Essien OG Dents Chelsea Hopes  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 2 Reading 2

Geremi and Doyle in actionReading dealt a blow to Chelsea's title hopes when claiming an unlikely point at Stamford Bridge.

Didier Drogba's brace of headers looked like being enough to clinch the win, but Michael Essien scored the most unfortunate of own goals with five minutes remaining to secure a point for the visitors.

Much of the talk prior to the game surrounded Stephen Hunt, in light of the injury Petr Cech picked up at The Madejski Stadium earlier in the season, but the two sides ensured the post-match comments were on the game as they produced an entertaining affair.

Drogba scored either side of a Leroy Lita effort for Reading and Chelsea looked be on course for victory, but Ashley Cole took a wild hack at a Kevin Doyle cross into the box and it hit Essien before flying into the net.

The draw is likely to have been well received in the red half of Manchester as Chelsea blew the chance to move back to the summit of the Premiership.

Chelsea took 90 seconds to show they had not suffered a post-Christmas hangover as Frank Lampard collected a flick from Drogba before curling a shot inches wide of goal.

Reading have not been overawed in the Premiership this term and a clever run down the right from Glen Little which needed a timely intervention from Ricardo Carvalho demonstrated their attacking intent.

Andrei Shevchenko has had a tough first few months in the Premiership, but he showed flashes of quality against The Royals - with one cross-field run and pass to Drogba which led to a fine save from Marcus Hahnemann catching the eye.

Salomon Kalou recently admitted that he needs to be more clinical in front of goal and it would appear that he did get any shooting boots in his Christmas stocking as, after slaloming his way into the box, he blazed high over the bar.

Chelsea fashioned a fine opening on 30 minutes and it came as no surprise that it fell to Drogba. It was also no surprise that he turned his header from Lampard's cross on target, but Hahnemann was the equal of the effort as he stooped to his left to push the effort wide of goal.

It is very rare that Drogba requires more than one clear chance to find the target and he proved the point when breaking the deadlock on 39 minutes.

Chelsea are masters at set-pieces and it was from a corner that the Reading defence was breached, as Drogba climbed high to head home Lampard's fine delivery.

Reading were not without chances and the flanks were particularly fruitful for the visitors. A cross from Little forced Ricardo Carvalho into a last-ditch intervention, while Steve Sidwell slammed a shot just wide after Chelsea had failed to deal with a long ball down the right channel.

Chelsea failed to heed the warning signs and Reading duly drew level on 67 minutes, with a cross from the right by the impressive Little headed home at the far post by Lita.

The Blues have produced the goods on numerous occasions when put under pressure and they took just five minutes to find a response.

Shaun Wright-Phillips, who had been wasteful with the score at 1-0, delivered a sumptuous cross from the right which was headed home at the far post by Drogba.

Reading did not wilt after slipping behind for a second time and after Doyle had lashed over the bar from eight yards and Brynjar Gunnarsson had headed wide having found space in the box, Cole lashed the ball against Essien to hand the visitors a point.


Chelsea  Hilario, Bridge (A. Cole 70), Carvalho, Ferreira, Ballack, Essien, Geremi (Mikel 70), Lampard, Drogba, Kalou, Shevchenko (Wright-Phillips 58)
Subs Not Used  Hedman, Diarra
Booked  Ballack
 Drogba 38, 72

Reading  Hahnemann, Ingimarsson, Murty, Shorey, Sonko, Gunnarsson, Harper, Little, Sidwell, Doyle, Lita
Subs Not Used Federici, Sodje, Hunt, Ki-Hyeon, Oster
Booked  Lita
Goals  Lita 67, Essien (og) 85

Attendance  41,885

Referee   A. Wiley

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