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FA Cup - Southend Home 3rd January 2009 1-1


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Last-Gasp Clarke Punishes Wasteful Chelsea

By Alan McGuinness

Peter Clarke produced a 90th minute equaliser for Southend to earn them a shock FA Cup Third Round replay with Chelsea.

The defender nodded in from a long throw to level the scores after Salomon Kalou had put the home side ahead with a first half header.

Clarke’s goal was hard to swallow for the Blues, who had dominated the game but squandered a number of opportunities to add to their tally.

Luiz Felipe Scolari picked a strong team to face the League One side, and it was one of his established stars who had the first clear sight of goal after 9 minutes.

Didier Drogba looked to be clean through from Joe Cole’s pass, but Southend’s right back Sankofa got back well and snuffed out the danger.

Frank Lampard and Joe Cole then had efforts, before Drogba shot agonisingly wide of the post.

A goal came just after the half hour mark. Lampard’s corner found Kalou unmarked, and the Ivorian winger nodded the ball into the net.

Ashley Cole set up Drogba for another chance soon afterwards, but his header didn’t trouble Mildenhall in the Southend goal.

The first booking of the game was accrued by McCormack for a foul on Drogba.

Lampard’s subsequent free kick was straight at the wall and when the ball was played back into the box Drogba rose well to head the ball, but again could only direct it straight at the goalkeeper.

Mikel was the next player to be a shown a yellow card for felling Herd.

Herd then played a crucial role in keeping the scores as they were. The left back was in the right place at the right time to clear Juliano Beletti’s 66th minute header off the line.

Southend had barely threatened Carlo Cudicini’s goal but the Italian had a fair few hearts in mouths with 8 minutes left to play when he rushed out to claim a hanging ball and was beaten to it by Clarke, whose header bounced off the crossbar to safety.

Clarke wasn’t to be denied for long however. Herd launched a long throw into the box which was flicked on by Riccardo Carvalho and Southend’s centre back stole in and headed the ball past Cudicini.

The young Argentine striker Franco Di Santo - an 83rd minute substitute for Joe Cole - had a chance to prevent a replay, but his header was brilliantly kept out by Mildenhall.

Chelsea now face a tricky replay at Roots Hall on 14th January, a game Luiz Scolari could very well do without.

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