Wed, Dec 30, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Blues come from behind to down plucky Cottagers

FESTIVE FOOTBALL Chelsea moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League while Birmingham extended their unbeaten run to 11 by beating Stoke

REUTERS AND AFP , LONDON

Fulham defender Chris Smalling heads the ball clear during their Premier League match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge Stadium in London on Monday.

PHOTO : AFP

Chelsea scrambled a 2-1 home win over Fulham on Monday as two goals in two minutes saved them from what was looking like a first home defeat for more than a year.

Fulham took a fourth minute lead at Stamford Bridge through Zoltan Gera before a Didier Drogba header in the 73rd minute and an own goal from Premier League debutant Chris Smalling two minutes later rescued Chelsea, who had lost one and drawn three of their previous five league games.

Fulham got off to a flyer at a ground where they had not won for 30 years with Gera scoring the opening goal.

Although they dominated possession for the rest of the half, Chelsea, struggled to create chances.

Mark Schwarzer saved well from Drogba after an hour to raise Fulham’s hopes of hanging on but the game then turned completely.

Drogba headed the equalizer from a deep Branislav Ivanovic cross and Schwarzer then parried a Daniel Sturridge shot against teammate Smalling for an own goal.

Chelsea’s win moved them five points clear at the top from Manchester United, although United have a game in hand against Wigan today.

Meanwhile, Manchester City gave new boss Roberto Mancini a second straight win with a 3-0 victory at Wolves.

Carlos Tevez scored twice for City, the other goal coming from a Javier Garrido free-kick.

“It was a fantastic performance,” said Mancini, who guided City to their first away win for four months.

Birmingham City are up to seventh after their 1-0 win at Stoke City extended their unbeaten run to a top flight club record of 11.

Tottenham continued their push for a top-four finish with a well-deserved 2-0 win over struggling West Ham at White Hart Lane.

An electrifying burst by winger Aaron Lennon set up Luka Modric who scored after 11 minutes while Jermain Defoe settled it nine minutes from time.

Elsewhere, Darren Bent twice gave Sunderland the lead only for Blackburn Rovers to draw 2-2 after goals from Morten Gamst Pedersen and El-Hadji Diouf while Everton beat Burnley 2-0.

James Vaughan came off the bench to score seven minutes from time at Goodison Park before Steven Pienaar wrapped up the victory.

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