Wimbledon 0-1 Chelsea

The artisans took on the upstarts at Selhurst Park and were given a fright as it took Chelsea 78 minutes of domination to break the deadlock against a resilient Wimbledon side.

Gianluca Vialli's strutting collection of cosmopolitan superstars - every one of them an international, with three World Cup winners' medals and four European Cup winners' medals between them - scored three goals that were disallowed before Petrescu's drive from just outside the area beat Neil Sullivan in the Wimbledon goal.

Referee Steve Dunn did not make life easy for the visitors - in the fourth minute he disallowed a Dennis Wise effort for a touch-and-go offside and twenty minutes later waved away appeals for a penalty when Kenny Cunningham seemed to clearly punch the ball away as Flo lurked dangerously.

As well as Dunn, the Dons had Sullivan to thank for keeping them in the game as Chelsea struggled to open the scoring. The Scottish international tipped Frank Leboeuf's first-half long-shot away and the rebound only just avoided the on-rushing Gustavo Poyet.

Poyet headed narrowly wide minutes later, and after Sullivan saved well from Flo, he rushed off his line to beat Zola to a clever pass from Petrescu.

Wimbledon threatened when debutant Walid Badir cleverly released Robbie Earle but Ed de Goey was alert and blocked the chance. Michael Hughes tried a snapshot that flew wide but Chelsea still dominated the possession.

The story of the second half was just the same - and just as infuriating for Chelsea. Against Leicester and Villa they dominated and failed to hit the target, and for all the embarrassment of riches at Vialli's disposal, it was an embarrassment of misses that kept the scores level.

When Sullivan was beaten - by Petrescu, twice, just after the break - the referee disallowed both efforts for offside. Poyet then planted a free header over the bar, Badir blocked a Wise shot and Cunningham thwarted Zola in the area.

Wise then looked sure to score when he met a low Babayaro cross but the former Wimbledon midfielder mishit his shot and Sullivan scrambled across his line to save. The score could have increased when Poyet's 20-yarder was well held by Sullivan.

The Dons threatened briefly when two Carl Cort efforts kept de Goey awake but Chelsea fully deserved maximum points.

Egil Olsen's side have yet to win at home since January 9 - a record that must change if their slide down the table is to be reversed.

Wimbledon: Sullivan, Cunningham, Roberts, Thatcher, Cort, Earle (Leaburn 75), Gayle, Pedersen (Kimble 46), Hughes, Badir (Euell 65), Andersen.
Subs Not Used: Ainsworth, Davis.
Booked: Euell, Roberts, Thatcher.

Chelsea: De Goey, Petrescu (Ambrosetti 81), Babayaro, Leboeuf, Desailly, Deschamps (Morris 89), Poyet, Wise, Ferrer, Flo (Sutton 67), Zola.
Subs Not Used: Hogh, Cudicini.
Booked: Leboeuf, Wise.
Goals: Petrescu 78.

Att: 22,167

Ref: S Dunn (Bristol).