Kalou spares Chelsea blushes with equaliser

Newcastle 1 Chelsea 1

Salomon Kalou spared Chelsea's blushes as the champions had to come from behind to claim a point at Newcastle.

The Ivory Coast international fired home the equaliser in first-half injury time to prevent his side slipping to a third successive league defeat for the first time in 11 years.

Andy Carroll had given the Magpies a sixth-minute lead when he capitalised on an error by Alex, and although the Londoners enjoyed the better of the game, they defended resolutely enough to deserve their point in front of a crowd of 46,469.

Chelsea climbed into second place as a result, but have now taken just four points from their last five games.

Chris Hughton will have been the happier manager after seeing his reshuffled defence keep the visitors at bay.

Last Saturday's 5-1 defeat at Bolton had proved a sobering experience for the Magpies, whose promising start to the season has been dented by a return of just a single point from the last nine on offer.

In the circumstances, the prospect of champions Chelsea arriving on Tyneside desperate to avoid another damaging defeat was hardly an appetising one.

Add to that the absence of key trio Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson and Joey Barton through suspension, and the omens were not good.

But with Sol Campbell making his first league start for the club and Taylor playing a competitive game for the first time since January, Hughton's men got off to the perfect start, albeit with a helping hand from Alex.

The Brazilian, whose visit to a wintry Tyneside may have come as something of a culture shock, and keeper Petr Cech, who had already clawed away a second-minute Taylor header, were on entirely different wavelengths as they closed on a seemingly harmless through-ball.

But with Carroll hot on his heels, the defender stabbed it past Cech to allow the England striker to tap the ball into an empty net.

The Magpies could hardly believe their luck, but as they snapped into tackles with midfielder Cheik Tiote in the thick of it following his return from suspension, they made life distinctly uncomfortable for the visitors.

However, Chelsea warmed to their task as the half wore on to dominate possession, and although the home defence were proving stubborn, they gradually started to get on top.

Skipper Didier Drogba forced a fine reaction save from Tim Krul at the near post with a blistering 19th-minute drive, and full-back Jose Enrique had to clear an Alex header off the line seven minutes later.

As the Blues threw men forward, the Magpies threatened on the break with wide men Jonas Gutierrez and Wayne Routledge, in for injured captain Kevin Nolan, prospering sporadically, although the bulk of the traffic was in the opposite direction.

Carlo Ancelotti's men flexed their muscles as the half-time whistle approached, and were convinced they should have had a 43rd-minute penalty for Tiote's clumsy challenge on Ashley Cole as he burst into the area.

They got their reward in injury time when Kalou carved his way into the penalty area and fired into the bottom corner with the help of a deflection of Taylor's out-stretched leg.

Chelsea returned in determined mood and might have increased their lead with 56 minutes gone when Drogba expertly controlled a long ball and fired in a firm left-foot shot on the turn which Tim Krul got down well to save.

But it was the home side who went close six minutes later when Cech failed to deal with a towering cross and only succeeded in serving the ball up to Wayne Routledge on the edge of the box.

The winger controlled neatly before blasting a volley towards goal, where Cole was perfectly positioned to head off the line.

Chelsea threw everything they had at their hosts as time ran down and Drogba had a 77th-minute strike chalked off for handball, but Kalou could have won it three minutes later when Taylor, Campbell and Krul between them allowed the ball to fall to him beyond the far post, but he fired into the side-netting.

Substitute Daniel Sturridge shot wastefully across the face of goal with four minutes remaining as the champions launched a late onslaught, but Newcastle were not about to surrender a hard-earned point.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy