Blackburn Rovers. . . . . . . . . . . .2
WITH relentless efficiency, and with every player doing his job properly, Blackburn earned a victory at Stamford Bridge yesterday that could have been by a handsome margin.
'If you are all for one when you play, then you have a chance of being successful,' Kenny Dalglish, the Blackburn manager, said after a match that contrasted sharply with Rovers' Uefa Cup home defeat on Tuesday.
Rovers rediscovered the width they had lacked against Trelleborgs and used it to open up and destroy Chelsea's defensive cover.
Graeme Le Saux, outstanding at his old stamping ground, made the first Blackburn goal with a superb first touch with his head, directing Mark Atkins' pass down the left wing, and an excellent low cross. Erland Johnsen turned it into his own net under pressure from Alan Shearer.
Glenn Hoddle, the Chelsea manager, was disappointed that the goal, after 26 minutes, came when his side were beginning to make progress. The match had been shapeless to that point, but on the strength of the goal Blackburn moved up a gear.
Chris Sutton soon dipped a shot over the Chelsea crossbar and then had another effort blocked. Although Dennis Wise, ever industrious in Chelsea's midfield, put a 25- yarder only just too high, Rovers were straight back on the attack, with Le Saux producing the pass of the match. His 50-yard diagonal ball from left back put Shearer clear on the right of the Chelsea area and it took a superb tackle by Frank Sinclair to deny him a shooting chance.
Sutton and Shearer, who started the game level on four goals each this season, could both have stretched Rovers' lead early in the second half but for superb saves from Dimitri Kharin.
However, it was Chelsea who scored next in the 56th minute, courtesy of a mistake by Henning Berg. The Norwegian headed a long ball sideways, wrong-footing his centre backs, and John Spencer surged through to beat the advancing Tim Flowers.
It was the first goal Rovers had conceded in the League in seven hours of play since their opening game and should have given Chelsea the fillip they needed.
However, before Chelsea had a chance to impose themselves Blackburn produced a perfect passing move down the left which culminated in Robbie Slater swinging over a low cross which Sutton slid home.
There were 25 minutes left, but with Rovers producing most of the variety and having all the ideas it was only a question of whether they scored any more. Kharin made sure they did not.
Chelsea (4-4-2): Kharin; Clarke, Kjeldbjerg, Johnsen, Sinclair; Rocastle (Newton, 78), Peacock, Spackman, Wise; Furlong, Spencer. Substitutes (not used): Fleck, Colgan (gk).
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Flowers; Berg, Gale, Hendry, Le Saux; Ripley, Sherwood, Atkins, Slater (Warhurst, 82); Shearer, Sutton. Substitutes not used: Pearce, Mimms (gk).
Referee: P Durkin (Dorset).