Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 2 match report: Frank Lampard's winner the stuff of legend

Bobby Tambling’s record finally tumbles to Chelsea’s highly-acclaimed midfielder whose 203rd club goal ensured qualification into next season’s Champions’ League

He was the last player off the pitch, staying behind to soak up the adulation of the away supporters in the Doug Ellis Stand and, frankly, who could blame him? With his two goals yesterday Frank Lampard did not just secure another Champions’ League campaign for Chelsea, but wrote his name in the Stamford Bridge history books as the club’s top scorer.

Lampard had begun the day a goal shy of Bobby Tambling’s record but ended it with goals 202 and 203 of a brilliant 12-year Chelsea career. They were goals that summed up his continued importance to the club that has still not offered him a new contract as he cancelled out Christian Benteke’s first-half strike on the hour, and then appeared in the six-yard box at the perfect time to bury Eden Hazard’s low cross late on.

Chelsea fans spilled on to the touchline as Lampard was lost in a celebratory huddle of players and supporters, and the London club had the three points that effectively guaranteed a top-four finish.

Lampard said it was an “amazing day” and dedicated his record strike to his late mother. “I did get a bit emotional there. I always dedicate my goals to my mum, I lost her a couple of years ago.” As for his unresolved future, he added: “I’m hoping that I’ll be here and at the end of the season we’ll get a decision on that.”

There was so much else to commend a pulsating contest rich in drama and controversy. There were red cards for Ramires and Benteke, a Demba Ba ‘phantom goal’ and injuries to John Terry and Hazard that make them unlikely to appear in Wednesday’s Europa League final against Benfica.

Terry’s injury to his left ankle followed an awkward fall. He had lengthy treatment before leaving on a stretcher amid a chorus of abuse from the Villa fans. “We are waiting for a scan,” said Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez of Terry, who looks certain to miss a second successive European final. Hazard pulled up with a hamstring problem in added time and is “extremely doubtful” for Wednesday according to Benitez.

Villa took the lead with Benteke’s 19th League goal of the season. After collecting a pass from Yacouba Sylla, he strode down the inside-left channel, taking the ball past Gary Cahill rather too easily and then beating the wrong-footed Petr Cech with a cool near-post finish. The noise levels rose higher in the 19th minute with a period of applause from both sets of fans for Stiliyan Petrov, Villa’s club captain who announced his retirement this week as he continues his fight against leukaemia.

Although Brad Guzan then saved at Ba’s feet and turned a Lampard free-kick on to a post, Villa were more than holding their own, with Fabian Delph a dynamic presence in midfield and Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andi Weimann troubling Chelsea’s defence with their pace.

Paul Lambert, the home manager, felt referee Lee Mason should have sent off Terry for bringing down Sylla 30 yards from goal – “Sylla was through” – but Mason did dismiss another Chelsea man before the break, when Ramires, already cautioned for a foul on Benteke, caught Agbonlahor with a high foot.

Yet Villa’s advantage was short-lived as, 13 minutes after the restart, Benteke raised his boot as he jumped with Terry, catching the Chelsea captain in the chest. Lambert insisted there was “no malice” yet it was a foolish challenge given he had been lucky to escape with a yellow for a first-half elbow in the face of Cesar Azpilicueta. Moreover, it means he will miss Villa’s last game at Wigan next Sunday, a match they will need something from if Wigan upset Arsenal at the Emirates on Tuesday. 

Within three minutes Chelsea were level as Lampard picked up Hazard’s square pass and curled a superb shot into the far corner. Chelsea should have had a second when Ashley Westwood blocked a Cahill shot on the line and Ba appeared to touch the loose ball over the line before Sylla cleared. Instead it was left to Lampard to secure Chelsea’s victory. Benitez was lavish in his praise of the 34-year-old. “He’s a great professional, very intelligent in his understanding of the game,” he said. “I think he can play for a very good team for a while (longer), how long you never know. It’s not my decision.”

The Spaniard had his own cause for satisfaction, having achieved the Champions’ League qualification he was tasked with securing when handed the Chelsea job. But it was Lampard feeling the love.

Tambling's record tumbles

Frank Lampard (203 goals): Position: Midfield Years it took: 12 (2001-2013)

Appearances: 606 Goals per game: 0.33 League goals for the club: 165

Bobby Tambling (202 goals): Position: Striker Years it took: 11 (1959-1970)

Appearances: 370 Goals per game: 0.55 League goals for the club: 164

Aston Villa (4-5-1): Guzan; Lichaj, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett; Agbonlahor, Sylla, Westwood, Delph, Weimann; Benteke.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry (Ivanovic, 75), Cole; Ramires, Lampard; Moses (Luiz, h-t), Mata, Hazard; Ba (Torres, 88).

Referee: Lee Mason

Man of the match: Lampard (Chelsea)

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam