Chelsea 2 Charlton Athletic 1

Last updated : 09 September 2006 By Footymad Previewer
Ricardo Carvalho's decisive strike just after the hour-mark maintained Chelsea's formidable Stamford Bridge record of 46 games unbeaten in the league as they defeated near-neighbours Charlton.

Aided by an early Didier Drogba strike, Chelsea was brilliant in the first half and ponderous in the second.

Former Blue Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink gave Charlton a slight glimmer of hope with a fine strike but Chelsea were dominant from the off.

On five minutes a deep cross by Wayne Bridge was headed towards goal by Andriy Shevchenko but the ball was cleared for a corner.

From the resulting set-piece Chelsea took the lead when Drogba rammed home from eight yards.

The ball came to him after a Frank Lampard corner was headed towards goal by Michael Ballack. Bryan Hughes kicked the ball off the line into the path of the grateful Ivorian who easily beat Scott Carson with a vicious right footer.

Drogba had a fine chance to double the score on 13 minutes when Shaun Wright-Phillips skipped past Djimi Traore on the right and sent a fine cross-goal shot.

The ball was prodded out by Andy Reid to the in-running Drogba who lashed a fine daisy cutter on target but Carson was equal to it by diving smartly to his left.

Charlton boss Iain Dowie was forced to bring on winger Dennis Rommedahl for the injured Reid on 29 minutes.

It was almost instant reward for the south-east Londoners as the Danish wideman whipped in a fine deep cross from which Darren Bent almost got his head to.

Seconds later, Drogba missed an easy chance when he sliced the ball wide of the net with only Carson to beat.

A fine counter-attack by the champions on 36 minutes saw centre-back Carvalho take the ball deep into the Charlton half.

He released the ball to Wright-Phillips who cut the ball back to him but the Portuguese defender drove the ball high and wide.

Charlton were carved open twice in a couple of minutes when first Ballack missed with a fine left-footed curler.

Then, on 40 minutes, Bridge sailed a brilliant cross on to the head of Shevchenko but Carson scooped the ball to safety.

Charlton's first effort on goal came on 47 minutes when Petr Cech comfortably held a weak Rommedahl shot.

Charlton incredibly equalised five minutes later. Rommedahl found space on the right and squared the ball across the edge of the Chelsea area.

Hasselbaink then skipped past Carvalho, who went to ground early, and curled a fine left footer past the outstretched right-handed dive of Cech.

Hasselbaink, a former Chelsea favourite, was apologetic to the Chelsea's supporters and to their credit they applauded him.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho took decisive action and brought on Salomon Kalou and new signing Ashley Cole for his much publicised debut.

Before either could touch the ball, Chelsea re-took the lead on 63 minutes and again a Lampard corner was the source.

The ball went deep to Calvalho who powered a fine header towards goal. Charlton's Amady Faye got a touch to deflect the ball in but the goal was definitely Carvalho's.

Charlton substitute Marcus Bent put the ball in the net on 73 minutes with a sharp volley from six yards out but he was adjudged to have handled it.

Referee Alan Wiley awarded Chelsea a penalty seven minutes from time when Kalou powered his way into the penalty area.

Talal El Karkouri gave the Ivorian a push and down he went. Carson then produced a brilliant right-handed diving save from Lampard's fiercely struck penalty.