FA Cup: Chelsea Knocked Out As Baines Inspired Everton Lives To Fight Another Day




Leighton Baines

Leighton Baines

Everton sensationally dumped Chelsea out of the FA Cup on penalties as drama took centre stage at the Stamford Bridge in a 4th round replay match held on Saturday. A cool finish from Frank Lampard seemed to be the difference between the two sides but a last gasp freekick from the outstanding toffees left back Leighton Baines brought Everton back into the match and finally into the fifth round to face championship side Reading . Everton would be relishing the prospect of going all the way to Wembley and add a silverware to their glittering trophy cabinet from the yesteryears.

Both Chelsea and Everton concentrated their efforts on the midfield in the first half and there were few and far flung opportunities in between. In the absence of Loius Saha, Everton failed to make any lethal attack into the Chelsea half with Jermaine Beckford looking toothless with the real attacks coming from the left flank through their left back. Chelsea had a clear penalty shot in the first half which was however mysteriously turned down by the referee much to the chagrin of Ramires. The second half followed suit and in a dull exhibition of football, Chelsea barely managed to squeak past Everton in terms of bragging rights.

The real drama was to start in the extra time when Frank Lampard struck home the potential match winner late into the first half of extra time only to see Ivanovic making a blunder and conceding a free kick at the edge of the penalty box with just 90 seconds remaining. And Leighton Baines stepped in and struck home the equalizer in front of the 6000 travelling Everton fans.

Penalty kicks can be an interesting proposition with Chelsea clearly having some bad memories of it. But when Frank Lampard struck home the first shot and Everton hero Leighton Baines missing out, it seemed lady luck is shining on the Blue half of London. However Tim Howard saved a brilliant penalty from Anelka and Ashley Cole fired blank his last penalty to give Everton a whisker away from a memorable win. And the job was entrusted upon none other than their captain Phil Neville who struck in the top corner to pile further misery on Chelsea.

With a fourth place finish the best possible chance for Chelsea this season, it remains to be seen whether the Blues stiffen their ranks and set on a journey to capture the holy grail of European Football, the Champions League. But Wembley is still a long way to go.

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