Jonathan Walters fires Stoke ahead after a wonderful run
By Owen Phillips
Chelsea's slim title hopes all but vanished as Stoke City turned in a barnstorming display to earn a point.
Jonathan Walters scored a wonderful solo opener, crashing the ball home after running from the halfway line.
Didier Drogba deservedly headed the Blues level, meeting Nicolas Anelka's teasing cross to power the ball in.
Both sides twice hit the woodwork, Chelsea through two Drogba shots and Stoke through Marc Wilson and Robert Huth, but neither could force a winner.
It was Stoke who did most of the pressing after the interval and they will feel aggrieved their dominance did not produce three points and a first Premier League win over the Londoners.
Ancelotti refuses to give up on title
The pace and trickery of wing duo Matthew Etherington and Jermaine Pennant was the main threat but the strength of Kenwyne Jones, who led the line brilliantly, laid the platform for the hosts.
Stoke will point to at least five excellent openings in the second period, with Wilson's rasping free-kick and Huth's towering header, which produced a stunning reflex save from Petr Cech, the closest they came.
But substitute Ricardo Fuller also headed agonisingly wide and Penannt had a decent low effort well saved by the Blues keeper.
On another day, Chelsea would have been happy with a well-earned point from a pulsating tussle.
Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti would have been confident at the interval having seen his side dominate despite the shock of going behind on eight minutes when Walters profited from some hesitant defending by David Luiz to score a wonderful individual effort.
The striker cleverly gained possession on the halfway line, raced towards goal, cut inside Michael Essien and crashed the ball low past Cech.
Chelsea, who left Fernando Torres on the bench, refused to panic and dominated possession for the rest of the half.
Drogba celebrates his equaliser
Ashley Cole saw his header well saved by Asmir Begovic and Florent Malouda's well-struck half-volley fizzed wide.
Frank Lampard also saw a brilliantly controlled 30-yard volley kept out by Begovic and Drogba blazed wildly over on the volley.
The equaliser seemed inevitable and came courtesy of a majestic Drogba header from Anelka's inviting cross on 33 minutes.
Chelsea were playing with confidence and style and retaining possession with ease.
And they continued to look the more likely at the end of the half and in the early stages of the second half as the lively Anelka shot wide from 20 yards and Lampard tried his luck from distance.
Strike partner Drogba also clipped the post with a strike across goal but Stoke had a 15-minute spell where Wilson and Huth both rattled the bar and the visitors struggled to get out of their half.
Jones fired over after a typical powerful run and the burly frontman headed fractionally wide from a bullet-like Rory Delap throw-in.
Chelsea rallied in the closing stages, sensing their title hopes were slipping away.
Pulis impressed as Stoke 'match' Chelsea
Substitute Torres almost made an instant impact but his shot was deflected and Drogba rattled the bar following a cute turn.
Lampard appealed in vain for a penalty after a swift counter-attack and Essien shot wide from distance.
But an away win would have been tough on Stoke who combined a typically muscular display with some neat, open and attacking football to edge six points clear of the relegation zone with seven games to play.
90:00+7:16 The referee signals the end of the game.
90:00+6:48 Ashley Cole takes a shot. Robert Huth gets a block in.
90:00+6:09 Short corner taken by Didier Drogba from the right by-line.
90:00+4:56 Dean Whitehead challenges Fernando Torres unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Michael Essien.
90:00+4:14 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line to the near post.
90:00+3:45 Ricardo Fuller takes a shot. Blocked by Marinho David Luiz.
90:00+3:09 Fernando Torres takes a shot. Blocked by Ryan Shawcross.
90:00+2:22 Ricardo Fuller produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
90:00+1:50 Substitution Danny Collins comes on in place of Danny Higginbotham.
90:00+0:07 Foul by Jermaine Pennant on Michael Essien, free kick awarded. John Terry takes the direct free kick.
90:00+0:07 Substitution Ricardo Fuller on for Jermaine Pennant.
89:14 Fernando Torres challenges Marc Wilson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Marc Wilson restarts play with the free kick.
88:14 Shot by Frank Lampard from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.
85:34 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington, Danny Higginbotham takes a shot. John Terry makes a clearance.
84:39 Didier Drogba has shot on goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
84:39 Substitution Dean Whitehead comes on in place of Glenn Whelan.
82:38 Frank Lampard has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide left of the goal.
Correction - 80:57 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Florent Malouda from the right by-line. Close range headed effort by Fernando Torres
goes wide of the left-hand upright.
80:46 Michael Essien takes a shot. Save by Asmir Begovic. Florent Malouda takes a inswinging corner.
79:42 Corner taken by Florent Malouda from the right by-line, Didier Drogba has a volleyed shot.
79:42 Substitution Branislav Ivanovic joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jose Bosingwa.
78:53 Frank Lampard takes a shot. Glenn Whelan gets a block in.
76:48 Effort from the edge of the box by Jermaine Pennant goes wide of the right-hand upright.
75:55 Kenwyne Jones produces a header from close range which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
72:33 Jermaine Pennant concedes a free kick for a foul on Ashley Cole. Petr Cech takes the direct free kick.
70:34 Effort from the edge of the box by Kenwyne Jones goes wide of the left-hand upright.
64:51 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kenwyne Jones by Michael Essien. Direct free kick taken by Glenn Whelan. Marc
Wilson takes a shot. Inswinging corner taken by Rory Delap from the right by-line, Robert Huth takes a shot. Save made by
63:36 Jermaine Pennant fouled by Ashley Cole, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.
63:36 Booking The referee shows Ashley Cole a yellow card.
62:36 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jermaine Pennant on Ashley Cole. Ashley Cole takes the free kick.
61:41 Fernando Torres takes a shot. Glenn Whelan gets a block in.
60:38 Substitution Ramires goes off and Salomon Kalou comes on.
60:19 Substitution Nicolas Anelka leaves the field to be replaced by Fernando Torres.
57:43 Jose Bosingwa challenges Matthew Etherington unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed
by Jermaine Pennant from left wing, Frank Lampard makes a clearance.
57:43 Booking Jose Bosingwa is cautioned.
55:57 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Florent Malouda from the right by-line, Kenwyne Jones makes a clearance.
55:11 Jonathan Walters challenges John Terry unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ashley Cole takes the free kick.
55:11 Booking Jonathan Walters booked.
53:37 Glenn Whelan fouled by Didier Drogba, the ref awards a free kick. Danny Higginbotham takes the direct free kick.
52:08 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Florent Malouda from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Robert Huth.
51:54 Frank Lampard takes a shot. Save by Asmir Begovic.
51:19 Corner taken left-footed by Florent Malouda from the left by-line, clearance made by Ryan Shawcross.
49:51 Effort from the edge of the box by Didier Drogba hits the post.
48:09 Jermaine Pennant takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a save.
46:34 Nicolas Anelka has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide left of the goal.
45:23 Unfair challenge on John Terry by Rory Delap results in a free kick. Free kick taken by John Terry.
45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
45:00+2:12 The players leave the pitch at half time.
44:14 Jose Bosingwa challenges Matthew Etherington unfairly and gives away a free kick. Asmir Begovic restarts play with the free
43:13 Frank Lampard takes the outswinging corner, Robert Huth makes a clearance.
40:05 Michael Essien gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jermaine Pennant. Free kick crossed by Jermaine Pennant,
clearance by Didier Drogba.
39:26 Kenwyne Jones takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a save.
37:44 Corner taken by Frank Lampard from the right by-line played to the near post, Jonathan Walters manages to make a clearance.
36:56 Corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line, save made by Petr Cech.
35:42 The referee blows for offside against Ashley Cole. Indirect free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.
34:53 Marinho David Luiz takes a shot. Glenn Whelan gets a block in.
32:24 Nicolas Anelka provided the assist for the goal.
32:24 GOAL - Didier Drogba:Stoke 1 - 1 Chelsea Didier Drogba grabs a headed goal from inside the box. Stoke 1-1 Chelsea.
25:33 Effort on goal by Didier Drogba from just inside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the target.
25:12 Ashley Cole fouled by Jermaine Pennant, the ref awards a free kick. Frank Lampard takes the direct free kick.
23:54 Foul by Glenn Whelan on John Terry, free kick awarded. Frank Lampard takes the free kick.
21:43 Effort from 25 yards by Frank Lampard. Asmir Begovic makes a save.
21:19 Corner taken left-footed by Florent Malouda from the left by-line, clearance made by Kenwyne Jones.
20:49 Frank Lampard takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Kenwyne Jones.
18:31 Ashley Cole gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jermaine Pennant. Asmir Begovic takes the free kick.
16:53 Rory Delap fouled by Didier Drogba, the ref awards a free kick. Asmir Begovic takes the free kick.
16:20 Rory Delap gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Marinho David Luiz. Free kick taken by Petr Cech.
14:31 Ramires takes a shot. Ryan Shawcross gets a block in.
12:58 Shot from just outside the box by Florent Malouda goes over the bar.
8:36 Ashley Cole takes a shot. Save made by Asmir Begovic. Corner taken right-footed by Frank Lampard, Ryan Shawcross manages to
make a clearance.
7:24 GOAL - Jonathan Walters:Stoke 1 - 0 Chelsea Jonathan Walters finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal.
Stoke 1-0 Chelsea.
6:23 Corner taken by Frank Lampard played to the near post, Danny Higginbotham makes a clearance.
5:45 Jonathan Walters takes a shot.
4:04 Centre by Jose Bosingwa.
1:29 Jermaine Pennant takes the inswinging corner, Header from close range by Robert Huth clears the bar.
0:57 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ramires on Matthew Etherington. Free kick taken by Glenn Whelan.
0:00 The referee gets the game started.
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