Monday, 7 March 2011

Blackpool 1 Chelsea 3

Two goals from Frank Lampard helped maintain Chelsea's Premier League revival and sent Blackpool tumbling to a second successive defeat.
John Terry gave the Blues a first-half lead after jumping unchallenged inside the box to head home a Lampard corner.
Lampard then converted from the spot following Ian Evatt's foul on Salomon Kalou and scored his second from 16 yards when put through by Kalou.
Jason Puncheon hit low beyond Petr Cech late on but it was merely consolation.
Substitute Brett Ormerod and Evatt came close at the very end for Blackpool for what would have been an astonishing ending, but at least Ian Holloway's men can take some solace from the fact that Puncheon's goal ensures the Seasiders - who are two points above the relegation zone - remain above follow battlers West Brom on goal difference.
For Chelsea, talk of a late bid for the title will increase as they are now nine points behind leaders Manchester United with a game in hand and a trip to Old Trafford yet to come. Their next Premier League match is against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on 20 March.
Chelsea's inspiration came from an unlikely source in the form of Kalou, who replaced the injured Didier Drogba on the hour, and provided the visitors with much-needed directness which was lacking when Drogba and the the subdued Fernando Torres were leading the attack.
He and the impressive Lampard combined impressively after the break to secure the three points against a Blackpool team which showed great character throughout.
Lampard played a part in the opening goal when terrible defending allowed Terry the freedom to jink inside the six-yard box and superbly connect with the midfielder's corner for his fourth goal of the season.
The recalled Jose Bosingwa, showing impressive energy down the right in attack but perhaps susceptible in defence, nearly doubled the advantage soon afterwards only for Richard Kingson to stretch every sinew to prevent the defender's shot from curling into the top left corner.
Prior to the opening goal, Blackpool enjoyed plenty of possession but lacked the guile and potency that the suspended duo Charlie Adams and DJ Campbell would undoubtedly have provided.
However, JPuncheon sparked the home side into life when the on loan Southampton midfielder set off on a mazy run in the 33rd minute and outmuscled David Luiz. The 24-year-old looked to have beaten Petr Cech with his low shot but, luckily for the Blues goalkeeper, the ball ricochet off the inside of the post to safety.
Blackpool were their usual entertaining selves, but Chelsea were always dangerous at set pieces and in the dying minutes of the half the alert Kingson had to punch away a Lampard corner from the path of the advancing Terry.
The home side were once again in the ascendancy after the break and appeared to have been given a slice of good fortune when Chelsea were forced into an unscheduled substitution, replacing Drogba, who had been struck above the hip, with Kalou.
But it was Kalou who was the architect of Chelsea's two goals as the lively Ivorian was brought down inside the box by Evatt, which left referee Mike Dean with little option to award the penalty. Lampard sent Kingson the wrong way to score from the spot and shortly afterwards the midfielder made it eight goals in 12 games after being put through by Kalou.
Blackpool now faced an almost impossible task, which was was made all the more more difficult when Kingston was forced from the field with a knee injury and was replaced by reserve goalkeeper Mark Halstead for his Premier League debut.
Ian Holloway's side fought until the end and maintained their record of scoring in every home game when Crainey caught Bosingwa in possession and Puncheon collected a pass from James Beattie to finish beyond Cech for a lovely strike.

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