LONDON ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Fernando Torres of Chelsea looks thoughtful during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on February 6 2011 in London England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

Late Cech Heroics Deny Dempsey Penalty Conversion, Preserve 0-0 Draw

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Petr Cech Denies Dempsey At The Death, Saves Point For Chelsea Against Fulham

Until the last quarter hour, Chelsea and hosts Fulham had looked relatively even. Then Mark Hughes and the Cottagers decided to play for their 13th draw of the season, something they eventually got, though Chelsea came close in the final ten minutes. Micheal Essien barely missed on a header. Frank Lampard nearly ran onto a shot in the box. Didier Drogba sent a dangerous ball through the six. Fulham was almost made to pay for their bunkering.

Ultimately, Chelsea never did enough to open their account, leaving Fulham the more likely team to find a goal. A Simon Davies header barely over the bar in the 89th minute was their first shout for three points, though it was Clint Dempsey that ultimately crafted the best chance.

Running onto a long ball sent out of Fulham's third, Dempsey was left one-on-one with David Luiz, the rest of Chelsea's team recovering into defense. Dempsey backed Luiz into the penalty area, stepped-over the ball twice before going right, getting a step on his man as they went toward the line. Luiz thought he saw enough of the ball to make a play for it, but in sticking out his right leg, he brought his opponent down. Penalty in the 92nd minute, and Fulham was on their way to a win.

Danny Murphy, normally Fulham's penalty taker, had been subbed-out ten minutes earlier, leaving Dempsey to take the kick, but as the team's leading goal scorer drug his right foot through the ball, it was clear he as fatigued. Cech guessed correctly, thinking the tired man would try to drag the ball to the left post. The save was ultimately (if relatively) easy, leaving the match drawn, 0-0.

The point leaves Chelsea two points behind Spurs for fourth place and trending in the wrong direction. Their three match winning streak in league snapped last weekend by Liverpool, Chelsea now has one point from two matches they were expecting to get six. What's more, the attack went through a second straight match looking ineffectual, Fernando Torres (starting as the lone central striker) showing a daft touch through much of the first half.

In the second half, Chelsea looked better, though aside from the opening of the period, much of that was due to Fulham's tactics. The Cottagers seemed willing to play for a draw from the 70th minute on, a decision that looks foolish given what Fulham as able to accomplish near the end.

But that's Fulham. That's Mark Hughes, who now has 13 draws on the season. They stay in 12th while Chelsea stays in fifth, both teams earning a point from today's West London Derby.

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Fulham FC Vs. Chelsea FC: Clint Dempsey Fails To Convert Penalty Kick, Leaves Sides Drawn 0-0

In the 90th minute, while we thought Fulham was holding out for a draw, a poor pass from John Terry allowed Fulham to break into a counter attack. Ball out to Eidur Gudjohnsen, played forward to Simon Davies then wide to Zoltan Gera, the Cottagers were threatening. A cross found Davies on a near post run, the Welshman sending a header over the bar. Fulham's attack went for naught, but it severed as a reminder. Fulham could steal this match, too.

Three minutes later, that threat came to fruition. A long ball our of the back for Dempsey put the attacker one-on-one with David Luiz, who had a spectacular match. After two step-overs Dempsey beat Luiz toward the line, but when the Brazilian stuck a led out and brought his man down, Mike Dean had no choice. Penalty for Fulham.

Dempsey, with his chance to bring his goal total to 10 and win the match, stepped to the spot. But the penalty was ill-placed, off the foot of a dead tired man. Cech's dive to his right saved the ball, with Dempsey's overhead attempt on the rebound going wide.

Where we spent the match looking for Chelsea to find their goal, it was Fulham who came closest to three. Chelsea stays fifth place after a 0-0 draw that they were ultimately lucky to earn. At full-time in West London, the sides were left even.

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