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The BBC's John Murray
"This would have been a desperately frustrating afternoon"
 real 28k

Saturday, 25 March, 2000, 17:13 GMT
Blues grateful for Richards error

Richards (right) unluckily handed Blues a point
Chelsea 1-1 Southampton

An unlucky own goal from Saints defender Dean Richards denied visiting boss Glenn Hoddle a win on his return to Stamford Bridge.

Jo Tessem handed the visitors the lead with just 21 minutes to go, and the Blues appeared set for a second home defeat in four days.

But Richards put through his own net six minutes later to spare Chelsea's blushes.

It was particularly bad luck for the big defender, who had been in inspired form at the heart of the visitors' defence.

After Saints had collapsed 7-2 at Spurs two weeks ago this was a more solid performance from Hoddle's side.

Chelsea chairman Ken Bates welcomes Hoddle back to the Bridge
Chelsea dominated the possession and deserved at least a point, but they can have few complaints at missing the other two, thanks to series of missed chances.

Dennis Wise was impressive as he tried to make a point to Hoddle, who ignored his claims for an England place during his spell in charge of the national side.

But Chris Sutton could not gain revenge for being frozen out by the former England boss.

Along with fellow strikers George Weah and Gianfranco Zola, Sutton continued to waste chances and still has three goals this season to show for his 10m transfer fee.

The former Blackburn man had two penalty claims turned down after clashing with Richards.

But it was no surprise when free-scoring midfielder Gustavo Poyet was brought on by Vialli as he tried to chase the game.

Chances wasted

Defender Emerson Thome was the first to threaten, rattling the crossbar from an early corner.

Zola also struck a superb first half free-kick past both the wall and keeper Paul Jones but Richards acrobatically cleared the ball off the line.

Dan Petrescu's shot was also well-saved after a thrilling move involving Sutton and Weah.

The visitors had Kevin Davies and Hassan Kachloul threatening down the flanks and the Moroccan curled a free-kick just over the bar.

Tessem also scuffed a shot off-target before half-time.

Chelsea continued to squander chances after the restart despite being camped in the visitors' half, with Weah volleying wide from point-blank range.

The Blues were made to pay when Chris Marsden dispossessed Sutton and found Kachloul.

Goals in six minutes

Tessem then received the ball via Wayne Bridge and was given far too much time to take aim with a 20-yard shot that flew past Ed de Goey.

Six minutes later Chelsea earned their reprieve when Wise's hopeful high ball was inexplicably headed back into his own net by Richards.

He was under little pressure, but may have mistaken covering team-mate Hassan El Khalej for an opponent.

Chelsea chased a winner but continued to waste openings.

Marcel Desailly headed wide, Poyet and Morris had efforts saved and an attempted cross by Jon Harley was tipped over the bar by Jones.


Chelsea: De Goey, Ferrer, Desailly, Thome, Harley, Petrescu, Wise, Morris, Zola, Sutton, Weah. Subs: Hogh, Poyet, Di Matteo, Ambrosetti, Cudicini.

Southampton: Jones, Dodd, Richards, El Khalej, Bridge, Tessem, Marsden, Oakley, Pahars, Kachloul, Davies. Subs: Lundekvam, Le Tissier, Moss, Benali, Soltvedt.

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury)

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