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Match Reports

Chelsea 1 Burnley 1

21 February 2015

Chelsea 1 Burnley 1

Ben Mee struck late in the day to earn a priceless point for the Clarets and stun Premier League leaders Chelsea.

The Clarets defender rose to plant home a sensational equaliser after the Blues, who led through Branislav Ivanovic’s early strike, were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half through Nemanja Matic’s red card.

The Serbian reacted badly to a robust challenge from Ashley Barnes and was dismissed for retaliation as he barged the Clarets striker to the ground.

And Burnley took full advantage to earn a morale-boosting result that could prove precious come the end of the season.

The Clarets were unchanged from the starting line-up from the defeat at Manchester United.

But there was a return to the bench for Stephen Ward, following his fractured foot.

Immediately, Chelsea settled into their passing game and they created their first opening in the fifth minute, as new signing Juan Cuadrado forced a fine save from Tom Heaton with a looping header from Filipe Luis’ cross.

Burnley’s immediate reply was a terrific volley from Ashley Barnes, who almost caught our Thibaut Courtois as Michael Kightly’s deflected cross fell out of the sky.

But it took just 14 minutes for the opening goal to arrive. Eden Hazard was the Clarets’ destroyer-in-chief, waltzing past two tackles and cutting the ball back from the by-line for Ivanovic to slot home from six yards.

Undeterred, the Clarets picked themselves up and a deflection off a Chelsea head took the ball away from Danny Ings, after Kieran Trippier looked to pick out the in-form striker with a trademark cross.

However, as Chelsea continued to probe, it was all about Burnley keeping their shape to restrict the hosts’ chances of adding to their lead before the break.

Their big chance to do so came in the 44th minute.

Diego Costa capitalised on Jason Shackell’s mis-read of the ball and advanced into the area, only to tumble far too easily under Shackell’s slight nudge, and referee Martin Atkinson was rightly unimpressed by the Spaniard’s attempts to win a penalty.

Burnley emerged from the break to create the first opportunity, as Barnes’ half volley from near the corner of the box skimmed the boot of Felipe Luis and forced Courtois to tip over at his near post.

But Hazard’s laser-like quality continued to be a thorn in the side - and from his slide-rule pass in the 55th minute, Burnley were fortunate that Costa’s effort lacked the power to beat Heaton.

The Blues then succeeded in sliding a number of balls across the Clarets six-yard box, without either Costa of Cuadrado able to apply the killer touch.

All the while though, the Clarets remained in the contest.

And with 19 minutes remaining, Chelsea were reduced to 10 men when Matic saw the red mist descend.

The Clarets striker’s studs caught the Blues midfielder high on the shin and he immediately sprung to his feet to barge into the Barnes, leaving Atkinson no option but to brandish a red card.

Sean Dyche then introduced Sam Vokes for Kightly as he sensed an equaliser.

And immediately, Barnes low snapshot forced Courtois into a sensational save.

However, from the resulting Trippier corner, Mee rose highest at the far post to plant home a fabulous header and send the travelling Clarets fans into ecstasy.

Deep into stoppage time Ings saw glory, only to blaze over from the edge of the box. But that couldn’t dampen a fabulous day for the Clarets as they emerged with a precious point.

BURNLEY: Heaton, Trippier, Keane, Shackell, Mee, Kightly (Vokes 78), Arfield, Jones, Boyd, Barnes, Ings.
Subs: Gilks, Duff, Wallace, Reid, Jutkiewicz, Ward

Booked: Boyd 41, Kightly 63

CHELSEA: Courtois, Ivanovic, Luis (Drogba 86), Fabregas, Zouma, Oscar (Ramires 72), Hazard, Costa, Matic, Cuadrado (Willian 64), Terry.
Subs: Cech, Remy, Cahill, Azpilicueta

Sent off: Matic 71

REF: M Atkinson

Att: 41,629

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