A day after police had to quell trouble among Liverpool fans during their match at Millwall, police again were called upon to intervene as visiting fans attempted to reach their counterparts after the final whistle blew here at Stamford Bridge.
The confrontation was sparked off by Chelsea fans, in the upper part of the Matthew Harding stand, supposedly throwing objects at the West Ham supporters beneath them as they left the scene after seeing their team lose this Carling Cup third-round tie.
However, the first victim of the unrest in the ground was Mateja Kezman, the man who broke his Chelsea duck to score the winner here after 57 minutes. With 11 minutes remaining and as substitute Frank Lampard was preparing to take a penalty, which he then missed, he was treated for a cut above his left eye after he was hit by a missile. Plastic bottles containing liquid were also lobbed on to the pitch when Chelsea players were nearby.
Police said that they had made 11 arrests inside the ground for public order offences, possession of offensive weapons and of drugs.
Chelsea's assistant manager Steve Clarke said: "We think something was thrown from the crowd at Kezman, but I'd rather just talk about the game."
Three months after signing for £5m from PSV Eindhoven, the Serb finally notched his first goal for the Blues and it proved decisive, sending the west Londoners through to a fourth-round tie at Newcastle.
"I'm delighted for Mateja," Clarke said. "It's the mark of the man that he didn't hide. It hasn't been a worry that he hasn't scored, as he's been getting into positions."
Thanks to prompting from another ex-Hammer Joe Cole, who was the game's outstanding individual, Kezman could have scored four times before he finally did beat Walker, the game's second best performer. The goalkeeper was signed from Walsall on a free transfer this summer and his quality belied his background, as he repeatedly denied not only Kezman but also Lampard and Cole.
The first of many saves came after just five minutes when Arjen Robben's shot was deflected to Kezman and his volley was pushed away. Walker is only used by the West Ham manager Alan Pardew for these Cup games and continued to defy Chelsea up to the interval. When his team-mates failed to clear a simple ball Cole charged in, only for Walker to get his fingertips to the shot.
In his 13th appearance of the season, Kezman made his breakthrough 12 minutes after the interval when he ran on to a pass from Cole. An instinctive left-footed shot beat Walker and crept inside the far post to Kezman's obvious relief and the joy of his team-mates.
The importance of that goal was then highlighted when Lampard's penalty was saved after a foul by Tomas Repka on Robben, but it was not long before the night began to turn sour.
Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Cudicini; Ferreira, Carvalho, Gallas, Babayaro; Parker (Lampard, 71); Geremi, Tiago, Cole (Duff, 65), Robben (Gudjohnsen, 81); Kezman. Substitutes not used: Cech (gk), Huth.
West Ham (4-5-1): Walker; Mullins, Repka, Ferdinand, Brevett; Etherington (Rebrov, 85), Nowland (Noble, 65), Lomas, Reo-Coker, Zamora (Hutchison, 83); Harewood. Substitutes not used: Bywater (gk), Cohen,.
Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).
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