Hughton hails 'fearless' Carroll for adding to Chelsea turmoil

Newcastle 1 Chelsea 1

The mercury plunged below zero at an arctic St James' Park but the heat remains on Carlo Ancelotti and his out-of-sort champions. Given the mitigation of a makeshift defence, some doughty opponents and a start of nightmarish proportions, a case could be made for this being an encouraging point in hostile, freezing conditions.

Credit where credit is due, they dredged up spirit and resolve to recover from Andy Carroll's gift-wrapped sixth-minute opener, and were the team firmly in the ascendancy for much of the second half.

But however you spin this engaging, fiery draw, something about Chelsea just isn't right at the moment. Be it the loss of John Terry's buccaneering spirit or Frank Lampard's midfield sophistication, the momentum that catapulted them to the title last year appears to have vanished.

Knocked off their Premier League perch for the first time since 3 April, this was their chance to respond and banish some of the bad vibrations that have been emanating from West London this past month.

That they couldn't respond in time-honoured fashion raises fresh questions about Ancelotti's future.

To make matters worse, a post-match blizzard saw them scrambling for a bus after their flight back to London was cancelled. Grounded in every sense of the word.

Newcastle certainly deserved this point. Shorn of five first-team regulars and fielding a centre-half partnership made up of two players making their first Premier League appearances of the season, they were lively, spirited and inventive. Coming off their own nadir – a 5-1 defeat at Bolton – they looked keen to atone from the start.

Sensing a weakness in their opponents they pressed Chelsea high up the pitch, carving out a succession chances for their burgeoning England number nine, who lived up to the hype by causing continual problems for a lop-sided visiting defence throughout.

But their high-octane first half took its toll, and the Chelsea of old would have exploited weary Newcastle limbs. This being Roman Abramovich's Chelsea, a run of five Premier League games without a win leaves Ancelotti exposed to a Siberian blast much more serious that anything the North East's latest cold snap could hurl at him.

Waking to reports that Pep Guardiola was top of Abramovich's wish-list to replace him — speculation dismissed as "total nonsense" by Chelsea — Ancelotti needed a start bristling with conviction and menace. What he got was a team that all too easily prodded the self-destruct button.

As early as the second minute Newcastle could have drawn first blood — Steven Taylor directing a Wayne Routledge cross goalbound only for Petr Cech to parry the ball wide.

A warning, but one that Chelsea hadn't heeded. Bursting forward from midfield, Newcastle seemed to have lost momentum when Jon Obi Mikel checked the run of United's midfielder Cheik Tiote.

But Alex, clearly struggling with a knee injury, inexplicably rolled the ball past his goalkeeper and into the grateful path of Carroll, who swept home.

Chelsea's response came from the familiar boot of Didier Drogba, who hammered a close range shot against the side netting, and Nicolas Anelka, who saw his looping header hacked off the line.

Newcastle, though, stood firm until the stroke of half-time when Soloman Kalou twisted past Sol Campbell before firing a deflected shot past Tim Krul.

Cue the deluge? Sort of. Chelsea bossed the second-half possession but a couple of Drogba shots aside, failed to turn the screw on tiring opponents.

Even Kalou, their best performer here, miscued when presented with an open goal after wriggling past the otherwise indomitable Campbell in the 80th minute.

In fact, had it not been for Ashley Cole things could have been much, much worse. After a melee in the Chelsea box the ball was squeezed to Routledge, and his whipped, curling 25-yard shot was heading into the top right-hand corner of the goal until Cole headed clear.

By then they had run out of gas, and Newcastle's point had been proven.

Well clear of the relegation scrap and looking to have more than enough to stay up, it is a wonder why Chris Hughton has not been rewarded with a long-term contract. But, to his credit, he continues to let his team do the talking for him.

"It was a good point and it was the response I wanted — it was the only type of response we could have," Newcastle's manager said. "It wasn't like us to concede the goals we conceded against Bolton and I think we showed what we were made of out there."

Carroll, once again, was at the forefront of everything they did. Aside from his goal he delivered a performance that bristled with menacing intent, and when pressed into defensive duties at the end didn't let anyone down.

"That is Andy. He's not someone who is fearful of any opposition or individuals," Hughton said. "That's how he is at the moment.

"When you're in a confident mood and you're scoring goals that's how it should be. You should look forward to every game and you should think every game is an opportunity to score."

If only the same could be said about any of Chelsea's battle-weary troops.

Substitutes: Newcastle Ranger (Ameobi, 77) Unused Soderberg (gk), Perch, Kadar, Smith, Lovenkrands, Best. Chelsea Sturridge (Mikel, 80) Unused Turnbull (gk), Ferreira, Van Aanholt, Bruma, McEachran, Kakuta. Booked: Newcastle Guthrie, Tiote. Chelsea Ramires.

Possession Newcastle 43% Chelsea 57%. Shots on target Newcastle 3 Chelsea 13. Man of the match Carroll. Match rating 7/10. Ref A Marriner (West Midlands) Att 46,469

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
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

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform