Blues go down fighting at the Bridge

IPSWICH Town lost interest in the FA Cup at the fourth round stage, but they put up a worthy fight against Premier League big shots Chelsea.

Elvin King

Chelsea 3 Ipswich Town 1

IPSWICH Town lost interest in the FA Cup at the fourth round stage, but they put up a worthy fight against Premier League big shots Chelsea.

Roared on by their wonderful 6,000-strong support, Ipswich had Chelsea worried for long periods and were very much in the game until five minutes from the end.


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Michael Ballack gave the Londoners the lead in the 16 minute, with Alex Bruce popping up to equalise after Chelsea showed more disharmony from a dead ball kick in the 33rd minute.

Ballack put Chelsea back into the lead again in the 59th minute and they bossed the game again. Ipswich kept pressing away impressively but had to concede defeat when Frank Lampard netted a wonderful 28-yard free-kick in the 85th minute.

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Town made one change from the side that beat Crystal Palace 4-1 in the Championship last week. David Wright was fit after his hamstring problem and came in for Harding, who was not one of the seven substitutes.

Young Dutch defender Balkestein kept his place after his fine display beside Gareth McAuley and was up against the Premier League's highest scorer Anelka. Drogba, back in favour at Chelsea was on the bench for a home side that was missing the suspended Mikel.

Haynes, who celebrated his 21st birthday this week, has signed a new deal that takes him up to the summer of 2012 and not 2011. He was looking to impress on a big stage on the right side of midfield.

Town fans made more noise than their counterparts before the start in a sell-out capacity crowd. They were determined to make a day of it regardless of how the game went and filled the two tiers of the Shed end.

R Wright save well at the near post from Malouda inside two minutes - with Lampard firing the rebound just wide.

Anelka's pass seven minutes later went over the head of D Wright leaving Ballack to have a free angled effort and he missed the far post by a foot with a fierce effort.

Belletti was sitting in front of the home back four with Malouda and Kalou wide and Ballack and Lampard rushing through the middle. And Chelsea took the lead in the 16th minute.

Lampard played a long ball that found Cole overlapping down the left unmarked. His pull-back was side-footed low into the middle of the goal by a sliding Ballack.

There has to be question marks about Town's defending, and it left them with a mountain to climb as the Londoners could be seen to visibly increase in confidence.

Ipswich slowly forced their way back into the game and after Miller had grazed the bar with a free-kick, they equalised in the 33rd minute.

Town fans went mad after a Garvan free-kick. A Town player got a brief touch at the near post with his head and after the ball came off two home players, Bruce blasted home from six yards for his second goal of the season.

Three minutes later Ipswich should have scored after Chelsea were found wanting at the back and Walters went free down the right flank. He pulled the ball back perfectly to an unmarked Haynes right in front of goal. Haynes' show was mis-hit and went well over a relieved Cech's bar.

Town survived a scramble in their own goalmouth, but fully deserved to be level at the interval with Chelsea's play at this time littered with wayward passes.

Seconds after Drogba came on Chelsea re-took the lead in the 59th minute.. Garvan was booked for a foul on Anelka 23-yards out, Ballack's free-kick went over the wall and entered the net to the right of a diving Wright.

In the 65th minute, a neat Chelsea move - they now had their tails up again - Wright did well to dive to his right and deny Kalau who had gone clear.

Wright made a couple of other good stops with Stead now playing on the right for the visitors and Counago and Lisbie in the middle.

Counago set up Stead with a 81st minute chance - that was placed just wide. Stead then crossed wonderfully well with Lisbie within a whisker of a touch from right in front of goal.

Chelsea scored direct from a free-kick for the second time when Lampard netted with a surperb shot that gave Wright no chance as it dipped to enter the net at the top corner. This was in the 85th minute - and put paid to Town's gallant hopes.

Teams

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Carvalho (Sub Ivanovic 69 mins), Alex, Cole, Malouda (Drogba 57), Lampard, Ballack (Deco 78), Belletti; Kalau, Anelka. Substitutes: Cudicini, Ferreira, Mancienne, Stoch.

Ipswich Town: R Wright; Bruce, McAuley, Balkestein, D Wright; Haynes (Lisbie 59), Garvan, Miller (Quinn 81), Norris; Walters, Counago. Substitutes: Supple, Bowditch, Shumulikoski, Thatcher.

Referee: Mr A Wiley (Staffordshire)

Attendance: 41,137.

- IPSWICH Town's scheduled home league game against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday week is off with Forest now having an FA Cup replay with Derby next midweek.

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