Chelsea 2-2 West Ham Utd

  • by Staff Writer
  • Saturday, 19th March 2016

West Ham Utd were denied a place in the top four tonight by a dreadful call from match official Bobby Madley.

With the game entering the final minute of regular time, and with West Ham leading 2-1, the Yorkshire official gave today's hosts, reigning Premier League champions Chelsea a lifeline by awarding a last-ditch penalty.

However TV replays confirmed that the incident had taken place outside of the area - and that Chelsea substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek tripped himself over as he surged into the penalty area.

Only last week West Ham were denied passage through to the FA Cup semi finals when what would have been the winning goal by Michail Antonio was disallowed in the closing stages by Martin Atkinson at Old Trafford.

And this week the Hammers were robbed of the opportunity to rise above Manchester City into fourth spot in the table by Madley's appalling call - a decision so terribly poor that many supporters were left questioning whether the referee's impartiality had been compromised.

West Ham opened the game against the Premier League's form team on the back foot, but it didn't take long before Slaven Bilic's side began to take a foothold. And with just 17 minutes on the clock, Manuel Lanzini put the visitors ahead with one of the best goals you'll see all season.

Receiving the ball some 30 yards from goal, the diminutive Argentinian drove towards the Chelsea penalty area before unleashing a fierce, dipping drive that beat Blues 'keeper Thibaut Courtois all ends up.

Despite dominating proceedings for the rest of the half, it was the hosts who were to score next, on the cusp of half time, as West Ham criminally switched off.

With just seconds of the opening 45 remaining, and the game deep into the third of three added-on minutes, a free kick on the edge of the area was despatched into the top corner by Cesc Fabregas after Winston Reid had unnecessarily conceded a free kick.

And thus Chelsea, despite being distinctly second best, went into the half time interval on level terms.

The Blues, who must have been wondering how they were still level once again looked stronger from the restart. However it was to be West Ham that scored next, through Andy Carroll, who grabbed the winning goal in the corresponding fixture at the Boleyn Ground earlier in the season.

WIth a third of the second half played, Carroll - who had replaced Diafra Sakho moments earlier - stole in at the far post to convert Dimitri Payet's low centre. The big Geordie, who has endured ye another stop/start season illustrating that when he's at his best, he's hard to beat.

Sadly West Ham's number nine wasn't quite so sharp with just three minutes of time to go when his goal-bound header didn't quite carry enough on it to beat the defender positioned on the goal line. And having missed the opportunity to put the game to bed, West Ham left themselves open to a sucker punch.

What they wouldn't have been expecting was for said blow to come from the referee. But incredulously Madley decided to blow for a penalty in the home side's favour, with mere seconds of normal time remaining, despite Loftus-Cheek having tripped himself over - and outside the penalty area.

Fabregas gleefully accepted the opportunity to level from the spot and save Chelsea's unbeaten record that stretches back some 14 games - in itself, a Premier League record this season.

And once again, West Ham were left to pick up the pieces having been denied the chance to break into the top four by a questionable call from a questionable official, whose actions left many travelling fans wondering if it's not only snooker, tennis and athletics that are bent.

West Ham Utd: Adrian, Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Kouyate, Noble, Lanzini (Obiang 81), Payet, Sakho (Carroll 59), Valencia (Emenike 75).

Subs not used: Randolph, O'Brien, Oxford, Song.

Booked: Reid, Adrian, Antonio, Ogbonna, Kouyate.

Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Mikel, Willian, Oscar (Loftus-Cheat 82), Kenedy (Pedro 46), Remy (Traore 62).

Subs not used: Begovic, Baba, Pato, Matic.

Booked: Ivanovic, Fabregas, Willian.

Referee: Bobby Madley.

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