Chelsea's fading Premier League title hopes suffered a huge blow as Fulham hit back to earn a battling draw in a lacklustre west London derby.

Juan Mata put the hosts ahead after the break, cracking home a fine first-time shot from the edge of the box.

Fulham levelled when Bryan Ruiz easily beat Ashley Cole and found Clint Dempsey, who netted from close range.

Chelsea dominated possession and created a host of chances late in the game, but the visitors held on.

Raul Meireles and substitutes Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda each had two chances to secure maximum points after Dempsey's 56th-minute strike as the Blues laid siege to the Fulham goal.

Emotionless derby 'disappoints' Villas-Boas

However, Chelsea's late dominance was in stark contrast to a desperate first-half display which lacked urgency, quality and conviction.

Despite being pinned back in their own half for most of the final half-hour, Fulham were good value for a draw which leaves Chelsea 11 points below Premier League leaders Manchester City and Manchester United following the Boxing Day fixtures.

Misfiring £50m striker Fernando Torres, making his first Chelsea start in two months, once again failed to impress with another hit-and-miss display.

The Spaniard volleyed straight at goalkeeper David Stockdale after showing immaculate chest control from Mata's exquisite pass before the interval, and had a decent shout for a penalty ignored after the break.

But Torres continues to look a shadow of the player so often hailed as the best forward in the world during his Liverpool days.

The Cottagers frustrated Chelsea with a disciplined defensive display, and a line-up full of attacking talent broke with purpose to create as many decent chances as their hosts before the break.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fulham have now beaten Chelsea only once in the last 31 league and cup meetings, spanning 32 years. Their only success was a 1-0 win at Craven Cottage in March 2006

Dempsey forced a fine save from Petr Cech with an awkward effort that bounced in front of the goalkeeper, and Moussa Dembele and Orlando Sa, who played up front on his own, also had efforts on goal.

At the other end Daniel Sturridge sliced a shot wide after being teed up by Torres, but Chelsea only sparked into life after half-time.

They went ahead when Mata found the corner of Stockdale's goal from 18 yards after Torres held the ball up.

Any hopes that it would be lay the platform for a much-needed convincing home win soon vanished when Ruiz did brilliantly to deceive Cole and Dempsey got in front of David Luiz to turn the ball home from close range.

At that point Andre Villas-Boas's side finally began to play with greater belief.

Sturridge saw a decent curling strike flicked over by Stockdale, and Malouda, on for the ineffective Frank Lampard, was unlucky not to score with a cheeky close-range backheel from John Terry's header.

Jol buoyed by Chelsea draw

Torres also had a shout for a penalty ignored as he tumbled on the edge of the area and Drogba shot straight at Stockdale from a tight angle.

Meireles then shot narrowly wide after a wonderful turn and had a header tipped over by the impressive Stockdale.

Drogba also had a free-kick tipped over in the closing seconds as Chelsea looked to avoid a damaging third consecutive 1-1 draw.

But Fulham were able to withstand the onslaught and earn the point they so craved following last week's home mauling by Manchester United .

Chelsea manager Andre Vilas-Boas:

"The performance was good. We tried everything in our power to get a second goal. Stockdale had a fantastic day and prevented us getting a second goal and it is disappointing.

"Fulham were very well organised in the first half. They were solid and compact and made things difficult for us.

"The first half was a little one-paced from both teams. It was not fuelled by emotions. There was still time in the second half but we couldn't find the momentum after we scored. We found it again after they scored but it was too late."

Fulham manager Martin Jol:

"Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora couldn't play so we had to do it a bit differently today. We played with two on the flanks and two offensive midfield players and we caused them a problem in the first half.

"We played as a team and tried to keep the ball and did ever so well.

"They scored and it was a big blow but we came back with extra quality. There was an urgency, we scored and that that gave us a big boost.

"Maybe at the end we tried to overplay and that could have cost us but it didn't and I think we deserved a point."

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (4)

Chelsea

  • 01 Cech
  • 03 Cole
  • 04 David Luiz
  • 17 Bosingwa Booked (Ferreira - 81' )
  • 26 Terry
  • 06 Romeu
  • 08 Lampard (Malouda - 61' )
  • 16 Meireles
  • 09 Torres
  • 10 Mata
  • 23 Sturridge (Drogba - 70' )

Substitutes

  • 22 Turnbull
  • 19 Ferreira
  • 15 Malouda
  • 20 McEachran
  • 11 Drogba
  • 18 Lukaku
  • 21 Kalou

Fulham

  • 12 Stockdale
  • 02 Kelly
  • 03 JA Riise
  • 05 Hangeland
  • 14 Senderos
  • 13 Murphy
  • 21 Frei
  • 23 Dempsey Booked
  • 09 Sa (Kasami - 82' )
  • 11 Ruiz
  • 30 Dembele

Substitutes

  • 38 Etheridge
  • 06 Baird
  • 18 Hughes
  • 28 Briggs
  • 04 Sidwell
  • 10 Kasami
  • 20 Etuhu
Ref: Friend
Att: 41,548

Match Stats

Shots

24 9

On target

15 6

Corners

9 3

Fouls

10 12

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:11 Full time

Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.

90:00 +2:02

Corner from the left by-line taken by Didier Drogba, Brede Hangeland makes a clearance.

90:00 +1:00

Free kick awarded for a foul by Moussa Dembele on Fernando Torres. Didier Drogba has a direct shot on goal from the free kick, save made by David Stockdale.

90:00 +0:37

Shot by Pajtim Kasami. Save made by Petr Cech.

90:00 +0:21

Unfair challenge on Philippe Senderos by Juan Mata results in a free kick. Danny Murphy restarts play with the free kick.

89:43

Oriol Romeu concedes a free kick for a foul on Bryan Ruiz. Danny Murphy takes the direct free kick.

89:26

Juan Mata takes a shot. David Stockdale makes a comfortable save.

89:11

Short corner worked by Juan Mata.

88:55

Shot by Florent Malouda from 20 yards. David Stockdale makes a brilliant save.

88:26

Raul Meireles takes a shot. Comfortable save by David Stockdale.

87:08

Inswinging corner taken by Raul Meireles, Didier Drogba takes a shot. Comfortable save by David Stockdale.

86:50

Inswinging corner taken by Juan Mata.

86:36

Raul Meireles takes a shot. Brilliant save by David Stockdale.

83:11

Free kick awarded for a foul by Pajtim Kasami on John Terry. John Terry takes the direct free kick.

81:58 Substitution

Substitution Carlos Orlando Sa goes off and Pajtim Kasami comes on.

80:22 Substitution

Substitution Paulo Ferreira on for Jose Bosingwa.

80:02

Shot by Didier Drogba. Save made by David Stockdale.

78:32

Raul Meireles produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target.

75:38

Effort from 12 yards by Didier Drogba. David Stockdale makes a comfortable save.

73:49

The ball is sent over by Jose Bosingwa, Brede Hangeland makes a clearance.

72:15

Brede Hangeland concedes a free kick for a foul on Raul Meireles. Free kick crossed left-footed by Juan Mata.

69:49 Substitution

Substitution Didier Drogba joins the action as a substitute, replacing Daniel Sturridge.

67:31

The free kick is delivered right-footed by Danny Murphy from left channel, save by Petr Cech.

67:31 Booking

Booking Jose Bosingwa is shown a yellow card.

67:22

Jose Bosingwa gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kerim Frei.

65:12

Florent Malouda takes a shot. Save made by David Stockdale.

64:55

John Terry takes a shot. Blocked by Florent Malouda.

64:24

Short corner taken by Juan Mata from the right by-line.

64:07

Daniel Sturridge produces a curled left-footed shot from 18 yards. Save made by David Stockdale.

62:02

Unfair challenge on Ashley Cole by Bryan Ruiz results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ashley Cole.

60:54 Substitution

Substitution (Chelsea) makes a substitution, with Florent Malouda coming on for Frank Lampard.

60:04

Effort on goal by Clint Dempsey from 18 yards. Comfortable save by Petr Cech.

57:59

Free kick awarded for a foul by Clint Dempsey on Fernando Torres. Raul Meireles restarts play with the free kick.

56:55

Unfair challenge on Bryan Ruiz by Juan Mata results in a free kick. Danny Murphy restarts play with the free kick.

56:29

The offside flag is raised against Fernando Torres. David Stockdale takes the indirect free kick.

55:07

Assist on the goal came from Bryan Ruiz.

55:07 Goal scored

Goal! - Clint Dempsey - Chelsea 1 - 1 Fulham Goal scored by Clint Dempsey from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Chelsea 1-1 Fulham.

55:06

Bryan Ruiz crosses the ball,

52:48

Inswinging corner taken by Danny Murphy, clearance made by John Terry.

51:04

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Raul Meireles.

50:30

Juan Mata takes the outswinging corner, Shot by John Terry. Blocked by Brede Hangeland.

48:44

Inswinging corner taken by Danny Murphy, Header from close in by Brede Hangeland misses to the right of the goal.

48:21

Foul by Jose Bosingwa on Kerim Frei, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Danny Murphy.

46:48

Fernando Torres provided the assist for the goal.

46:48 Goal scored

Goal! - Juan Mata - Chelsea 1 - 0 Fulham Juan Mata fires in a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Chelsea 1-0 Fulham.

45:01

The game restarts for the second half.

45:00 +1:05 Half time

Half Time The players leave the pitch at half time.

44:58

Daniel Sturridge produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the target.

44:10

David Luiz has an effort at goal. Comfortable save by David Stockdale.

42:58

Carlos Orlando Sa concedes a free kick for a foul on Juan Mata. Juan Mata takes the direct free kick.

42:45

Moussa Dembele takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a comfortable save.

40:53

Unfair challenge on Frank Lampard by Clint Dempsey results in a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Juan Mata, Brede Hangeland manages to make a clearance.

40:03

Moussa Dembele fouled by Jose Bosingwa, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by David Stockdale.

37:52

Corner taken by Juan Mata from the right by-line, clearance by Clint Dempsey.

35:40

Foul by John Terry on Carlos Orlando Sa, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Danny Murphy.

33:04

Stephen Kelly concedes a free kick for a foul on Juan Mata. Frank Lampard takes the free kick.

32:37

Shot from outside the area by Raul Meireles misses to the left of the goal.

31:10

Corner taken by Juan Mata played to the near post, Header by John Terry from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.

30:09

Shot by Oriol Romeu from just outside the area goes over the net.

28:28

Jose Bosingwa produces a cross, Philippe Senderos manages to make a clearance.

27:03

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Moussa Dembele by Juan Mata. Danny Murphy takes the free kick.

25:01

Moussa Dembele has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand post.

18:47

Effort on goal by Fernando Torres from just inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.

18:14

Bryan Ruiz concedes a free kick for a foul on Ashley Cole. Ashley Cole restarts play with the free kick.

17:55

The ball is swung over by Jose Bosingwa, comfortable save by David Stockdale.

16:12

Daniel Sturridge has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.

15:01

Fernando Torres has an effort at goal. Save by David Stockdale.

14:00

Stephen Kelly sends in a cross, Header from deep inside the area by Carlos Orlando Sa goes harmlessly over the crossbar.

12:53

Jose Bosingwa produces a cross, Juan Mata produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.

12:01

Shot by Carlos Orlando Sa. David Luiz gets a block in.

11:10

Foul by Carlos Orlando Sa on David Luiz, free kick awarded. Raul Meireles takes the direct free kick.

8:45

Danny Murphy takes the inswinging corner, Petr Cech makes a save.

8:33

Effort from 25 yards by Clint Dempsey. Petr Cech makes a brilliant save.

7:19

Foul by Fernando Torres on Danny Murphy, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Danny Murphy.

6:14

David Luiz takes the direct free kick.

6:14 Booking

Booking The referee shows Clint Dempsey a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

6:06

Clint Dempsey gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Raul Meireles.

5:46

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Brede Hangeland by Fernando Torres. Brede Hangeland takes the direct free kick.

5:02

The ball is crossed by Daniel Sturridge, Shot by Fernando Torres from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.

4:32

Fernando Torres fouled by Danny Murphy, the ref awards a free kick. John Terry takes the direct free kick.

0:00

The referee gets the match started.

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