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Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 16:58 GMT
Chelsea defeat battling Derby
Chelsea mob goalscorer John Terry
Chelsea celebrate Terry's (centre) opener
Chelsea 2-1 Derby
E-mail your reaction to Football Talk

Chelsea grabbed a golden opportunity to leapfrog Leeds into fifth place in the Premiership with a vital win at Stamford Bridge.

Blues' substitute John Terry thundered a header home after 50 minutes of a hard-fought clash.

  Key Moments
5 mins: Gudjohnsen smacks inside of the post
43 mins: Hasselbaink hits post from free-kick
50 mins: Terry heads home Chelsea opener
60 mins: Strupar strokes equaliser in
85 mins: Petit bags the winner with right-foot

But Derby's Belgian striker Branco Strupar equalised in the 60th minute after a rare Rams foray into enemy territory.

The home side pushed hard for a winner in the closing stages and Petit bobbled in his first goal in 33 appearances for Chelsea in the 85th minute, for a vital three points.

Chelsea could have taken the lead in just five minutes. Mario Stanic combined with Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink down the Blues' left flank.

The Dutchman cut the ball back intelligently to his strike partner Eidur Gudjohnsen. The Icelandic's piledriver hit the inside of the post before rebounding to safety.

Just 60 seconds later, Hasselbaink slipped the Rams' defence. For once Chelsea's top marksmen failed to convert with Andy Oakes brilliantly defying Hasselbaink at close quarters.

Eider Gudjohnsen (right) shrugs of Derby's Simo Valakari
Gudjohnsen hit the inside of the post after five minutes
Derby withstood the early onslaught but it was that man Hasselbaink who again had the best chance of breaking the deadlock after 35 minutes.

Jesper Gronkjaer accelerated down the left flank before picking out Hasselbaink.

The Chelsea striker's header flashed past Oakes's right-hand upright when it really should have been in the Derby net.

The Dutch international also had the last word of the first half after Strupar had volleyed wide for the visitors in their only respite in the first 45 minutes.

Hasselbaink though became the second Chelsea player to strike a post from a 25-yard free-kick two minutes before the interval.

Obviously I'm delighted to get above Leeds, but we seem to change positions quite often
Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri

The home side went ahead five minutes after the break.

Terry, who had replaced the injured William Gallas at half-time strode up for Chelsea's sixth corner of the game, taken by Graeme Le Saux from the right.

Le Saux's left-foot cross was met by Terry's forehead and the ball crashed past the helpless Oakes to give Chelsea a crucial lead.

However, Derby fashioned an unlikely equaliser from their first real incisive move of the game just before the hour.

I wish there were 16 matches left, not six and in all probability we will have to win four to stay up
Derby manager John Gregory

Rams' right-back Warren Barton crossed from the right. The ball evaded the whole of a pedestrian Chelsea rearguard and Strupar had the simple task to tap the ball home at the far post.

Claudio Ranieri threw on all three substitutes in search of a vital win considering Chelsea's Champions League aspirations.

The winner came from another unlikely source in the shape of Petit, whose right-foot shot deflected past Oakes five minutes before the end.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Gallas (Terry 45), Desailly, Le Saux, Gronkjaer, Lampard, Petit, Stanic (Zola 71), Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen (Forssell 71).
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Dalla Bona.
Booked: Lampard, Le Saux, Hasselbaink.

Derby: Oakes, Barton, Riggott, Higginbotham, Zavagno (Elliott 90), Kinkladze, Lee, Valakari, Boertien, Strupar (Morris 86), Ravanelli.
Subs Not Used: Jackson, Foletti, Grenet.
Booked: Zavagno, Riggott, Valakari, Lee.

Att: 37,849

Ref: M Dean (The Wirral).

BBC Sport's Alistair Bruce-Ball
"Chelsea made hard work of their victory"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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