Chelsea 1 West Bromwich Albion 0
West Bromwich Albion's Premiership tenure may once again prove short-lived - but at least they are not prepared to go down without a fight.
Last night's bold attempt to steal all three points from Premiership leaders Chelsea left Albion empty handed and, although it ultimately changed nothing, it was a very brave effort.
Albion manager Bryan Robson attempted to match fire with fire by picking a team modelled on Chelsea, complete with a three-man attack. And although Jose Mourinho's multi-millionaire superstars created more chances, Chelsea won only thanks to a single first-half strike from Didier Drogba.
"I said after we beat Birmingham that I was encouraged by the amount of spirit the lads are showing," said Robson. "And they once again showed they're up for the fight."
Robson's attacking tactics certainly had Chelsea unusually unnerved. In one superb move, the overlapping Paul Robinson nearly got in at the far post, denied at the last by a great tackle from Paulo Ferreira. Geoff Horsfield twice had the ball in the net, only to be whistled for offside on each occasion.
However, Chelsea gradually started to exploit the space left by the Baggies' foraging. Mourinho's front three had all gone close before the home side cut Albion open to score what proved the game's only goal.
Lampard's ball inside Marton Albrechtsen tore Albion to ribbons, Damien Duff squared across and Drogba slid in unmarked to hammer home from close range.
To Albion's credit, by the time they conceded that first goal, a week earlier Chelsea had already been three up against Barcelona. But this was a night when the opposition's star turn was not Ronaldinho, but Ronnie Wallwork who toiled endlessly.
Albrechtsen's last-minute intervention stopped Drogba making it two after he'd gone round Russell Hoult, Cole shot straight at the keeper and Frank Lampard ripped a volley just over.
Albion still looked good at the start of the second half when Zoltan Gera curled just wide after neat work from Robinson and Kieran Richardson. And there was frustration when nobody could get on the end of Kanu's header from a Gera cross.
But Chelsea were getting the better chances. Hoult had to make a sprawling save after Duff's searing run, and Drogba was twice just off target in quick succession.
But Albion can look back on an 'if only' moment when Kanu leathered a goalbound volley only for his effort to be blocked by the hulking figure of Robert Huth.