Hammers grind out a point at Chelsea; Newcastle win comfortably at Portsmouth

Chelsea 1 – West Ham 1 (Premier League, December 14, 2008) (MOTD highlights here.) Chelsea never got out of first gear in the opening 45 against West Ham at the Bridge, and the Hammers made them pay just after the half hour when Mark Noble’s hunger won him a 50-50 with Boswinga, he picked out Craig Bellamy, and the Welshman beat Cech at his near post. Scolari brought on Drogba at the break, and he linked up with Lampard to release Nicolas Anelka for the equaliser in the 51st minute. Carlton Cole flashed a shot wide a minute later for the Hammers, while Drogba’s volley forced a smart save from Green ten minutes later. Chelsea pushed for a winner, forcing saves out of Green and hitting the bar, but Gianfranco Zola saw his team hold out for an excellent point. (Second half highlights here.)

Portsmouth 0 – Newcastle 3 (Premier League, December 14, 2008) (MOTD highlights here.) Despite a battering on both goals during the first half, Portsmouth and Newcastle headed into the break deadlocked (first half highlights here). But in the 51st minute Michael Owen scored a wonderful opener for the Toon, Jonas Gutierrez picked up a loose ball in midfield and released Owen who scooped the ball over David James. Obafemi Martins bagged the second 15 minutes from time, Danny Guthrie plays in the Nigerian through on goal, James commitment himself and fell over leaves Martins with the simple task of sidestepping the keeper’s lunge and slotting home. Danny Guthrie wrapped up the points late on converting a Shola Ameobi cross.

Stoke 0 – Fulham 0 (Premier League, December 13, 2008) The Cottagers are still waiting for their first away win this season but they claimed a respectable point at the Britannia Stadium, where Stoke have already won five times this season.

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Leeds 1 – Colchester 2 (League One, December 13, 2008) Gary McAlliser’s men looked set for their seventh home win of the season when they went ahead through Robert Snodgrass, but Dean Hammond’s equaliser and a stunning Mark Yeates free-kick gave Paul Lambert’s men a valuable win. Leeds slip down to 8th.