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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