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Sun 17 Feb 2008 07:22 AM

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Lampard fires Chelsea into last eight

Frank Lampard roared back to form to ensure Chelsea's 3-1 win over Huddersfield.

Frank Lampard roared back to form to ensure Chelsea survived an FA Cup fifth round scare with a 3-1 win over Huddersfield on Saturday.

The England international scored twice to take his Blues tally past the 100 mark and then made a killer third for Salomon Kalou as Avram Grant's side booked a place in the quarter-final draw.

A powerhouse performance from Lampard, making just his second appearance since returning from injury, eased concerns that the midfielder would struggle to return to his vibrant best and helped Chelsea extend their unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge to a club-record 59 games.

Not that the afternoon went entirely according to the script. Huddersfield proved dangerous opposition for the Premier League high-fliers and even threatened to cause an upset when Michael Collins equalised Lampard's first goal.

In the end, though, this was a convincing Chelsea performance and gave Grant a timely boost ahead of their more pressing engagements - Tuesday's Champions League tie with Olympiakos and next Sunday's League Cup final against Tottenham.

Grant's team selection made it obvious where his priorities lie. The Israeli made 10 changes from the side which drew with Liverpool in the Premier League last week, although there were places for both Lampard and John Terry, making his first appearance since breaking his foot in December.

The alterations had little impact. Huddersfield's cautious tactics made the early stages little more than a glorified training exercise, with the Yorkshiremen packing men behind the ball and Chelsea pinging around passes until they spotted a gap in the rearguard.

Cracks appeared almost immediately. In the fourth minute, Steve Sidwell's shot from 18 yards was deflected just wide and only a dramatic goal-line clearance from Robbie Williams prevented Scott Sinclair curling into the bottom corner seconds later.

But that only delayed the inevitable. After 18 minutes, Sinclair's speed took him clear of Williams and his cross, having deflected off Andy Holdsworth, fell perfectly into the path of Lampard, who swept low into the net.

That threatened to prompt a deluge but Huddersfield did not allow their discipline to desert them. They even began to pose the odd threat of their own, with the ever-diligent Terry clearing Nathan Clarke's effort from his own line after Williams' corner had caused havoc.

Chelsea supporters mocked the Huddersfield hoards for allowing their excitement to get the better of them but, with virtually the final kick of the half, the smiles were wiped from their faces when Town snatched a dramatic equaliser.

It was a picture-perfect goal. Chris Brandon sped down the left and his pass infield found James Berrett. The midfielder then delivered a spectacular chipped pass to Collins, who controlled and drove low past Carlo Cudicini at his near post.

Grant's face was like thunder as he stalked down the tunnel at half-time and whatever words he used to castigate his troops had the desired effect. Chelsea emerged re-energised for the second period, with Kalou seeing a 55th-minute goal chalked after John Terry had fouled goalkeeper Matthew Glennon.

But Huddersfield's luck did not hold. Five minutes later, a slick move involving John Mikel Obi and Kalou ended with the Ivorian setting up Lampard who, after seeing his initial shot saved by Glennon, bundled in the rebound from close range.

From then on, Chelsea's dominance was total. Kalou had another effort disallowed for offside before finally etching his name on the scoresheet, collecting Lampard's well-crafted pass, evading Robert Page's tackle and slipping the ball through Glennon's legs. Huddersfield's dream was over.

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