back as the Owls sensed some weakness and tiredness in the Londoners' ranks due to match fatigue.

Booth and Belgian partner Gilles De Bilde were eager, and Jonk orchestrating his through balls competently, Vialli must have wished he had bought a second packet of chewing gum with him.

Andy Hinchcliffe wasted a free-kick after the returning Thome handballed, blasting the ball on to the shins of the Chelsea wall. The first clear opening came in the 23rd minute when Niclas Alexandersson floated a right-wing cross over the Chelsea defence, picking out De Bilde at the far post.

After an initial chest control by the Belgian international he then pushed his effort into the side netting with only De Goey to beat, albeit from an acute angle.

After the interval, Wednesday took the lead on 50 minutes when De Goey upended De Bilde. The referee showed glaring inconsistency by refusing to dismiss the Dutchman, who foiled a certain goal. Wim Jonk stroked home the penalty to give the Wednesday faithful hope and register his first goal since November 21st.

Booth should have made it two after 59 minutes but his header was weak, typifying this honest but limited striker's scoring prowess this term. At the other end, Chelsea flickered into life. George Weah - one of six changes made by Vialli - hit the post with a shot, then 90 seconds later floated a chip against the crossbar after Pressman had fumbled.

Chelsea pressed for an equaliser. However, with Jonk a colossus in the Owls ranks, their search was ultimately fruitless.

Sheff Wed: Pressman, Haslam, Atherton, Walker, Hinchcliffe, Alexandersson, Jonk, Horne (Briscoe 65), Quinn, Booth, De Bilde (Sibon 73).
Subs Not Used: Sonner, Cresswell, Srnicek. Goals: Jonk 51 pen.

Chelsea: De Goey, Lambourde, Desailly, Thome, Babayaro, Petrescu (Dalla Bona 46), Poyet, Morris (Deschamps 46), Ambrosetti (Flo 70), Sutton, Weah. Subs Not Used: Hogh, Hitchcock.
Booked: De Goey, Desailly.
Att: 21,743
Ref: P Durkin (Dorset).