Magpies Deny Chelsea (Sky Sports)
Newcastle United 1 Chelsea 1
Champions Chelsea failed to recapture top spot in the Premier League as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Newcastle.
An evenly contested match on a bitterly cold day in the North East saw Newcastle go ahead when a mix-up at the back from Chelsea gifted Andy Carroll the opener.
Then just before the break the champions levelled as Salomon Kalou's deflected effort found the back of the net.
Chelsea will feel they could have won the game with Kalou guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance late on but Newcastle were not without their chances and were more than worth their point.
The point means Chelsea moved into second on goal difference above Arsenal but two points off Manchester United, whilst Newcastle are up to ninth.
With Sol Campbell
making his first league start for the club and Steven Taylor
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 off 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.
Krul, Simpson, Campbell, Taylor,
Enrique, Routledge, Guthrie, Tiote, Gutierrez,
Ameobi (Ranger 77), Carroll
Subs Not Used Perch, Kadar, Soderberg, Best, Smith, Lovenkrands
Booked Tiote, Guthrie
Goals Carroll 6
Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Alex, Cole,
Ramires, Mikel (Sturridge 80), Malouda, Kalou,
Subs Not Used Turnbull, Ferreira, Bruma, van Aanholt, McEachran, Kakuta
Goals Kalou 45
Referee A. Marriner