Ferdinand to Newcastle rescue

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Chelsea 1 Newcastle United 1

From Russia with gloves but, sadly for Chelsea, not a kicking foot. In the three years Dimitri Kharin has been at Stamford Bridge he has built a reputation as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premiership. His footwork, however, has often looked suspect and yesterday Chelsea paid the penalty.

Having taken the lead after 35 minutes, Mark Hughes finishing a beautifully worked move, Chelsea were three minutes into injury time with a foot in the fourth round when Kharin took a routine goalkick.

He could have put it anywhere from row A to row Z, but he should certainly have aimed for the flanks. Instead he weakly punted down the middle to Philippe Albert. The Belgian carefully headed the ball back over Chelsea's defence. Les Ferdinand escaped from Michael Duberry for the first time in the match and, as Kharin recklessly raced from his goal, slipped the ball between his legs.

Newcastle exulted as heads sunk into blue-sleeved arms all over Stamford Bridge. They will meet again, on Wednesday week, for the right to visit Queen's Park Rangers in the fourth round.

Chelsea dominated this FA Cup third-round tie, only being forced back in the closing stages as Newcastle desperately tried to salvage a draw. Even then they defended magnificently with Duberry, who is beginning to look the find of the season, outstanding.

Chelsea's latest injury crisis had claimed Ruud Gullit but, with Terry Phelan recovered, they fielded the same team which had defeated Newcastle here last month.

Newcastle, outmanouvered that day, had changed style and personnel since. They played the same XI which defeated Arsenal last week to go seven points clear in the Premiership. That meant Albert making a third central defender, with Warren Barton and Robbie Elliot playing as wing-backs. It had worked against Arsenal, but not yesterday. Not only did Barton and Elliot fail to push forward but Dan Petrescu and Phelan were able to exploit the space behind them.

With Eddie Newton anchoring the midfield and Dennis Wise pulling the strings, Newcastle looked bereft of leadership as well as width. They had passion, but it was ill-directed. Four players were booked and a fifth, Peter Beardsley, should have been.

Paul Furlong was first to test the Newcastle defence, shooting wide after 10 minutes and going close after 23. Twelve minutes later Wise played a perceptive reverse pass to Phelan on the left, he floated a cross from the by-line and Hughes, having dummied Albert with a near-post run, headed in at the far post.

It was almost half-time before Newcastle managed a response. It was a spectacular one, Albert half-volleying against the post from 30 yards. He moved into midfield for the second period but, initially, Chelsea still looked the stronger and Hughes blazed into the side-netting when put through by Duberry.

As Newcastle gradually took over Duberry made a series of splendid tackles, denying Beardsley twice and Ginola, then twice heading clear from Ferdinand. David Lee and Andy Myers gave staunch support alongside but, behind them, there was already cause for alarm. Kharin, forced to field a Lee back- pass on his wrong foot, tried to dribble around Ferdinand. He failed but the striker could not quite keep the ball in play.

It was a warning, but it should not have mattered as, with nine minutes left, Wise released Hughes. But, with team-mates unmarked in the box, he thrashed the ball wide from a poor angle. It looked as if it would not matter as both Ferdinand and Albert wasted clear headers. Then came Kharin's moment of madness.

"Dimitri is a professional, he knows when he has made a mistake," Glenn Hoddle, the Chelsea manager, said.

"Words were said in the dressing-room. They are distraught in there. But you cannot blame the goalkeeper. We have made mistakes in front of the opposing goal in the last seven or eight games and today was no different. It should not have mattered..."

'On bench

After Les Ferdinand's late, late equaliser Glenn Hoddle was left wondering why the referee, Steve Lodge, played so much injury time. "I did go to see the referee quite calmly and just wanted his explanation," the Chelsea manager explained. "He said he played four minutes over but on the bench it seemed like an hour."

The Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan was "relieved" to be still in the competition with the prospect of a visit to QPR, Ferdinand's old club, in the fourth round. "We were a bit lucky to get out of it, but that's the Cup. And if we win the replay we'll come back to our London base. We should buy a hotel down here."

Keegan admitted he thought his side were out: "I said to Terry [McDermott] with about a minute left 'It's got to be Wednesday if we want to go to Wembley this year'. That's the way it looked. But we kept in there."

Ferdinand said: "We kept believing we could nick something. We could have thrown in the towel but we kept going and got a lucky break."

Goals: Hughes (35) 1-0, Ferdinand (90) 1-1.

Chelsea (3-4-1-2): Kharin; Duberry, D Lee, Myers; Petrescu (S Clarke, 58), Newton, Wise, Phelan; Spencer; Hughes, Furlong. Substitutes not used: G Peacock, Hitchcock (gk).

Newcastle United (3-4-2-1): Srnicek; D Peacock, Howey, Albert; Barton, R Lee (L Clark, h-t), Beardsley, Elliot; Kitson, Ferdinand, Ginola. Substitutes not used: Beresford, Watson.

Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley).

Bookings: Chelsea: Hughes. Newcastle: Lee, Barton, Howey, Elliot.

Man of the match: Duberry.

Attendance: 25,151.

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