Raheem Sterling scored twice to turn the game around but Chelsea had to settle for a point at the end of an entertaining encounter at Stamford Bridge. The Blues trailed to a Taiwo Awoniyi header during the early stages of a frustrating first half. We came roaring back after the interval, though, Sterling netting a brace in the space of seven minutes. His first was a close-range effort after a cross wasn’t cleared, his second a finish of real quality on the angle.
Forest strike first
The pattern of the game was set early, with Forest content to let us have the ball in front of them and play on the counter when they could. That strategy paid off in 12 minutes when we lost possession in midfield and Renan Lodi had space to deliver a cross that Awoniyi beat Mendy and both center-backs to. The visitors were ahead and Chelsea needed to find a response quickly.
Trying to hit back
In response, Sterling had a left-footed shot bravely blocked by Joe Worrall after Enzo had found a gap in Forest’s defence. Hall was denied in a similar fashion, again a red-shirted defender throwing themselves in the line of fire. Chelsea tried to create more chances but it would not be until after the half-hour mark that we next truly threatened Navas’s goal. Hall did excellently to get free down the left and send in a cross Joao Felix stooped to guide goalwards, but the experienced Costa Rican was equal to our first on-target attempt of the afternoon.
Lampard made five changes to the side that won at Bournemouth, two of them enforced, with fresh faces selected in goal, defence, midfield, and attack. Edouard Mendy played for the first time since before the World Cup, and Lewis Hall came in for the injured Ben Chilwell at left-back. Mateo Kovacic replaced N’Golo Kante, who missed out with a groin problem sustained in training yesterday. Joao Felix and Sterling were back in attack, with Mykhailo Mudryk and Kai Havertz making way.
Success for Sterling
The second half started with Forest on top, and they nearly doubled their lead through Moussa Niakhate, who volleyed wide from a couple of yards out after Felipe had won the first header from a corner. However, Forest was instantly punished for that miss. Trevoh Chalobah and Madueke exchanged passes down the right, allowing the former to fire a low cross into the box that fell at the feet of Sterling. His shot looked goalbound anyway but a deflection off the prone Ryan Yates made sure as it looped up into the net at the Matthew Harding end of the ground.
The goals keep coming
Chelsea was now on a roll, and the wait to complete the turnaround would not be much longer! Loftus-Cheek strode forward from inside our half, and for once several Forest players caught ahead of the ball. He released Sterling, who calmly cut inside the sliding Worrall before bending a picture-perfect shot into the far corner. For the second time in seven minutes, the Bridge erupted! However, it was the away fans celebrating next, the dust barely settled on our advantage. Orel Mangala helped the ball back into the box from a cleared corner, and there was Awoniyi in the right place at the right time to power a header past Mendy from six yards out.
Lodi fizzed a shot a foot wide as the momentum swung back in Forest’s favour. With 20 minutes left, Lampard freshened up his attack, Havertz and Hakim Ziyech replacing Joao Felix and Madueke. The changes paid immediate dividends as Ziyech picked out Havertz with a fine cross, and the German midfielder powered home a header to equalise for Chelsea.
The final minutes were frenetic, with both teams pushing hard for a winner. Forest went close through a powerful effort from midfielder Brennan Johnson, but his shot flew just wide of the post. At the other end, Chelsea threatened through a long-range strike from Ross Barkley, but the midfielder’s effort sailed over the bar.
As the clock ticked towards full-time, both sides seemed to settle for a hard-fought draw. It was a fair result, with both teams having their moments in a highly entertaining match.