Handywork Not Enough For Blues  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 1 Fulham 1

Luis Boa Morte
Boa Morte: Equaliser
Chelsea   1-1  Fulham 
Goma og. 39   Boa Morte 66
Barclaycard Premiership, April 26

Ed Randell reporting

Fulham were nearly beaten by a cruel and bizarre goal at Stamford Bridge but were saved by a superb Luis Boa Morte equaliser which sent Chelsea down to fourth in the table.

The former Arsenal player netted with a fine left-foot strike 66 minutes into the game, but the main talking point of the match will be the Chelsea opener.

The goal will go down as an Alain Goma own-goal but referee David Elleray failed to spot a blatant handball from John Terry in the build-up.

The Chelsea defender used his fist to punch the ball back into play after a Gianfranco Zola free-kick had bounced onto the crossbar, and the unfortunate Goma could do nothing to get out of the way as it struck him on the chest and fell into the goal.

The draw all-but confirms Fulham's Premiership status for another season, but thanks to Newcastle's win over Sunderland, it means Chelsea slip back down to fourth in the table.

Apart from the Chelsea goal it was a reasonably forgettable first half, but the Blues should have been in front after only eight minutes, and they would have been but for some good defensive work by Andy Melville.

Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink was put through by Zola and managed to round Maik Taylor when it looked like he had taken the ball too far, but he failed to hit his shot with any real conviction and that allowed Melville to slide in a clear the ball off the line for a corner.

After an impressive display as a substitute against Newcastle last week, young striker Elvis Hammond was given a chance up front for Fulham, but he saw very little of the ball until the half-hour mark.

He got involved in a neat interchange of passes with Steed Malbranque and when the Frenchman got to the byline he played a good ball across the goal but it fell just behind the striker as he ran in on Carlo Cudicini's goal.

Sean Davis followed up the resulting clearance with a shot just over from 25 yards as Fulham started to find their feet and get into the game.

Five minutes later Hasselbaink came close once again. Zola created a crossing opportunity with three or four sidesteps to beat his markers and they were followed up by a fine cross, but Hasselbaink could only glance his header over the bar.

Apart from Hasselbaink's earlier misses, there was little for either set of fans to cheer until what has to go down as one of the most controversial goals of the season.

Alain Goma
Goma: Own-goal

The goal came from a Zola free-kick after Graeme Le Saux had been tripped deliberately by Sylvain Legwinski on the left touchline.

The little Italian swung the free-kick into the danger area where no-one managed to get a touch on the ball.

Somehow - possibly due to the recently-laid pitch - it bounced up onto the bar and was about to spin off the pitch for a goal-kick when Terry managed to chest the ball and then punched it back into play where it hit the unfortunate Goma and fell into the back of the net.

Seven minutes into the second half Claudio Ranieri's side nearly doubled their lead and Fulham were grateful for good reactions from Taylor for keeping Hasselbaink out once again.

The chance came from an excellent break by Le Saux as he beat two down the left wing. He crossed the ball and found Hasselbaink running in on goal but his header was well beaten away by Taylor.

Seven minutes later minutes in and the home side should really have been two up, but the pressure from the now fully-fit Edwin van der Sar must have had a strong effect on Taylor as he pulled off a crucial and mirraculous save.

Hasselbaink had a shot from distance, which forced the Northern Ireland international to save down to his left. He lost sight of the ball though and as he spun around to look for it his arm guided it into the path of the approaching Lampard who seemed to have the simplest of finishes from five yards with half the goal to aim at.

Taylor had other ideas though, and scrambled across and somehow managed to get a hand onto Lampard's side-foot shot and guide it onto the bar, a la Gordon Banks in 1970.

Fulham pulled level with their first real effort on goal in the second half and it was certainly an effort worthy of an equaliser.

Boa Morte turned inside Desailly twice as he made his way to goal before turning and hitting a fine shot past Cudicini's right hand and into the far corner.

Both sides had half-chances to win the game after that - John Collins and Eidur Gudjohnsen had the best of them - but neither could find the killer blow, and it will be Fulham who are the happier with the point, although they have every right to feel hard-done-by about Chelsea's goal.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Gallas (Melchiot 72), Desailly, Terry, Le Saux, De Lucas (Morris 72), Lampard, Petit, Gronkjaer (Gudjohnsen 59), Zola, Hasselbaink. Subs Not Used: de Goey, Cole. Booked: Petit, Gronkjaer, Terry. 

Fulham: Taylor, Finnan, Melville, Goma, Harley, Malbranque (Hayles 83), Clark, Davis, Legwinski, Hammond, Boa Morte (John Collins 83). Subs Not Used: Van der Sar, Sava, Knight.
Booked: Boa Morte, Clark. 

D Elleray (Middlesex).

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