Charlton Athletic 2-1 Chelsea
Euell Double Sinks The Blues
The former Wimbledon man had claimed the opener with his 10th of the
season with a sweet volley from the edge of the area as a quiet contest
sparked into life in the final quarter.
Mathias Svensson flicked a header inside to Jason Euell, who felt the force of William Gallas' studs on his thighs and the match official shook his head as the former Wimbledon man tumbled. A certain Mr Sheringham will have a rueful smile as he watches the TV highlights.
The home side put the visiting defence - minus Marcel Desailly and John Terry - under plenty of pressure in the opening exchanges but with Emmanuel Petit impressing in an emergency centre-back role alongsdie the returning Gallads, they refused to buckle and the first serious attempt on goal did not arrive until the 21st minute when Chris Bart-Williams sliced well wide.
Petit then nipped in to clear as Euell prepared to pounce, before Svensson gave Carlo Cudicini a chance to show his quality with a stinging 25-yard left foot effort.
The Italian's opposite number, Dean Kiely, was having a quiet afternoon as Charlton's midfield bite knocked Chelsea off their stride, and Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink were living on scraps.
However, just when Jorge Costa and his young partner Jon Fortune could have been forgiven for congratulating themseles on keeping the visitors attack under shackles, the former had to show all his international nous to deny Gudjohnsen the opening goal.
The Icelander was focusing on the whites of Kiely's eyes with the Portuguese international breathing down his neck, but the Charlton man produced a magnificent challenge when the margin for error was nil.
The impressive Paul Konchesky forced Cudicini into another smart save after a neat one-two with Euell, but Alan Curbishley must have been wondering if his shot-shy attack were going to let him down again. If he had caught the latter's eye, he no doubt would have told him not to worry.
Chris Powell launched a deep cross from the left and Svensson, another star for the home side, leaped highest to head the ball back to Euell, on the edge of the penalty area.
He chested the ball down and cracked an instinctive right-foot volley
into the bottom left corner. It would have been game over moments later,
but for a sensational double block from Gallas.
With fifteen minutes remaining on came Gianfranco Zola and Jesper Gronkjaer for Jody Morris and Celestine Babayaro and Chelsea at last looked like a side pushing for a Champions League place.
Charlton hardly got a kick for five minutes, and it was no surprise
when Lampard smashed the ball home from six yards after Gudjohnsen's
knockdown and Hasselbaink's subtle flick.
Chris Bart-Williams then rubbed salt into the wound as his flicked pass over his shoulder sent Euell racing clear, and with Gallas closing in he nonchalantly lofted the ball over Cudicini to seal the Addicks fifth home win of the campaign.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Matthias Svensson (Charlton) No goals, but sensational in every
other department. A couple more displays like this and his Selhurst Park
links will be truly forgotten in SE7.