Fulham 1-1 Chelsea  (Sky Sports)

Hayles The Hero As Blues Show Failings Again

Barry Hayles
Hayles: Fulham saviour


Fulham 1-1 Chelsea 
Hayles 56   Hasselbaink 32
FA Barclaycard Premiership

Scott Barefoot reports

Chelsea once again demonstrated their Jekyll and Hyde nature as they allowed Fulham to fight their way back into this west London derby.

Barry Hayles second Premiership goal secured a deserved draw for Jean Tigana's men who will no doubt reminisce on an opportunity missed to take all three points.

That they should do so is again down to Chelsea's inability to punch their weight. The Blues were so dominant in the first period that scorer Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink could easily have had a hat-trick.

But both he and his team went into the interval with just one goal to their name to leave manager Claudio Ranieri to conduct another post-match investigation into their failure to take three Premiership points.

Last week at Stamford Bridge they totally outclassed Middlesbrough only to allow the Teessiders' to claw back a two-goal lead and gain a last-minute point. And a blip is in danger of becoming a habit.

This time Fulham were the recipients of charity as they discovered there was to be no second half bombardment and, inspired by substitute Luis Boa Morte, took control of affairs. 

They wrestled the initiative to such an extent that it was their esteemed rivals, reduced to 10 men for the last eight minutes due to Slavisa Jokanovic's dismissal, who had to battle to avoid defeat.

The game, the first between the two west London rivals for 16-years, began in typical local derby fashion with tussle and tempo taking precedent over subtlety and style. But it was Chelsea who hit the ground running.

Hasselbaink, who was a constant menace, gave an indication of what was to come when he chased Ed de Goey's long kick in the third minute and smashed a volley against the bar after brushing Zat Knight off the ball.

The youngster kept his place after his Premiership debut at Leicester last week and was joined in the Fulham line up by former Chelsea star Bjarne Goldbaek. Steed Malbranque took his place on the bench.

The visitors, with Frank Lampard suspended, restored the partnership of Hasselbaink and Gianfranco Zola. Eidur Gudjohnsen made way despite scoring three goals in three games.

Referee Graham Poll brandished the yellow card at John Terry for his uncompromising tackle on Louis Saha just before the young Frenchman leapt above the England under-21 star and flashed Steve Finnan's inviting cross inches wide.

But after that blip of pressure Chelsea mastered the midfield. Zola's good work down the right set up Boudewijn Zenden to slide the ball agonising past the post and Hasselbaink brought a brave save from Edwin van der Sar.

The impish Italian's delightful spin and curled shot from Slavisa Jokanovic's pass forced van der Sar to paw the ball out of the top corner, but the exposed Fulham keeper could do nothing as the ball flew past him on 32 minutes.

Zola smartly re-directed a Marcel Desailly clearance into the path of Zenden, who galloped 40-yards into the inside left position before crossing for the Dutchman to ram home with his left foot after controlling with his right.

Fulham roused themselves in response but still found the Blues more than match for them. John Collins made Ed de Goey scuttle across his line with a curling 20-yard free-kick but they were still failing to threaten from open play.

Tigana addressed the situation by throwing on Boa Morte at half-time. He quickly had an impact on events when he harrassed Petit into a rare mistake on the edge of the box but fluffed his shot.

But Fulham were now bursting with energy. Dominant in central midfield, they were attacking with a purpose and conviction they had previously lacked due to Chelsea's inability to repeat their first half display.

The Portuguese winger's miss failed to hide that their growing in confidence and after 56 minutes Hayles swooped to blast past de Goey from close range following the Dutchman's instinctive save from Saha.

The goal woke Chelsea up from their slumber and Zola's cushion header gave Zenden a clear sight of goal in the box but he could only find van de Sar's shins and the ball flew away to safety.

That was the last piece of action in the game apart from the now almost guaranteed refereeing controversy, Jokanovic being dismissed in the 82nd minute after the second of two minor offences.

But it couldn't take the gloss off of the Cottagers glory of holding their esteemed local rivals, though it said more about Chelsea's failings than Fulham's Premiership progress.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Gianfranco Zola (Chelsea)
Sublime skills and a workrate that belies his age. A perfect foil for Hasselbaink.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Finnan, Brevett, Melville, Clark, Knight, Collins, Davis, Goldbaek, Saha, Hayles. Subs: Taylor, Symons, Malbranque, Boa Morte, Marlet.

Chelsea: de Goey, Melchiot, Babayaro, Terry, Desailly, Petit, Zenden, Gallas, Jokanovic, Zola, Hasselbaink.
Subs: Bosnich, Ferrer, Gudjohnsen, Dalla Bona, Aleksidze.

Referee: G Poll (Tring)

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