West Ham 1-1 Chelsea

Chelsea moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League

table on Sunday after coming from behind to claim a 1-1 draw at

West Ham.

The Hammers took a deserved lead on the stroke of half-time

at Upton Park when Alessandro Diamanti stroked home from the spot.

However, the Blues improved after the break and drew level on

61 minutes through Frank Lampard’s spot-kick.

Encroaching Chelsea players resulted in referee Mike Dean

ordering the England midfielder to take the penalty three times in

total – he netted on each occasion, with the third effort finally

counting.

The Blues will probably see this as an opportunity missed

following Manchester United’s thumping at Fulham on Saturday, while

the Hammers have at least avoided being bottom at Christmas as they

stay 19th, a point ahead of Portsmouth and two from the safety

mark.

The visitors started brightly and Robert Green had to be

alert to keep out Lampard’s swerving drive, while Branislav

Ivanovic headed just over the bar.

Scott Parker did brilliantly to clear an Ivanovic header off

the line before the Hammers squandered a decent opportunity when

Jack Collison’s effort from 16 yards was kept out by the feet of

Petr Cech.

Lampard fired a shot wide and Didier Drogba found the

side-netting from a tight angle before Gianfranco Zola’s men broke

the deadlock on the stroke of half-time.

Collison burst into the area and was going away from goal

when Ashley Cole slid in to send the midfielder flying. Diamanti

stepped up to take the spot-kick and sent Cech the wrong way.

The Blues felt aggrieved that they were not awarded a penalty

moments later when Green appeared to clatter Salomon Kalou, but

Dean was having none of it.

Drogba flashed a stunning volley wide from an impossible

angle early in the second period, as Carlo Ancelotti’s men came out

with a harsh talking-to probably still ringing in their ears.

And they were level in the 61st minute when Matthew Upson

made a brilliant tackle on substitute Daniel Sturridge in the area

but the assistant referee flagged for a foul and Dean pointed to

the spot.

Lampard scored but was ordered to take the spot-kick again

due to encroachment. He produced another great finish but,

remarkably, Dean ordered another retake – the England midfielder,

however, kept his cool to fire home at the third time of asking.

Cech kept out a fierce Diamanti strike, while at the other

end Joe Cole blasted over the bar and Drogba fizzed an effort just

wide as a pulsating encounter came to an end.