Late Lamps goal lifts AVB’s Blues

The veteran midfielder celebrated his return to the starting

line-up by converting a cross from Ashley Cole with a minute of

normal time remaining in the Premier League clash. Ramires had

given the Blues a 54th-minute lead, but Stephen Ward looked to have

salvaged a point for the home side with an 84th-minute strike –

until Lampard settled the issue. However, it needed an injury-time

save from goalkeeper Petr Cech – who tipped over a close-range

header from Kevin Doyle – to deny Wolves a point. Victory enabled

Chelsea to end a four-game run without a win and, temporarily at

least, pushed them back into fourth spot with Arsenal not in action

until later on Monday evening. Villas-Boas would have taken heart

from the performance of Fernando Torres, who started in the absence

of the injured Didier Drogba and Daniel Sturridge. The former

Liverpool player looked sharp and committed throughout the 90

minutes and there were signs of him returning to his best. Juan

Mata also impressed in the centre of the park but Wolves’ battling

spirit meant they were always in contention with winger Adam

Hammill causing plenty of problems An early slip by Jose Bosingwa

allowed David Edwards a shot at goal inside the first 20 seconds

but it lacked power and Cech was able to save comfortably low to

his right. A mix-up between Wolves defenders Christophe Berra and

Ward allowed Torres to play in Mata, but his cross-shot failed to

hit the target. Torres was looking confident despite not scoring

since October 23 and picked out the run into the box of Lampard. It

needed Richard Stearman to make a fine tackle to deny the England

midfielder a clear-cut chance. Lampard became the first player to

be booked, for a sliding tackle on Hammill. The Wolves winger also

went into referee Peter Walton’s notebook for his challenge on

Cole. Wolves midfielder Karl Henry was booked for tripping Torres

on the edge of his box. Then Doyle was cautioned after throwing the

ball at Cole after he had been upended by the England left-back

Hammill’s free-kick was perfectly flighted for Roger Johnson, whose

header flicked the post. It became five yellow cards in eight

minutes when Oriol Romeu brought down Hammill, who took took the

free-kick himself. Edwards found himself unmarked six yards out but

directed his header past the post. Chelsea ended the first half on

the offensive with Wayne Hennessey turning aside Bosingwa’s

powerful drive. Wolves boss Mick McCarthy made a half-time

substitution with winger Matt Jarvis replacing Anthony Forde. The

home side were still looking dangerous on the counter-attack and

Jarvis’ pace took him past Bosingwa before his cross fell to

Hammill 15 yards out. He kept his volley down but it bounced up

invitingly for Cech who saved away to his right. Ramires put the

Blues in front in the 54th minute. John Terry attacked a Mata

corner but managed only the slightest of touches and the ball broke

to the Brazilian, who held off Ward’s challenge before lashing the

ball into the roof of the net for his sixth goal of the campaign.

The Chelsea players celebrated on the touchline with Villas-Boas

and the coaching staff. McCarthy responded by bringing on

eight-goal leading scorer Steven Fletcher for on-loan Emmanuel

Frimpong, who made an impressive contribution on his Wolves debut.

Ramires teed up an opportunity for Torres but, under pressure, he

dragged his volley well wide. Hennessey needed to be alert to block

an attempt from Raul Meireles, Stearman produced a crucial

challenge to halt the impressive Torres inside the box, before Mata

fired into the side-netting. Ward brought Wolves level in the 84th

minute after Fletcher turned a deep cross from Jarvis back into his

path. However, Lampard won it for Chelsea’s four minutes later

after Torres had found Cole in space to deliver the telling cross –

although they needed Cech’s heroics in the fourth minute of injury

time to preserve all three points.