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Premiership - Everton Away 22nd December 2008 - 0-0

Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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Terry Sees Red as Chelsea Toil at Goodison

By Alan McGuinness

Luiz Felipe Scolari will rue a missed chance to go top of the Premier League, but will also be thankful that his Chelsea side somehow managed to escape from Goodison Park with a point this evening.

John Terry was sent off in the first half for a high tackle on Leon Osman, and Everton had a number of chances but couldn’t find a way past Petr Cech.

A lively start from the Blues gave no indication of the hard slog that in store for Scolari’s side - who lost their 100% away record in the Premier League this season.

Ashley Cole forced Tim Howard into action minutes into the game with a volley that the American keeper did well to keep out.

Everton replied with a couple of efforts of their own, including a 30-yard shot from Phil Neville which Cech got down well to save.

Nicolas Anelka then hit the post in the 17th minute, but he was standing in an offside position when Alex’s header fell to him.

Anelka was penalised again moments later - this time for handball - when he laid the ball off to the advancing Frank Lampard, whose shot was deflected over the bar.

As the game progressed towards half time, things began to boil over.

First John Terry received a straight red card for a studs up tackle on Osman. The England captain had his eyes on the ball, but in today’s footballing climate, you can hardly blame Phil Dowd for reaching for a red card.

Lampard and Ashley Cole then picked up yellow cards as the crowd began to raise the noise levels inside the confines of Goodison Park.

John Obi Mikel moved back into central defence for the remainder of the first half, and at half time, Scolari made his move. Anelka and Joe Cole were hauled off, Didier Drogba and Branislav Ivanovic taking their place.

On 51 minutes, Felliani rose but luckily for Chelsea, his header was straight at Cech.

Everton made their first change after an hour, and it was an enforced one. Joseph Yobo limped off and was replaced with Leighton Baines.

Drogba won a free kick after 67 minutes, offering Chelsea the chance to put some pressure on the home side, a rare occurrence in this game.

What followed summed up Chelsea’s evening. Michael Ballack was booked for protesting about the positioning of the Everton wall. Once the free kick was taken, it was a poor effort that was mopped up easily.

The Toffees, roared on by a vociferous home crowd, seemed to be in the ascendancy, and it was only for two top saves from Cech that they didn’t take the lead.

Hibbert’s cross was deflected towards goal off Lampard’s back, forcing Cech to back peddle and tip the ball over the bar.

From the resulting corner, Lescott header was expertly tipped around the post by the Czech international.

A backheel from Felliani caused some flutters in the Chelsea box, but the ball flew across goal with no one able to make a telling touch.

Steven Pienaar thought he had given Everton a late, late lead when he bundled the ball over the line, but he was offside and replays showed that Cech had managed to get two hands on the ball before it went into the net.

Chelsea remain second in the table, and will have mixed emotions of an evening that can be viewed both as a chance lost and a valuable point gained in adversity.

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