BEATTIE BRACE GIVES CHELSEA THE
Southampton 3-2 Chelsea
Beattie 3, 90 Tessem 36 - Wise 69, Poyet 78
FA Carling Premiership
A James Beattie brace, the second goal coming in injury-time to stifle a Chelsea comeback, gave the Saints all the points at the Dell.
A trademark Gustavo Poyet header looked to have capped a fine Chelsea fightback as the Blues erased a 2-0 half-time deficit. But Beattie broke their hearts with an angled drive into the top corner at the death.
Southampton stormed into a third-minute lead, Beattie providing the finish.
Matthew Oakley flicked a ball past Christian Panucci down the left flank to allow Wayne Bridge to scamper clear on the overlap. He then squared a neat cross for Beattie to sweep the ball into the net from close range.
The strapping striker may have dropped down to the first division when Crystal Palace were sniffing around a couple of months ago, so the Dell fans were delighted that the Eagles had not been able to match Glenn Hoddle's valuation of the former Blackburn forward.
Chelsea were stung into life with Gianfranco Zola and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink both shooting wide. Southampton also threatened themselves on the break, with another forceful run by full-back Bridge from his own half finding Beattie with a probing cross that was headed straight at keeper Ed de Goey.
Beattie and Marian Pahars, meanwhile, may have had two penalties within a few seconds of each other but both appeals were waved away by referee Jeff Winter, to the home fans' disgust.
Richards then headed just wide from a corner when unmarked. A second Saints goal was on the cards, and it duly arrived on 36 minutes.
Bridge's low free-kick caused panic in the penalty area and as the Chelsea defenders stood and watched the ball, Tessem reacted first to lash a shot home from just two yards out.
At half-time talk was again of Chelsea's inability to win just this sort of game - the ultimate reason why the axe fell on Gianluca Vialli.
So it was satisfying for Blues fans to see the impact of a half-time (translated) volley from coach Claudio Ranieri.
Poyet struck a powerful first-time shot past Paul Jones after 61 minutes but the ball hit metal, and Hasselbaink saw a free kick fly narrowly wide.
After 69 minutes Dennis Wise scooped the ball in after a good flick from Zola, and it was a completely different Chelsea side now.
It was just nine minutes later that the Blues equalised when Zola again escaped his marker to cross for Poyet to power home a header.
It looked as though Chelsea would secure a point, especially when John Terry cleared a header from Tessem off the line, but that was reckoning without Beattie's late piledriver which flew past de Goey deep into injury-time.
You get the feeling that Saints fans will really miss the Dell...
Southampton: Jones, Dodd, Lundekvam, El Khalej, Richards, Marsden,
Tessem, Oakley (Davies 61), Bridge, Beattie, Pahars.
Subs Not Used: Bevan, Draper, Benali, Bleidelis.
Booked: Beattie, Pahars, Marsden, El Khalej.
Goals: Beattie 3, 90, Tessem 37.
Chelsea: de Goey, Panucci, Babayaro, Terry, Leboeuf, Poyet, Dalla
Bona, Wise, Hasselbaink, Flo (Gudjohnsen 90), Zola (Jokanovic 90).
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Bogarde, Morris.
Booked: Wise, Leboeuf.
Goals: Wise 69, Poyet 78.