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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 November, 2003, 16:56 GMT
Chelsea edge past Everton
Mutu celebrates his winner as Martyn appeals

Everton 0-1 Chelsea

Adrian Mutu's 12th goal of the season was enough to keep Chelsea on Arsenal's coat tails in the Premiership title race.

Mutu headed home Geremi's cross on 49 minutes to seal all three points for Chelsea and condemn Everton to a third game without a goal.

The result was rough on the home side, but Everton were once again made to pay for their failure to capitalise on a string of chances.

Everton came into the game on the back of two successive goalless draws but they quickly set about getting back among the goals.

Tomasz Radzinski, returning to the side following injury, should have put Everton in front in the first minute, but fired wide with only Carlo Cudicini to beat.

Kevin Kilbane headed over the crossbar seconds later as Everton started strongly, but none came closer than Alex Nyarko.

The Ghanaian, playing his first Premiership game since April 2001, smashed a stinging drive against the underside of Cudicini's crossbar, with Chelsea again lucky to survive.

Wayne Rooney, seeking his first goal of the season, failed to find a gaping target after a Cudicini error had set him up for the lob.

KEY MOMENTS
1 min: Radzinski wastes glorious chance for Everton
46 mins: Radzinski shot saved by Cudicini
49 mins: Mutu puts Chelsea in front with far-post header
84 mins: Jeffers heads wide from two yards out

And Everton's profligacy prompted Chelsea's best spell as they ended the second half strongly.

Nyarko's scuffed back pass was pounced on by Mutu, though Nigel Martyn came out quickly to deny the Romanian.

And Joe Cole squeezed a left-foot shot across the face of goal after Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink and Mutu had combined in the visitors' best move of the half.

Everton - and Radzinski - started the second half the way they had the first as the Canadian striker saw his shot on the turn saved by Cudicini.

But it was Chelsea who made the breakthrough four minutes into the second half.

Mutu began a swift breakaway with a neat pass and when Geremi's inviting centre across the six-yard box was missed by Hasselbaink, Mutu was on hand to finish the move he started with a stooping header.

That lead should have been doubled midway through the second half when Hasselbaink's reverse pass was stabbed straight at Martyn by Geremi but fell kindly for Lampard, only for the England midfielder to waste a glorious opening.

And Hasselbaink's hunger for a goal cost Chelsea soon after when he went for goal from 25 yards instead of playing Geremi clear.

Everton threw on James McFadden and Francis Jeffers for the final 25 minutes, with Radzinski a fading star.

But David Moyes' side never had the class or the lucky break they craved in a bid to bring their goalscoring drought to an end.

Jeffers, in particular, displayed neither in the dying minutes when Kilbane's penalty box trickery and subsequent cross provided him with a glorious chance.

But somehow the striker contrived to head wide from just a couple of yards out and with the goal at his mercy.

And Chelsea's victory was confirmed in the final seconds of injury-time when Thomas Gravesen's shot was saved well by Cudicini.


Everton: Martyn, Hibbert, Yobo, Weir (Stubbs 33), Naysmith, Gravesen, Nyarko, Linderoth (McFadden 65), Kilbane, Radzinski (Jeffers 65), Rooney.
Subs Not Used: Li Tie, Simonsen.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Gallas, Terry, Bridge, Makelele, Geremi, Lampard, Cole (Gudjohnsen 87), Mutu (Duff 78), Hasselbaink.
Subs Not Used: Johnson, Huth, Ambrosio.

Attendance: 40,189

Referee: J Winter (Cleveland).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Conor McNamara
"This was a game won by Chelsea with hard graft"




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