Dalla Bona sickener out of the Blue

Chelsea 2 Ipswich Town 1ON the face of it ten Premiership games without a win is relegation form.Indeed, one look at the table that doesn't lie, will show Ipswich precariously stuck third from bottom and seemingly in trouble.

By Derek Davis

Chelsea 2 Ipswich Town 1

ON the face of it ten Premiership games without a win is relegation form.

Indeed, one look at the table that doesn't lie, will show Ipswich precariously stuck third from bottom and seemingly in trouble.

Defeat at Chelsea will undoubtedly have the doom merchants wailing the End is Nigh.

But at the risk of sounding silly in the face of such statistical evidence Ipswich are not playing relegation type football.

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It took a goal of outstanding quality in time added on from Sam Dalla Bona, to beat the Blues who had overcome a apparent injustice to claw their way back into the game.

When Marcus Stewart equalised an earlier Gianfranco Zola goal from the penalty spot it took his tally to eight goals for the season and it looked as if the draw would have been a fair result.

But unfortunately it wasn't to be and they now go into a two week period without a game to put things right, and wallow in their own misery.

It is unlikely George Burley will welcome any negative thoughts and it is only right that the message is coming from the club should be one that is so positive.

This team has shown it is good enough to stay in the Premiership although Burley will know there is still much to do to get them back to the point where the belief is spread further.

Ipswich did not fully find their form at Stamford Bridge until the second half, perhaps it was a case of Chelsea sitting back deeper to defend their lead but give credit to Ipswich who also showed dogged determination to put Marcel Desailly and co under so much pressure.

Hermann Hreidarsson was a constant threat with his overlapping down the left hand side and interchanged with Jamie Clapham and they provided a lot for Chelsea to deal with.

Even when the Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri changed things around at half-time to put on Willem Gallas to try and stem the down Town's left flank Ipswich were still finding some width.

Mark Venus couldn't get his left foot working to the usual high Standard to penetrate as deeply as he would have liked but it was a sign of Ipswich gradual dominance in the second half that they were being awarded so many free kicks and corners.

Town's midfield nullified Chelsea's central areas with skipper Matt Holland dealing effectively with Sam Dalla Bona for the most part and Zola becoming less of a threat after running riot in the first half.

In defence Town's back four was superb, Bramble outshone is opposite number John Terry and his omission from England Under 21 squad to play Holland this week must surely be an oversight on David Platt's part.

Mark Venus and the back line restricted Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to long range efforts which Matteo Sereni dealt with, with a certain amount of disdain.

Jim Magilton played a lot more positive passes than of late and Town looked the brighter for it.

Although they missed Sixto Peralta's attacking flair and determination to go at players.

Up front Richard Naylor was his usual aggressive and persistent self and Stewart's running stretched the Londoner's and caused World Cup winner Desailly to earn his money.

Town were forced to make two changes from the win in Sweden with Wright replacing the injured Peralta who took a knock on his knee in that game.

The popular Argentinian spurned the posh seats at Stamford Bridge to sit in the stand in among the Town's 2,000 travelling support.

Makin, who replaced Fabian Wilnis in the first half in Helsingborg kept his place at right back as Ipswich deployed a 4-4-2 formation.

Chelsea made five changes from the side which were held to a 1-1 draw by Hapoel Tel Aviv, which saw the London club crash out of the UEFA Cup on Thursday.

Emmanuel Tetit was out with a knee injury while Mario Stanic Willen Gallas, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Boudewin Zenden, were all relegated to the bench.

It was probably just a coincidence that these five were among the six who chose not to travel to Israel for the first leg.

Chelsea's opening goal stemmed from a contentious free kick which Ipswich feel should have gone Richard Naylor's way and to make matters worse Celestine Badayro took the kick some ten yards from the alleged offence.

But there was no faulting the swiftness of the Chelsea attack and Venus and Hreidarsson did well to stop Michael Forssell who had surged into the area.

Bramble prevented Frank Lampard to follow up but that allowed Zola to appear unmarked and he struck a powerful low drive from the angle of the 18 yard box to beat Sereni low inside his left post in the 36th minute.

Seven minutes later another dubious refereeing decision by Rob Styles led to two Town players being booked.

Bramble appeared to have barely won the ball in his challenge on Forssell five yards outside the Town penalty area.

Wright reacted furiously when a foul was awarded against Ipswich and was booked for his participation, meanwhile Naylor got involved as Chelsea looked to place the ball and was also cautioned.

The kick was moved to the edge of the area but fortunately Hasselbaink's shot whistled wide left of Sereni's left upright.

Sereni's propensity to parry might have cost Ipswich dearly when he pushed a 25-yard shot from Lampard into the path of John Terry who stooped to head the ball in but an offside flag had already been raised.

Skipper Holland was unfortunate when he met a Making diagonal ball and Melchiot blocked without knowing too much about it.

Ipswich's deserved equaliser came in the 82nd minute and stemmed from a Jermaine Wright cross.

As Stewart went to meet it he was shoved in the back by Melchiot and the penalty was obvious.

As cool as ever Stewart stepped up to send Australian keeper Mark Bosnich the wrong way with his well struck left foot shot.

That was Stewart's fifth goal in four games and he will clearly be wishing the Bolton game was a lot lot nearer than almost a fortnight away.

Ipswich looked to have earnt a deserved draw before a crushing blow almost three minutes into time added on.

Hasselbaink fed Della Bona 40 yards out and the Italian midfielder skipped passed Bramble's challenge before unleashing an unstoppable drive into the top right hand corner of Sereni's net.

It was a devastating blow now Ipswich must wait until November 18 before they can get things going but it is fair to say even though things are not looking the best a positive attitude is what is needed.

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