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Late equaliser earns Bohs draw in Frank Lampard's first game as Chelsea manager

Eric Molloy scored a minute from the end to spoil the new manager’s debut game.

Frank Lampard.
Frank Lampard.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Bohemians 1

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea 1

AN OFF-FIELD baptism for Chelsea – the night they became known as Frank Lampard’s Chelsea – and on the field Bohemians came as close as you can to giving a baptism of fire in pre-season. 

A fiesty, eager Bohs side denied Lampard a debut win with an 89th-minute equaliser through trialist Eric Molloy; Chelsea having led from the eighth minute through a Michy Batshuyai goal. 

Old gags about Chelsea parking the bus didn’t wash in the Dalymount rain – they brought two of them to Phibsboro to ferry players, staff, and assorted equipment

Meanwhile, a car with a couple of Bohs players were told between a flurry of stewards’ apologies that there was no room for them in the car park. 

This was the first meeting between Bohs and Chelsea since 1991, with the Bohs programme recalling a former editor’s set-to with Ken Bates, telling him that “our zero hours contract minimum wage slaves were tearing into his millionaires.”

Roman Abramovich didn’t turn up for a re-enactment. 

New Technical Advisor Petr Cech was here, sitting in the Jodi Stand and earning an ovation as he trekked across the pitch on arrival ahead of the game. The biggest, obviously, was reserved for Lampard, and it was significantly louder as he strode out ahead of kick-off having not made an appearance for the warm-up. 

Frank Lampard Lampard emerges for his first game as manager. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

There were plenty of big names included from the start of this game, including Cesar Azpilicueta, Pedro, Michy Batshuyai and Danny Mandroiu. 

By the tenth minute Mandroiu had two nutmegs to his name – sorry, Kasey Palmer and Danny Drinkwater – but by that point, Batschuyai had a goal.

Kenedy was allowed to drift in from the left wing, and his shot was deflected into the path of the Belgian striker, who scored from close range. That was about the limit of Kenedy’s energy, and he spent the rest of the first-half huffing, puffing, and being twisted inside out by Bohs’ right-winger Luke Wade-Slater. 

Lampard cut his usual unworried figure throughout. What part of the game he didn’t spend with his arms folded on the bench was spent on the edge of his technical area, hands in pockets and legs akimbo, mimicking that strange power stance the Tory party experimented with last year. 

With Kenedy almost aggressively lethargic, Batshuayi looked sharp up front while Azpiliecuta played at centre-back as a bridge of experience between youngsters Dujon Sterling and Marc Guehi.

Like his predecessor, Lampard played a 4-3-3 formation, and with neither Jorginho or Kanté in the squad, Ethan Ampadu played at the base of the Chelsea midfield. He was impressive, although not quite as regal as he was in the Nations League win against Ireland last year as Mandroiu and Bohs gave him a little more to worry about. 

Bohs, shorn of striking options amid Dinny Corcoran’s ongoing absence, used this as a trial game for English striker Andre Wright. His physicality offered Bohs an intermittent outlet up front, and he fizzed a shot narrowly wide of Willy Caballero’s right-hand post in the opening few minutes. 

Lampard changed his entire starting team for the second half, with Tiemoue Bakoyoko, returning from a loan spell at AC Milan, forcing a fabulous save from James Talbot with an early volley. Talbot then made another fine save from 18-year-old Billy Gilmour, the diminutive Scottish midfielder who is among the most highly-rated prospects in the Chelsea system. 

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Gilmour, however, is a grizzled veteran compared to a player sprung from the Bohs bench just past the hour mark. 14-year-old Evan Ferguson, son of former Bohs and Longford Town defender Barry, led the line alone as a replacement for Wright. Ferguson’s precocity isn’t a secret – he has been capped at U16 level by Ireland, is heading to Brighton for a trial later this week and has attracted interest from Liverpool. 

Ethan Ampadu and Andre Wright Ethan Ampadu with Andre Wright. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

He made an impact too, with a jinking run into the box resulting in a curled shot that went narrowly wide of the far, right-hand post. 

Bar those early couple of saves from Talbot, Chelsea didn’t offer an attacking threat after the break, and they were given a late warning at the other end when Keith Ward – a half-time replacement for Mandroiu – flashed a long-range shot narrowly over the crossbar. 

Those warnings went unheeded, when Ward slipped a delightful pass for Molloy, who rifled into the net. 

“You’re getting sacked in the morning”, sang the Bohs fans.


Bohemians: James Talbot (Sean Bohan 77′); Derek Pender (Paddy Kirk, 57′), Michael Barker (Alex Kelly 82′), James Finnerty (Mitch Byrne 82′), Darragh Leahy (Jack Funge 85′); Keith Buckley (Conor Levingston 57′), Robbie McCourt (Scott Allardice, 57′); Luke Wade-Slater (Dawson Devoy, HT, Eric Molloy 82′), Danny Mandroiu (Keith Ward HT), Ryan Graydon (Kevin Devaney 57′), Andre Wright (Evan Ferguson 62′)

Chelsea (first-half XI): Willy Caballero;  Dujon Sterling, Marc Guehi, Cesar Azpilicueta, Kenedy; Ethan Ampadu, Danny Drinkwater Conor Gallagher; Pedro, Michy Batshuayi, Kasey Palmer

Chelsea (second-half XI): Jamie Cumming; Davide Zappacosta, Trevoh Chalobah, Kurt Zouma, Ian Maatsen; Lewis Baker, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Billy Gilmour; Lucas Piazon, Ike Ugbo, Izzy Brown

Referee: Neil Doyle 

Attendance: 3,800

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About the author:

Gavin Cooney  / at Dalymount Park

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