LONDON (AP) — Chelsea captain John Terry scored a late winner to break Everton's resistance for a 1-0 win Saturday that keeps the Premier League leader at the top of the table.
Frank Lampard's free kick in the third minute of stoppage time brushed off Branislav Ivanovic's head down to Terry, who was primed in front of goal. And the center back appeared to get a touch before goalkeeper Tim Howard's body helped the ball into the net rather than blocking it.
Until that point, Howard had pulled off a succession of saves to repel Chelsea. There was a triple-block on the hour to deny Eden Hazard, Samuel Eto'o and Branislav Ivanovic in quick succession.
But Chelsea will now end the weekend on top, staying a point in front of Arsenal, which beat Sunderland 4-1.
"We just want to try to keep the position and not give it up," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. "We have to fight, we have to play and of course it's a good feeling to win in the end.
"The players did everything. We have some limitations — that's obvious — but the team wanted to win. They tried everything."
The scrambled winner avoided a second straight draw for Chelsea, having conceded a late equalizer at West Bromwich Albion in the Blues' last league match. Chelsea felt this late winner helped to make amends.
"Recently dropping points away to West Brom, it's important to pick up three points at home," Terry said. "We're top of the league and sitting well. It's down to the others now to catch us."
The game was played at a frantic pace from the start, with Everton more combative than the hosts initially. Resolute defending by Gary Cahill and the returning Terry prevented the visitors from finding a gap to breach the Chelsea back line.