Away Day Blues Again for Hammers
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 14 Mar 2010 10:39:00
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A stunning Scott Parker goal wasn't enough to prevent West Ham going down heavily to title-chasing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

Hammers' fans may have been surprised by Gianfranco Zola's team selection, as he made five changes from the home defeat to Bolton.

Perhaps the most surprising of which was the strike partnership of Ilan and Mido. Kieron Dyer started only his sixth game in three years and Swiss youngster Fabio Drapella made his Premier League debut. Danny Gabbidon replaced James Tomkins.

Chelsea dominated for much of the game but West Ham should have opened the scoring early in the first half when the sluggish Ilan failed to convert an excellent opportunity resulting from good work by Jonathan Spector and Mido down the right.

They were made to pay when Alex rose to head in Florent Malouda's cross from the left after sixteen minutes.

It looked as if the flood gates might open but somehow the Hammers clawed their way back when Scott Parker struck a superb shot past Chelsea debutant keeper Ross Turnbull on the half hour.

West Ham regained their composure and the travelling fans, crammed in The Shed End, began to think it might just be their day.

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The visitors started the second half well, playing some neat football. However, just when things were looking encouraging, Diddier Drogba stole in on 56 minutes to convert Malouda's pinpoint cross. It was effectively game over.

After 68 minutes Junior Stanislas and Carlton Cole replaced Dyer and the hard-working Mido but Chelsea continued to dominate. Malouda extended their lead on 77 minutes with a well struck effort.

Chelsea were now in cruise control and might have further increased their lead had it not been for the post and the excellent Robert Green. However Green did spill former Hammer Frank Lampard's shot on 90 minutes for Drogba to add a fourth goal for Chelsea.

Radoslav Kovac almost salvaged some pride in the final minute of injury time when he forced an excellent save from Turnbull.

Another defeat means Zola's men will need to be more clinical in front of goal when they face another tough journey across London to the Emirates Stadium next week, if they are not to find themselves back in the relegation zone.

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