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19:23 20th February 2010

Drogba Double Denies Plucky Wolves

Wolves 0

Chelsea 2 (Drogba 40, 67)

A double from Didier Drogba gave Chelsea a somewhat flattering 2-0 victory over a determined Wolves side at Molineux.

Whilst home keeper Marcus Hahnemann didn't have a save of note to make in the 90 minutes, his counterpart, Petr Cech, was in fine form.

Wolves, who were unchanged for the visit of the Premier League leaders, kicked-off attacking the South Bank end of a packed stadium.

The first goal attempt came from Michael Ballack whose header was well wide after he had connected with Yury Zhirkov's centre from the left.

For Wolves a low cross from Kevin Foley was cleared by John Terry who, after recent publicity, was getting plenty of stick from the crowd.

A foul by Paulo Ferreira on Adlene Guedioura wide on the Wolves left led to a Matt Jarvis free-kick but the ball went over the heads of everyone and out on the far side for a goal kick.

In the 15th minute Kevin Doyle cut in from the left and sprinted past three Chelsea players before hitting a shot on the turn that Cech dived to save.

Seconds later the visitors were close to opening their account. Zhirkov's cross landed at the feet of Drogba whose shot bounced away off Jody Craddock to Nicolas Anelka. He teed the ball up for Ballack but the German midfielder fired high over the bar.

Wolves responded with an effort from Foley that flew into the side netting after he had taken a pass from Doyle. The two combined again shortly afterwards when Doyle connected with Foley's throw-in and hit a shot that Cech turned aside at the near post. Branislav Ivanovic cleared Jones's corner.

Guedioura looked to have won the ball when he tackled Joe Cole to the left of the Wolves box but Foley was on hand to clear from Florent Malouda after the referee awarded a free-kick.

Ballack fired over following a corner from Malouda, and Chec saved a low shot from Jarvis as Dave Jones ran in looking for a slip from the keeper.

After Ivanovic had fouled Doyle some 25-yards out, Karl Henry touched the free-kick to Jones who curled a shot over the wall but wide.

Then Jarvis hit a pass to Stephen Ward who shot over from just inside the Chelsea area.

Five minutes before the break Chelsea moved into the lead. Zhirkov exchanged passes with Ballack as he ran into the box before hitting a low centre that Drogba bundled over the line from six-yards.

Half-Time: Wolves 0 Chelsea 1

The second-half was two minutes old when Jarvis hit a centre over the head of Craddock.

Then the winger found Guedioura who hit a terrific volley that, unfortunately, went straight to Cech who knocked the ball away.

In the 58th minute, shortly after Chelsea had introduced Jeffrey Bruma in place of Zhirkov, Ivanovic appeared to hold back Doyle who would have otherwise been clear. But the referee waved play on.

Jones was then fouled by Ballack near the left hand corner flag. The free-kick was lofted into the middle but cleared without too much difficulty.

But the Stamford Bridge side were fortunate in the 63rd minute after Christophe Berra had headed on a Hahnemann clearance. Terry completely missed his kick and the ball ran through to Foley who was denied by Chec's reflex block.

The loose ball ran to Henry who fired towards goal but didn't appear to make a clean strike allowing Terry to get back and clear from in front of the line.

Ballack was shown the yellow card after delaying a free-kick, before Chelsea went two up in the 67th minute.

Drogba fastened onto Chec's clearance and he held off Berra and headed it beyond Hahnemann before slotting a low, left foot shot into the empty net.

Wolves went from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 after making a treble switch in the 77th minute with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Greg Halford and Geoffrey Bia Mujangi replacing Jones, Foley and Jarvis respectively.

Halford was soon unleashing his long throws and from one of them Doyle managed to get a shot in, despite slipping, but Chec watched the ball go wide.

Ronald Zunbar got back just in time turning the ball behind just as Anelka was about to pull the trigger.

Shortly before the end, Terry cleared off the line as Halford's throw-in flicked off the head of Craddock.

Wolves: Hahnemann, Zubar, Ward, Guedioura, Craddock, Berra, Foley (Halford 77), Henry (capt), Doyle, Jones (Ebanks-Blake 77), Jarvis (Mujangi Bia 77).

Unused subs: Hennessey, Elokobi, Vokes, Milkijaš.

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cole, Drogba, Mikel, Ballack, Malouda, Zhirkov (Bruma 56), Ferreira, Terry (capt), Anelka.

Unused subs: Hilario, Kalou, Sturridge, Matic, Kakuta, Borini.

Booking: Ballack (64 - delaying free-kick).

Referee: K. Friend.

Attendance: 28,978.

West Bromwich Albion Academy Under 18s v Wolves Postponed - Frozen Pitch.

    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.