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Last Updated: Monday, 26 December 2005, 14:53 GMT
Chelsea 3-2 Fulham
Chelsea match-winner Hernan Crespo

Hernan Crespo's strike from Joe Cole's cross proved to be Chelsea's winner in a thrilling west London derby.

William Gallas opened the scoring for Chelsea with a deft finish after Robert Huth flicked on Frank Lampard's corner.

Brian McBride nearly equalised before Lampard's shot was deflected into the net off the hand of Sylvain Legwinski.

Petr Cech's error allowed McBride to slot home and a Cole foul led to Heidar Helguson making it 2-2 from the spot before Crespo volleyed in the winner.

Fulham's last London derby win was on New Year's Day - and their hopes of breaking that hoodoo took a serious dent when Gallas shot home after three minutes.

Helguson came close to levelling for Fulham when he got on the end of McBride's knock-down but his shot was superbly smothered by goalkeeper Cech.

Despite their early advantage, Chelsea looked sluggish and they relied on a stroke of luck when Lampard doubled the lead, his shot from just outside the area ballooning off Legwinski's hand and into the net.

But McBride pulled a goal back just before the break when Cech misjudged a swirling free-kick and let the ball bounce through his legs for the American to poke home and make it 2-1.

Early in the second half, Chelsea had strong penalty shouts rejected after Zat Knight seemed to handle the ball.

However, only minutes later it was 2-2 when Helguson scored from the spot after McBride was hauled down in the box by Cole.

Lampard had a goal ruled out for offside and Fulham keeper Mark Crossley clawed a goalbound effort out of the air before being forced to leave the field because of an injury.

And replacement Tony Warner had barely taken up his position in goal before the ball was in his net, Crespo thumping home Cole's pass to wrap up a 12th successive Chelsea home league win.

  • Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho on Joe Cole:

    "I put Joe on the right because I know what he can give me and his fantastic moment came after that.

    "When I came to Chelsea nobody knew his best position - not even Joe. We knew he had the talent but didn't know what to do with him.

    "We only know he's a great attacking player. Now there is no doubt he is best on the right or the left."

  • Fulham boss Chris Coleman:

    "We were nervous in the first 10 minutes and didn't defend properly at the corner for William Gallas' goal," he said.

    "Then they got the second and it was important we didn't fold. But we got a goal back and showed tremendous spirit.

    "We got an equaliser and looked to win it. Overall it was a great display."

    Chelsea: Cech, Paulo Ferreira, Huth (Drogba 57), Terry, Gallas, Makelele, Robben, Lampard, Joe Cole, Wright-Phillips (Gudjohnsen 45), Crespo (Geremi 76).
    Subs Not Used: Bridge, Cudicini.

    Booked: Joe Cole.

    Goals: Gallas 3, Lampard 24, Crespo 74.

    Fulham: Crossley (Warner 71), Leacock, Knight, Goma, Rosenior, Christanval, Legwinski, Radzinski, Boa Morte, McBride, Helguson (John 69).
    Subs Not Used: Bocanegra, Elrich, Pearce.

    Booked: Christanval, Legwinski, John.

    Goals: McBride 29, Helguson 56 pen.

    Att: 42,313

    Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire).

    Interview: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho

    Interview: Fulham boss Chris Coleman


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