Football: Debt to De Goey

Chelsea 2 Zola 1, Poyet 35 Nottingham Forest 1 Darcheville 69 Attendance: 34,809
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CHELSEA MADE a speciality of humiliating newly promoted sides last season and for an hour here some of the old swagger and strut was back. But when Forest clawed back an opportunistic goal halfway through the second half, the lingering self-doubt which has bedevilled Chelsea's start to the season resurfaced. They came perilously close to surrendering their first win of the campaign.

Forest were in stifling mood, packing the midfield and leaving the pacey, muscular Jean-Claude Darcheville as a lone front-runner. This tactic, such as it was, was in shreds after 25 seconds as Gianfranco Zola and Pierluigi Casiraghi exploited weak defending to allow Zola to curl in a crisp, far-post shot.

The talented Chelsea machine began to produce a compelling cohesion and Forest relied on three stunning saves from Dave Beasant, who denied Zola, Casiraghi and Celestine Babayaro. But the second goal finally came from a well worked corner by Zola. It was neatly flicked on by Marcel Desailly and Beasant only pawed Babayaro's header to Gustavo Poyet for the simplest nod-in.

By then Forest were merely hitting hopeful, long balls in the direction of Darcheville, who gamely ran himself into the ground. Things did not improve for the first 15 minutes of the second half. Forest were so bereft of ideas that Chelsea started to put on an exhibition in cultured, possession football.

A second-half substitution and four more superb saves by Beasant turned the game in Forest's favour. The arrival of 19-year-old Marlon Harewood to partner Darcheville finally gave the Frenchman the space and opportunity he deserved. Released by a through-ball, he neatly rounded Ed De Goey to score from an acute angle. Forest's tenacity almost paid off as De Goey made late saves from Harewood and Steve Stone.

The Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli was relieved by his first win. "For 60 minutes we played really well. But then we got tired physically and mentally and when they scored, we got a little bit scared," he said.

For Forest's Dave Bassett it was a pointless but not entirely fruitless trip. "We had three young players today who wouldn't normally play," he said. "And it was a learning process for them. If it wasn't for Beasant, we could have lost 4-0."