Match Report: Chelsea 0 West Ham United 0
A resolute West Ham secured a precious point against Chelsea with a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
Leading up to this game, the Hammers have had a difficult time at Chelsea, winless since 2002 when a brace from club legend Paolo Di Canio helped them to a 3-2 victory.
While there was no Di Canio-esque flair to earn victory for the east Londoners this time round, it was a heroic defensive display that secured a draw against a side who had won their last seven on home turf.
The first incident of the game surprisingly went to the visitors.
Stewart Downing's teasing ball found Andy Carroll, who was tripped by John Terry in the area.
RefereeNeil Swarbrick, however, waved claims for a spot kick away after six minutes.
The official had been a bit of a lucky charm for the relegation burdened side this season - with the last time he took charge of a game involving the Hammers was the 2-1 Capital One Cup quarter-final win over rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
With eight minutes gone, the woodwork was struck. John Obi Mikel's driven ball found the feet of Oscar, but his curling effort hit the top of the crossbar.
Minutes later, Stewart's Downing's out-swinging free kick was dangerously delivered into the box, and there was James Tomkins to rise above everybody and force Petr Cech into the first save of the match. Captain Kevin Nolan failed to get to the rebound.
Blues summer recruit Willian's 25 yard shot then failed to cause Adrian any problems.
Indeed, Chelsea's spells in possession came to nothing in terms of chances. Obi Mikel's tame side-footed effort went wide. Ramires was closer with his fierce 25 yard pile driver, but it still didn't worry Adrian.
Something Sam Allardyce could do without was another injury but that's exactly what they had to contend with. Mohamed Diame's collision with the advertising boards forced him to go off with a knee injury, being replaced by winger Matt Jarvis on the half an hour mark.
Again, Chelsea were struggling to create any chances inside 12 yards, with Oscar's 25 yarder drifting wide of the left hand post on 31 minutes.
In the 41st minute, Eden Hazard's curling strike went straight into the hands of Spanish shot stopper Adrian.
Terry's header on the stroke of half time from a Willian corner was saved by the feet of Adrian, and was by far the best chance of the match.
Then Samuel Eto'o's shot on the turn forced Adrian into another fantastic save in a match that come alive in five minutes for the hosts.
After the break Willian expertly played in Hazard, but instead of a dangerous ball into the box, the Belgian went for glory and scuffed his shot over the bar.
Oscar's powerful strike bounced awkwardly in front of Adrian, but the Spanish keeper comfortably dealt with it.
Midfielder Ramires's half-volley went just over after a fine cross from full back Cesar Azpilicueta in what was Jose Mourinho's side's best chance after the break.
A rusty Carroll miscued volley from a Downing cross but it gave a glimmer of hope for Allardyce and it could of meant the Hammers had a chance of nicking an unlikely result from this game.
Soon normal service was resumed, however, with 66 minutes on the clock when superstar Hazard had space to run at the Hammers backline, cut inside Guy Demel and rifled his shot wide of the right hand post.
The visitors were sustaining every bit of Chelsea pressure and were giving one of the best defensive displays this season.
All Chelsea could do was shot from range, with substitute's Nemanja Matic and former Hammer Frank Lampard blazing the ball into row z.
Lampard ,however, fancied his chances in this game, with the England international scoring six goals in his last eight games against his former employers.
Centre-half Gary Cahill's placed shot was too tame and Adrian handled with ease, with West Ham ever closer to gaining a precious point at Stamford Bridge.
Terry's lay off fell at the feet of Branislav Ivanovic, but the Serbian failed to get his shot on target, and a 0-0 was becoming ever more likely.
Another blow to the East Londoners followed as Joey O'Brien was forced off with what looked like a very nasty shoulder injury with the clock ticking down.
Hazard wasn't finished yet though. He was at the centre of the action with two minutes remaining. The tricky winger's deflected cross found Demba Ba who, with the faintest of touches, clipped the post.
Hazard then jinked his way into the Hammers area, but blazed his shot over.
Confusion and controversy then reigned when Adrian put the ball down and Eto'o sneaked in to tap into the empty. The striker's celebration was short-lived, however, when Swarbrick signalled he had already given a free-kick.
In the dying embers of the game, Adrian pulled off a remarkable save from Lampard, allowing West Ham to claim perhaps the most valuable point they have gained all season.
With this point under their belt, West Ham will look to achieve maximum points in their next game, when they face Swansea City at home in the early kick off on Saturday.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta (Matic,50); Ramires, Mikel (Lampard,50); Willian, Oscar (Ba,79), Hazard; Eto'o
Subs: Schwarzer, Cole, David Luiz, Schurrle,
West Ham: Adrian, Demel, Tomkins, Collins, O'Brien; Noble, Taylor, Nolan (c) (Nocerino,79), Downing, Diame (Jarvis, 30); Carroll (C Cole, 50)
Subs: Jaaskelainen, McCartney, Morrison, Borriello