Drogba turns back the clock against Shrewsbury
Premier League leaders forced to work hard for win by League Two hosts
Didier Drogba of Chelsea shoots towards goal during the Capital One Cup Fourth Round match between Shrewsbury Town and Chelsea. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
A wet and at times uncomfortable evening in Shropshire for Chelsea ended with José Mourinho’s team squeezing into the next round. Didier Drogba continues to refuse to be ignored on his return to the club, scoring the first for Chelsea and making himself a nuisance for the winner, which came when Jermaine Grandison turned the ball past his own goalkeeper, Jayson Leutwiler, with only minutes remaining.
The rain came down before kick-off and continued to soak the players during a first half that unfolded predictably. Town were breathless and in the visitors’ faces while Chelsea preferred to wait and patiently prod and probe.
Two early corners won by Mourinho’s team and taken by Andre Schurrle came to nothing before Shrewsbury claimed their own via James Collins following a breakaway attack. When the ball came arcing in from the left Petr Cech did well to save a Nathaniel Knight-Percival header.
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The Ivorian first shielded the ball when facing his area before turning and sweeping play right to Mohamed Salah through a crowded midfield. The Egyptian raced towards Leutwiler’s goal and, on entering the area, picked out Schurrle. The German should have tested the Swiss keeper but he chose to switch the ball back and the move faltered
Earlier Bobby Grant’s pile-driver flew just past Cech’s right-hand post after he roved forward in space and there was a fluid break along the Town left that ended when a cross from Mickey Demetriou was met powerfully by Collins’ head but again was off target.
Capacity had been specially extended to 10,210 with 1,720 of these for the travelling support who had only a little wait, once the second half started, for an opener. Schurrle found Salah and, when he played in Drogba, the Ivorian had a third strike in as many outings.
Chelsea now had Town where they wished: needing to score and finding it difficult to retain the ball.
Town pressureRyan WoodsConnor Goldson
Still, while the score remained only 1-0 Town had a chance of taking the tie into extra-time at least.
And, after Micky Mellon’s introduction of Andy Mangan for Collins on 75 minutes, this was where the contest appeared headed. Lawrence pinged in a corner from the left and after some scrappy play Mangan smashed home.
Mourinho had seen enough. Off came Salah and Mikel for William and Nemanja Matic to enter. Seconds later Chelsea moved downfield and with Drogba in close attendance Grandison was the author of the dreaded own-goal. – Guardian Service