Andy Munro reports on Blues’ FA Cup exploits at Stamford Bridge.
In the battle of the Blues, it looked like it could be a typical BCFC scenario. Torres still to score, Chelsea’s manager threatened with the sack and Blues on a great run (but fielding a weakened side) although luckily Chelsea weren’t fielding an ex-Blues striker due to score a hat trick/ It was undeniably at that tipping point which normally works against us and I suppose I had visions of a crushing defeat which might then throw our confidence out of kilter with disastrous consequences in the Championship.
When I saw the starting line up I was even more concerned, with the not particularly mobile Ibanez at the back and the rookie Rooney up front. However, my doomsday scenario failed to materialise with Blues even taking the lead early on following a Mutch corner flicked on by Rooney to our secret goalscoring weapon, the Smurf, who hammered the ball home with his trusty left foot. Unfortunately, almost immediately Wade Elliott waved his foot in the Blues area and could have no complaints when a penalty was awarded. However, he was bailed out by a fabulous Colin Doyle save.
Chelski were, of course, desperate to equalise but the Blues back four were at their usual superlative best and later on, when Carr was injured, Spector filled in for him seamlessly. In midfield we battled away like Trojans with a special mention for the unfashionable Fahey who is rapidly becoming a key figure in this area. Strangely enough, if there was somebody who was less than effective, it was Nathan Redmond who was obviously marked out for the ‘men against boys’ rough treatment.
Eventually Sturridge notched the equaliser but the Blues defence heroically held on with Curtis Davies a massively influential figure. In fact young Nathan could have sealed it when he was clean through, albeit at an angle, but shot weakly at the keeper. So desperate were Chelski in the closing stages that John ‘Fair Play?’ Terry was apparently complaining about Blues’ timewasting. This was to no avail as we earned a result that McLeish and all his (now) mercenaries failed dismally to ever achieve.
When we play the return I would like to see us go for it with two up front and, if we get a result, a distinctly winnable game against Leicester City awaits with the next stop Wembley (again).