Blues Edge Past Sunderland  (Sky Sports)

Sunderland 0 Chelsea  1

John Terry

Chelsea grabbed a hard-fought three points at Sunderland as they kept up the pressure on Arsenal and Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.

The only goal of the game at the Stadium of Light arrived on 10 minutes as an unmarked John Terry rose to head home Frank Lampard's corner.

Chelsea had a number of chances to increase their lead before half-time - but after the break they were more than lucky to claim the win.

Sunderland indeed should have levelled late on with Kenyne Jones missing two gilt-edged chances - both headers from inside the six-yard box.


Chelsea arrived on Wearside having smashed six past Derby in midweek, but still smarting from their shock FA Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of lowly Barnsley.

If Roy Keane had sent his troops out warning them of a continuing backlash, he was not to be disappointed as the Blues started in determined fashion.

Midfielder Michael Ballack could have put them ahead with just five minutes gone when he managed to lose his marker to meet Lampard's corner, but the German directed his header harmlessly across goal.

But for some brave defending, the home side would have succumbed three minutes later after Didier Drogba had carved them open with a driven pass to Salomon Kalou.

The striker was denied by a superbly-timed tackle from Phil Bardsley before he could shoot, and when the loose ball arrived at Joe Cole's feet, Jonny Evans responded with a vital block.

But the breakthrough finally arrived after 10 minutes when Terry, who had earlier survived penalty appeals for an untidy challenge on Roy O'Donovan, powered another Lampard corner home.

Joe Cole was inches away from converting namesake Ashley's 18th-minute cross with Sunderland finding themselves repeatedly stretched down their right flank.

However, just when it looked as though Chelsea might run away with the game, Keane's men gritted their teeth and set about the task of dragging themselves back into the match.

Cudicini was not troubled by Carlos Edwards' wayward 23rd-minute volley, but he was fully extended to keep out Reid's curling free-kick four minutes later.


That set the stage for a determined fightback as Jones kept Terry and central defensive partner Alex on their toes, while O'Donovan's industry and Reid's quality on the ball caused problems for the visitors, who had lost a little of their shape.

However, the title-chasers continued to look dangerous in attack, and it took a good save from Gordon at his near post to deny Lampard in first-half injury-time after Kalou had picked out his run into the box.

The visitors returned seemingly determined to kill the game off as quickly as possible, and might have done just that had first Kalou and then Joe Cole not missed the target from promising positions inside the opening four minutes of the second half.

But once again, Sunderland rolled up their sleeves and threatened to get themselves back on to level terms.

Leadbitter called Cudicini into action with with a 53rd-minute shot from distance, and from the resulting corner, defender Danny Collins headed just wide.

A weary Edwards, playing his first senior game since breaking his leg on December 1, made way for striker Rade Prica with 28 minutes remaining, but Chelsea could have increased their lead three minutes later had Drogba not fizzed his cross just over the unmarked Lampard's head.

Keane introduced Dwight Yorke as a 73rd-minute replacement for O'Donovan, and he handed the unmarked Jones a glorious opportunity to snatch a point within two minutes of his arrival with a delicate cross, but the striker glanced his header straight at a grateful Cudicini.

Substitute Prica headed just wide after 81 minutes and Jones landed another on the roof of the net in the dying seconds, and Drogba and Dean Whitehead both went desperately close at either end in a tense finish.


Sunderland Gordon, Nosworthy, Collins, Bardsley, Evans, Reid, Edwards (Prica 62), Whitehead, Leadbitter (Harte 85), O’Donovan (Yorke 73), Jones
Subs Not Used
Fulop, McShane

Cudicinih, A. Cole, Terry, Ferreira, Alex, J. Cole (Wright-Phillips 82), Lampard, Ballack (Essien 73), Mikel, Drogba, Kalou
Subs Not Used  Hilario, Shevchenko, Carvalho
Booked  Mikel
Goals  Terry 10

Attendance 44,679

M. Dean

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