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RESERVE REPORT: WEST BROMWICH ALBION 4 CHELSEA 5

Posted on: Wed 20 Oct 2010

Captain Fabio Borini netted an amazing five times to bring Chelsea back from 3-0 down on a cold afternoon in Birmingham.

A nine-goal thriller saw an Ishmael Miller hat-trick put Chelsea on the back foot before Borini pulled two back in the first half.

A further second-half hat-trick from the Italian then secured the Blues victory after the side went 4-3 down after the break.

Manager Steve Holland chose three debutants in his back line as Todd Kane, Archange Nkumu and Ben Sampayo all lined up alongside Rohan Ince, who would later be replaced by George Saville for today's fourth first-time reserve appearance.

Borini sat in the centre of an attacking trio including Jacopo Sala on the right and Adam Phillip on the left. Meanwhile, Conor Clifford, Daniel Philliskirk and Aliu Djalo made up the midfield.

It was a slow start to the game for Chelsea, as we conceded a corner in the opening seconds. Walker was tested twice inside the opening 10 minutes, first smothering a Romaine Sawyers chance and then denying the number 9's second attempt by deflecting onto the bar.

Chelsea retaliated with Borini forcing an acrobatic save from West Bromwich keeper Ryan Allsop after feeding off a Philliskirk ball. Minutes later the Italian won a corner when he volleyed a Kane cross goalwards.

But the hosts took the lead when, with 22 minutes played, Miller stole possession from Walker and tapped in from close range after the Chelsea keeper fumbled an earlier shot on target.

Within seconds of the restart West Brom's number 10 had made it two after chesting down a cross from the right flank and coolly striking into the net with his right foot.

It was a bad start for the Blues, one that was about to get worse when Miller netted his hat-trick only two minutes before the half-hour mark. This time it was a left-footed strike from 25 yards out which curled into the top left when the striker was gifted time and space to shoot.

Borini started the comeback four minutes later when Allsop failed to hold onto a Sala shot and the Italian smashed the loose ball into the net from close range, making it 3-1.

It was only two minutes after Chelsea's first that Borini made it two when he dribbled past the host's defence without being challenged and calmly struck into the net at the far post, despite having two defenders and the keeper between him and the goal.

Not much then happened before the half-time whistle blew, with most of the game taking place in midfield as both sides battled to control possession. Holland made no changes during the break while Miller made way for George Thorne on the other side.

Within five minutes of the restart Borini secured his hat-trick after Phillip was brought down inside the area and our number 9 stepped up to send West Brom's keeper the way wrong way and slot in the bottom left. The game was 3-3 with 50 minutes played.

There were still three goals to come in this closely contested fixture and the first went to West Brom after Walker fumbled again. This time a Clifford mistake gifted Lateef Elford-Alliyu possession on the edge of the box and after Walker failed to hold onto his initial shot, he followed up and finished from close range.

Sala then hit the near post with a corner ball before Borini scored a brilliant goal by drilling with his right foot from just inside the area after feeding off a Phillip ball. Allsop could only watch as the ball flew into his own net.

Now it was 4-4 but Borini still had one goal left in him to put Chelsea in front for the first and only time in the fixture.

Once Ince had made way for Saville to make his debut, the Blues changed from a 4-3-3 formation to 4-4-2, with Sala moving back into midfield.

Not long after Holland's change of tactics, Borini netted a fifth. After finding himself in space and with time to aim an accurate shot, the Italian drilled a brilliantly placed strike into the top left from 25 yards out. Possession had fell to him when a Sala cross was deflected into his path.

It was Borini's seventh goal in four games and the last strike in an enthralling encounter against a tough West Brom side. A brilliant comeback from Chelsea and a great game of football all round.

By Christian Collison

Chelsea (4-3-3): Sam Walker; Todd Kane, Archange Nkumu, Rohan Ince (George Saville 75), Ben Sampayo; Conor Clifford, Daniel Philliskirk (Michael Woods 88), Aliu Djalo; Jacopo Sala, Fabio Borini ©, Adam Phillip (Bobby Devyne 90).

West Bromwich Albion (4-3-3): Ryan Allsop; Gianni Zuiverloon, Joe Mattock (Saido Berahino 57), Sam Mantom, Abou Meite; Paul Downing ©, James Hurst, Steven Reid; Romaine Sawyers, Ishmael Miller (George Thorne h-t), Lateef Elford-Alliyu.

Referee Matthew McLaughlin

http://www.chelseafc.com/page/LatestNews/0,,10268~2191069,00.html

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