Chelsea hold nerve to ease past Scunthorpe in FA Cup third round
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | January 10, 2016
Chelsea 2-0 Scunthorpe United
- Opener credited to Costa after Laird was thought to have found own net
- Scunthorpe had appeal for penalty after Ramires seemingly clipped Van Veen
- Chelsea youngster Loftus-Cheek came off bench to double lead in second-half
Blues battle past stubborn Iron
Chelsea are through to the FA Cup fourth round after easing past third-tier team Scunthorpe United at Stamford Bridge, though didn’t have it all their way throughout.
The Iron certainly put up a decent fight, after weathering an early Blues storm, but eventually succumbed to a 2-0 defeat after goals in either half from Diego Costa and substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
It didn’t take too long for the first goal of the game, as in the 12th minute Costa tapped in from a fantastic Branislav Ivanovic cross, though initially it had looked it had come off Scott Laird last.
Cesc Fabregas, who along with the above duo was targeted by fans for below par performances under former boss Jose Mourinho this season, then tested keeper Luke Daniels from about 30 yards from the net, but his effort was tipped over.
The Spaniard soon after picked out his compatriot Pedro Rodriguez with a wonderful ball from his own half, but again Daniels was equal to it.
Chelsea couldn’t capitalise on dominant start
Unlike fellow Premier League giants Manchester United in their FA Cup third round tie against another League One side Sheffield United on Saturday, Chelsea were creating chance after chance, and this time it was Oscar who came close to doubling the hosts’ lead.
Play soon settled, though, and just after the half-hour mark Asmir Begovic was tested for the first time as striker Luke Williams, once an apparent Chelsea target, hit straight at the Belgian.
It was a slow start to the second-half, but Scunthorpe could’ve arguably had a penalty in the 53rd minute when Ramires seemingly clipped Kevin van Veen in the box, but the referee waved away protests.
Hosts ease nerves after second goal
While chances became fewer, the tension certainly grew and it was clear the hosts were showing signs of being nervous as players from both sides picked up needless bookings.
However, Chelsea’s nerves were soon eased after sub Loftus-Cheek slotted home after latching onto Cesar Azpilicueta’s low cross on the left.
The Iron did not give up on hope just yet, though, and Van Veen came very close to halving the deficit after nearly catching out Begovic from a free-kick.
Jordan Clarke, who was nutmegged by Costa for the first goal, almost shocked Guus Hiddink’s men with just minutes to go, as his shot from far out on the right crashed against the crossbar to safety.
But Chelsea managed to keep their clean sheet, and now await who they’ll face in the fourth round, when the draw is made on Monday evening.
Check out more from our FA Cup archive.