Football: Chelsea make it five in a row

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The Independent Online
Chelsea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Wimbledon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

WITH a Wembley date on the horizon and relegation concerns rapidly disappearing, it is all coming right for Chelsea, who last night underlined a recent improvement with a fifth successive win.

With a strong wind persisting, Chelsea stayed faithful to their passing game and obtained their just reward late on when Craig Burley showed his increasing value as a midfielder who can create and score eye-catching goals with a crushing shot off his left foot that evaded the despairing dive of Hans Segers.

Yet before they found their safety net in the 73rd minute, Chelsea had to show the resolution that has become evident in their displays in recent weeks and helped bring their FA Cup dream into sharper focus.

'We have a run going and to find the consistency that wins championships we have to bed things down now,' said Hoddle, who last night restricted himself to just 21 minutes as a substitute. 'It has been precarious for us but things are getting better.'

As Wimbledon pressed hard in search of an equaliser, Chelsea offered them no easy sight of goal. The greater chances came the way of the visitors, but when Gerald Dobbs and Robbie Earle believed they had discovered an opening, there was Dmitri Kharin to defy them with fingertip saves.

That it was not to be Wimbledon's night became apparent from the 21st minute when their opponents took the lead with a generous helping of good fortune. Dennis Wise had just figured in the best move to date when Gavin Peacock located him in the danger area, only for Segers to cut out the cross.

Immediately there followed a corner on the right which Wise rolled to Burley, who drove his cross to the near post. The ball speared through a crowded goalmouth and came off John Fashanu's knee before ending up in the net.

Chelsea (4-4-2): Kharin; Clarke, Johnsen, Kjeldbjerg, Sinclair; Burley, Newton, Peacock, Wise; Hopkin (Hoddle, 69), Shipperley. Substitutes not used: Spackman, Hitchcock (gk).

Wimbledon (4-4-2): Segers; Barton, Scales, Fitzgerald, Elkins (Blackwell, 90); Jones, Earle, Fear, Dobbs; Holdsworth, Fashanu (Blissett, 79). Substitute not used: Sullivan (gk).

Referee: K Morton (Suffolk).