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The BBC's Ron Jones
"Just when it would seem Wimbledon would upset the odds"
 real 28k

Saturday, 12 February, 2000, 18:09 GMT
Blues close the gap

Chelsea Chelsea are now just one point behind Arsenal


Chelsea 3-1 Wimbledon

Chelsea moved within one point of third-placed Arsenal after a late surge against Wimbledon at Stamford Bridge.

But the game was overshadowed by an incident in the tunnel after the game, following an on-field clash between Chelsea's Dennis Wise and Kenny Cunningham.

The Dons' new signing Andreas Lund had looked like repaying a huge chunk of his transfer fee with a goal on his debut.

Match facts
73mins: Lund puts Dons in front
78mins: Poyet equalises
79 mins: Weah puts Blues ahead
90mins: Morris seals the win
But the Dons lead lasted only five minutes as Chelsea came from behind to grab the points.

Gustavo Poyet levelled the scores with a thunderous volley from 22 yards on 78 minutes after George Weah had headed the ball back to the Uruguayan.

And within moments Gianluca Vialli's side were in front, substitute Jody Morris crossing for Weah to head home from five yards.

Wimbledon were stunned, Chelsea rampant, and it was no surprise when Morris completed the comeback with a thumping drive from just outside the area to leave the visitors looking anxiously over their shoulders at the relegation dogfight.

Poor first-half

The first-half was a dour affair, particularly from the home side's point of view as they failed to register a single shot on target.

Most of Chelsea's attacking intentions were frustrated by an inability to break down Wimbledon's well-organised offside trap, Weah frustratingly caught out time and again like a first-year trainee.

A sell-out crowd had yet to witness the creation of a single clear-cut chance and the fans were reduced to cheering the appearance of substitute Gianfranco Zola as he warmed up on the touchline.

Lund was booked in first-half stoppage time for a challenge on Leboeuf as the first half mercifully petered out.

Sense of purpose

Chelsea began the second half with a greater sense of purpose and pinned back Wimbledon inside their own half for long periods.

But for all their possession the Blues still failed to trouble Neil Sullivan unduly, most moves breaking down just outside the area in front of the massed ranks of Dons defenders.


vialli The Blues looked more dangerous after the break
It was no surprise, therefore, to see the introduction of Zola after 62 minutes to the delight of the crowd, although not apparently to the delight of the replaced Petrescu who headed straight down the tunnel.

With 20 minutes to go, Vialli made a double substitution when Morris replaced Deschamps and Tore Andre Flo came on for Sutton.

The visitors finally broke the deadlock on 73 minutes with Chelsea skipper Wise was guilty of delaying his clearance too long deep in his own penalty area.

Substitute Neal Ardley latched onto the ball and swung the ball back across goal for Cort to head down and Lund to smash home.

But the Dons' lead lasted only five minutes as Poyet equalised in spectacular fashion, hammering home a blistering volley from 22 yards for his 11th goal of the season.

And within seconds the home crowd erupted again as Chelsea took the lead, Morris given time and space to measure his cross to leave Weah a simple free header from five yards out.

As the Dons pushed forward in search of an equaliser they left themselves exposed at the back and Chelsea sealed the win one minute from time when Morris thumped home from just outside the area.

Teams

Chelsea: De Goey, Lambourde, Thome, Leboeuf, Harley, Petrescu, Deschamps, Wise, Poyet, Sutton, Weah. Subs: Flo, Morris, Cudicini, Zola, Clement.

Wimbledon: Sullivan, Cunningham, Andersen, Hreidarsson, Kimble, Willmott, Earle, Euell, Cort, Lund, Andresen. Subs: Ardley, Francis, Heald, Leaburn, Badir.

Referee: P Jones (Loughborough)
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