Chelsea vs. Everton: Final score 1-0, so close to a result for the Toffees

Scott Heavey

Oh, Tim Howard. Someone give him a hug.

Chelsea remain at the top of the Premier League table, but they needed a bit of luck to get there after Everton put together a solid performance at Stamford Bridge. The Toffees looked set to hang on to a draw until the dying minutes of stoppage time when Tim Howard failed to deal with a free kick, helping Chelsea to walk away 1-0 winners.

Neither half was more exciting than the other, as both featured a handful of half-chances and nothing more. Petr Cech had a harder time of it in goal than did Howard, but his two excellent saves were on Everton's only two shots on target of the night.

Both of Everton's efforts that tested Cech came from Leon Osman. He made Cech tip the ball over the crossbar on a drive from just outside the box in the 12th minute, but was lucky to force Cech to work on the second. His 58th minute shot took a massive deflection and Cech did well to put it out for a corner.

Chelsea had nearly three times as many shots as their visitors, but never truly tested Howard until the very end. Their best chance of the first half came off a corner Everton failed to clear, which resulted in a good chance from 10 yards, but Samuel Eto'o put his shot right into Howard. Chelsea also had a shout for a penalty in the 52nd minute when Phil Jagielka appeared to handle the ball in the box, but nothing was given.

The final half-hour of play was all in Everton's half, but the Toffees defended well, keeping men in front of the ball at all times. Chelsea had a good late chance fall to substitute Andre Schürrle, who was free at the back post off a cross in the 85th minute, but he made poor contact on a volley attempt and missed badly. Ramires almost helped the crowd to blow the roof off Stamford Bridge with a brilliant 90th minute shot from 20 yards, but he missed wide to Howard's right by a mere inch. It looked like Everton were going to hang onto a draw heading into stoppage time, but Chelsea finally broke through at the very end.

In the 93rd minute, Phil Jagielka was whistled for a foul on the right side of the pitch, 25 yards from goal. Frank Lampard hit a brilliant curling delivery towards the back post that barely eluded the mass of players in the center box, eventually falling at the back post. A sliding John Terry unsettled Howard, who deflected the ball into his own net.

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Ivanovic, Matic, Lampard, Hazard, Oscar (Ramires 45'), Willian (Torres 61'), Eto'o (Schürrle 69')

Goals: Howard (og 90')

Everton: Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman, Barry, McCarthy, Pienaar (McGeady 80'), Osman (Barkley 63'), Mirallas (Deulofeu 75'), Naismith

Goals: None

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