Chelsea's players Richard Heathcote
Bridge too far

Oscar strike proves the difference for Chelsea against Trotters

It’s Shrewsbury next up for the Blues.

OSCAR GRABBED THE decisive goal as Chelsea returned to winning ways by beating Bolton Wanderers 2-1 in the League Cup at Stamford Bridge.

The Brazilian’s strike complemented Kurt Zouma’s debut goal as Jose Mourinho’s men dominated a Bolton Wanderers side languishing 21st in the Championship to book their place in round four.

The victory was a welcome one for Mourinho, who had watched his side held to 1-1 draws by Schalke and Manchester City in the last seven days.

Such a frustrating result only briefly appeared to be on the cards this time, with Zouma’s 25th-minute goal just reward for Chelsea’s early efforts.

The hosts were pegged back not long afterwards when Matt Mills headed home but, despite visiting goalkeeper Andy Lonergan’s inspired display, Chelsea’s class eventually told.

The Premier League side made nine changes from the 1-1 draw with Manchester City as first-team regulars were complemented by fringe players, new boy Loic Remy making a maiden start and Petr Cech appearing in goal for the first time this season.

They still began with plenty of fluency, Andre Schurrle forcing Lonergan into a solid fingertip save with a curling cross-cum-shot free-kick.

Oscar was next to threaten when forcing another good stop from Lonergan with his deflected strike.

And Bolton were left thanking their goalkeeper once more in the 16th minute as he superbly diverted Schurrle’s free-kick onto the crossbar.

The Schurrle show continued when he curled a shot agonisingly wide soon afterwards.

However, when the opener finally came midway through the opening period it was Zouma who scored it, the 19-year-old firing the ball into the roof off the net after Bolton had failed to clear Schurrle’s corner.

Any immediate expectation that Chelsea might cruise from then on was extinguished when Mills met Liam Feeney’s 31st-minute free-kick with a pin-point header to level.

Chelsea responded impressively only to be denied again by the outstanding Lonergan, who turned away Nathan Ake’s superb 30-yard effort before the break.

The goalkeeper was at it again immediately after the interval, superbly turning Oscar’s effort over the crossbar.

But he could do little to keep out the Brazilian in the 55th minute, beaten by a perfectly-placed 25-yard strike.

Lonergan quickly returned to form when denying Remy from point-blank range, as Chelsea dominated the play without taking their opportunities.

Soccer - Capital One Cup - Third Round - Chelsea v Bolton Wanderers - Stamford Bridge Bolton Wanderers' Matt Mills scores against the Blues.

The next missed chance again came from the boot of Schurrle, who curled another solid free-kick over the crossbar with time running out.

Schurrle’s bad luck in front of goal continued even when Lonergan made a rare slip-up, the goalkeeper letting an effort run through his fingers and on to the post.

It appeared the misses may prove costly as Bolton pressed forward and the tension grew when Lee Chung-yong forced Cech into a rare save.

Jay Spearing was fortunate not to be sent off for a wild challenge on Oscar soon afterwards, with that incident preceding a further onslaught from the visitors.

Their best chance came towards the end as Jermaine Beckford narrowly failed to connect with Joe Mason’s cross.

And the visitors were left to rue that missed opportunity as Chelsea’s progression was confirmed.

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