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Ron Jones
Rounds up the action from Priestfield Stadium
 real 14k

Chelsea's double-goalscorer Jesper Gronkjaer
"It was fun"
 real 14k

Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler
"It wasn't to be"
 real 14k

banner Sunday, 28 January, 2001, 18:06 GMT
Chelsea defeat brave Gills
Jesper Gronkjaer
Gronkjaer scored two and hit the woodwork twice
Gillingham 2-4 Chelsea

Jesper Gronkjaer and Eidur Gudjohnsen scored a brace apiece to help Chelsea to victory over a Gillingham side intent on making a difficult match even harder.

The Gills suffered two lapses in concentration within the first 15 minutes, allowing Chelsea to seize the initiative.

The Blues duly took a two-goal advantage, and although Gillingham stormed back in the second period, the task was to prove insurmountable.

Chelsea were gifted their first goal, then quickly set about ending the game as a contest and within 30 minutes they virtually had as they romped the first half.

With just three minutes gone Barry Ashby's headed backpass looped over the onrushing Vince Bartam and bounced into the path of Eidur Gudjohnsen.

We could have got that third goal with a bit more luck... it must have been good entertainment for everyone
  Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler

The breakdown in communication between defender and goalkeeper left Gudjohnsen with the simple task of nodding into an empty net.

Gillingham's immediate response was excellent though and Chelsea keeper Carlo Cudicini was at full stretch to keep out a fine, curling free-kick from Nicky Southall.

Shortly after Marlon King hit a vicious drive that skimmed past the left hand upright and Gillingham had begun to put their horrendous start out of their minds and settle into the game.

  Key incidents
3 mins: Gudjohnsen puts Chelsea ahead
14 mins: Gronkjaer makes it 2-0 with his first goal for Chelsea
24 mins: Gronkjaer rounds off a fine move to score Chelsea's third
51 mins: Paul Shaw scores to give Gillingham hope
67 mins: Onoura cuts Gillingham's deficit to just one goal
90 mins: Gudjohnsen hits a superb volley to make it 4-2 to Chelsea

But then they suffered a hammer blow as Jesper Gronkjaer doubled Chelsea's lead with his first goal for the club.

Some slack defending allowed the Danish international to cut inside from the left flank and unleash a right-footed strike into the bottom far corner of the net.

Just 10 minutes later Gronkjaer scored again, latching on to a superb Gianfranco Zola pass.

He clipped in a left-footed shot to make it 3-0, and the Cup Kings from the Kings road were on course to face Arsenal at Highbury.

I have heard a lot about the FA Cup and everything I heard I realised is true
  Chelsea's Jesper Gronkjaer

But Chelsea's dominance waivered after the break as the home side rallied to the fantastically vocal support.

As the fans turned up the volume, the pressure increased on Chelsea and when Paul Shaw scored, Gillingham had a cup lifeline.

Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jody Morris
Gudjohnsen is congratulated by Jody Morris

Shaw slotted past Cudicini after substitue Iffy Onuora's shot was blocked by Ferrer's tackle and the ball squirmed into the strikers path.

Chelsea's doubts magnified when their lead was cut further as Onoura followed up Nicky Southall's fiercely struck free-kick and with Cudicini only able to parry, the striker profited as he headed the ball into the net.

In between the strikes Gronkjaer ended a mazy run with a shot that cannoned off the post as Chelsea tried to benefit from Gillingham's push forward in their efforts to save the tie.

Andy Hessenthaler's men had their opponents pinned back in their defensive third of the pitch for almost the remainder of the match but the equaliser eluded them.

But with minutes remaining Gronkjaer hit the post again as Gillingham breathed a sigh of relief.

But moments later Gudjohnsen struck a sweet volley to end Gillingham's hopes of a remarkable comeback, leaving them to rue their poor start, and ending Chelsea's poor run of away form.

Gillingham: Bartram, Edge, Southall, Ashby, Pennock, Hope, Smith, Saunders, Lewis, King, Shaw. Subs: Patterson, Gooden, Browning, Thomson, Onuora.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Leboeuf, Melchiot, Ferrer, Terry, Morris, Gronkjaer, Harley, Wise, Zola, Gudjohnsen. Subs: de Goey, Poyet, Hasselbaink, Stanic, Le Saux.

Referee: D Gallagher

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