Chelsea 0 Liverpool 1 - Stamford Bridge Falls Down
Posted by Kirsty on January 8, 2004, 05:12:17 PM
You know this had to be a good night when you get a call at 4.30 saying I've got a ticket to the Chelsea match with your name on it, can you make it down to London on time, and do you want it?"
Well yes to both, of bleeding course!! But I had to argue with the offer from the god-like ticket benefactor as taking this ticket meant him not going! I wasn't happy with it, but was assured the perils of work had taken their toll on the lad and he was more than content to have a quiet night in and watch the match. (Not too sure he still feels like that now, but I thank you very much!)
A mad dash to the train station, £20 for a return to Euston and a travel card ... bloody hell! That and a ticket for £49 and I was already skint without getting anywhere!
Now at this point I think, well me lucks got to run out soon. I've got a last minute ticket and I've managed to jump on a train a few seconds after getting to the station. But nope, this was only the start of a fuckin great night!
Train gets in 10 minutes early. I mean come on ... even Richard Branson was on our side last night! Locate Head of Steam pub within seconds, and am greeted by Jon, Terri, Paul and Craig.
Off to the match we go. London seemed pretty quiet at 7pm and we made it to the new half sparkly, half building site that is Fulham Broadway. I think Chelsea's new found wealth has chilled out a lot of their supporters as it seemed almost peaceful on the walk to the ground.
Obviously it took us a little longer than normal with Terri stopping to admire the horses. And apparently it was the horses in general Jon, and not their ... anyway, got to the ground and were greeted by Peewee's charming face. He had a mate with him celebrating his 40th birthday so Terri and I obliged with birthday hugs and kisses, picked up the last minute ticket and in for a sing song. It was 7.50pm I hadn't done badly seen as I was in work messing about with a couple of databases and a spreadsheet just over 3 hours earlier.
My last 3 visits to Stamford Bridge had all been disappointing. For 2 of the 3 I had to sit in the Chelsea end to boot (and for the third I had to sit in a pub in Earls Court with no ticket). This was my first official spec in the away end and it wasn't half bad!! About 5 rows from the front and flanked by two strapping young(ish) lads!
I was thinking the same as everyone around me ... Cheyrou's starting? Henchoz at right back again? Diouf not dropped after the dire Yeovil performance? And Heskey up front on his own, would he cope?
I was (un)fortunate enough to make the trip to Yeovil at the weekend so was praying for a bit of team spirit and fight for 3 points ... I really wasn't expecting it though, if I'm honest, and that's what made the following 90 minutes even sweeter.
Riise was dropped to the bench as Ged went with Traore at left back, really not surprising after JAR's performance on Sunday either. In fact that was probably the only tactical switch any of us understood. The rest (we thought) were just Ged having a laugh?! But I've never been one to admit knowing what goes on inside Houllier's head ... does anyone?
Smicer, Tony Le Tallec, Riise, the boy Owen and Luzi kept the bench warm while our 11 red knights lined up to do battle against Roman's army.
It didn't start off too badly. Cheyrou wincing out of a few headers was noticeable but only because I, and others around me, were expecting him to trot about like he'd done before and not show signs of intelligent runs, and silky skills that surely he must possess.
Chelsea lost Crespo early doors with a knee injury and we were gutted, as I'd rather seen him play against us than Gudjohnsen who replaced him! Soon after, Dudek gave us a fright, conceding a needless corner. It was well defended and we were off on the attack. Heskey looked like a man on a mission, getting stuck in everywhere. Him and Cheyrou linked up with a few decent one twos in the middle of the park which were met with applause from the baffled, yet increasingly optimistic, travelling Kop (well sort of). Hamann was looking solid and Henchoz didn't look flustered at all in his role hugging the right sideline. We should have had a pen when Heskey was brought down in the box but this wasn't to be one of Mr Dunn's most consistent games!
On 32 minutes Heskey brought the ball down on his chest, laid it off and turned and ran down the right wing to receive the return ball from Cheyrou, before striking the sweetest cross which landed perfectly in Cheyrou's path and the Frenchman volleyed home a wonderful goal.
The crowd did literally go mad! We were standing on our seats, jumping up and down, hugging anyone and everyone ... that was just what we needed!! We were doing our best to retaliate to the chelsea fans very original "you're shit" and "champions league you're 'avin a laff"songs but singing wasn't enough, Cheyrou's goal, on the other hand, was!
I think we grew in confidence after that. I couldn't believe that everything I hoped for was happening, the lads were playing with pride and passion and the commitment was there for all to see. About fuckin time!
There was little else major before the break, although Traore has to get a mention for the quality of tackles he put in. The lad's had constant criticism and sometimes it's been undeserved but no-one could fault his performance last night in what many people feel is not his favoured position.
After the break the game continued as before. It wasn't one for the purists, and I haven't seen the stats yet but there were hardly any shots on goal from either team. It was more of a battle of guts and determination, and for the first time in a long while, the Reds were coming out on top.
I started clock watching on 62 minutes. The day was going so well I didn't want any surge from Chelsea to spoil it!
Dudek went down with a groin injury and looked to be suffering, leaving the goal kicks to Sami, who incidently looked back in top form. With all of us lot screaming for Luzi he finally got his chance 10 minutes later. And didn't he do well?!?!
More or less his first task was to be held off by Gudjohnsen as Mutu headed towards goal, fortunately the cross bar came to the rescue and that left Luzi to prove himself by single handedly thwarting Mutu again in a double save. And do you know what else? The lad can catch too. I think we've got a good'un here!
Riise had replaced the goal hero Cheyrou at the same time as Luzi came on in a bid to strengthen the hold on the wings with Gronkjaer having come on for Cole and providing Chelsea with more speed down the wings. Please Johnny don't play like Yeovil, was the thought crossing my mind - I don't know about anyone else.
The passion continued with Murphy getting stuck in at every opportunity, even though he did waste the ball a fair few times by not having a look up, but he carried on and looked like he had a point to prove in the absence of his best pal Gerrard. We were loving the fighting spirit, especially when Heskey took at nice swipe at Gallas and then gave him an earful after too. Good lad, that's what we want to see. I know you got a yellow Em, but next time you might get lucky and get away with it.
It was backs to the wall for the last 10 minutes and as the Chelsea fans started making their way for the exit we were getting louder and louder every minute ... mainly with the desperate cries of "Time lads, time" and "hold it" as we were all nervously praying for an end to 15 years of disappointment at the Bridge. I had the same feeling yesterday as I did at Spurs last season, we were gonna get this historic victory I knew it, but I was still screaming!
Didn't have a good view of the Diouf incident as it was on the far touchline from where we were stood, but the way he reacted indicated he may not be at fault, but then there really was no need to go running over to the lineo after you've already been given the red Dioufy!! Play carried on before Diouf had even crossed half the pitch, but the lad wasn't in a hurry.
I don't think anyone cared about being down to 10 men ... we just kept on getting behind them.
Why is it when you're clinging onto a one-nil lead by the skin of your teeth with 5 minutes to go that you clap every half decent ball and every hoof that gives the defence a breather for a few seconds? Not just a little polite clap, but a bloody great big one as if they'd just pulled off the pass of the season? I don't know, but we were all doing it. The atmosphere was cracking and the board showing 4 minutes of injury time was like a knife in the heart, as the groans rattled around the away end.
But there was no need to worry the red men rode their luck, and in a not very pretty game of football we did it. We beat the Chelsea at the Bridge. Get in!
Not many left straight away and the FOAR echoed out for what seemed hours! As we left, stewards and police just stared at us, in a kind of disbelief, as we marched in a kind of formation bellowing out FOAR into the dark Chelsea sky, not a hint of trouble. Every Liverpudlian with a beaming grin and plenty of voice left for singing all the way home.
It was definitely a night to remember.
We bumped into several off the forums. Special mention to Mooro in a bloody suit straight from work!! Maybe that's what did it? So we headed off to Earls Court for a few bevvies before we went our separate ways. We bumped into a few Chelsea on the tubes later and to our surprise they were all sound. Having a laugh with us, taking the piss and a good bit of moaning. To be honest they sounded a bit like we did last season, bless 'em.
A perfect night would have been rounded off nicely with a train on time and in bed an hour later, but alas the luck had to end somewhere, and it did for me and Jon at Euston. To cut it short, fire at Tring, slowest train in the world, red lights all the way to Numpty, and when I got home at 3am my flatmate had locked me out. Took 10 minutes to wake her, there's nothing like a heavy sleeper hey?!
Bed for 4 hours then up for work, but for once I didn't give a shit. I'd had a bloody good day and had new hope for the rest of the season!Man of the Match:
Toss up between Heskey, Traore and Hamann ... I'll go for Emile as he fought for the full 90 minutes.
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