The Blues midfielder was on hand to beat Simon Mignolet from close range reacting quickest after Fernando Torres had hit the bar with a stunning effort. Lampard, Torres and Juan Mata then went on to waste a host of chances for Andre Villas-Boas’ side who will be thankful they managed to hold onto their lead against a bright Black Cats side. Martin O’Neill’s men deserved a point following a spirited display in West London and will be left ruining a number of missed opportunities with Craig Gardner and Nicklas Bendtner squandering two excellent chances to equalise late on. Having won five of their seven games under O’Neill the visitors played with purpose and confidence and went close to breaking the deadlock just after kick off only to be denied by some superb defending from Jose Boswinga.
A strong run from Stephane Sessegnon saw him release James McLean only for the Portuguese defender to dart across and prevent the young winger from getting a clear shot in on goal. Chelsea then started to exert their creative influences with Juan Mata at the centre of their attacks and it was the Spaniard who played a decisive role in the opener. A strike from Raul Meireles fell to the midfielder who intelligently lofted the ball back into the area for Torres to acrobatically smash the ball off the bar before Lampard found the net. Mata then saw a long-range strike saved by Mignolet before visibly confident Torres struck wide before seeing a goal bound header kept out by Phil Bardsley. Lampard then volleyed over as the hosts attempted to put the game to bed before the half time whistle as Sunderland clung on for dear life.
O’Neill’s men responded well after the break as they went in search of an equaliser with Bendtner fizzing a shot just wide after being played in by the impressive Sessegnon. David Vaughan then arrowed a fierce strike just wide of Petr Cech’s post before Bendtner had a penalty shout turned down after going down under the challenge of Ashley Cole. Sunderland continued to press and should have snatched a point at the death with Gardner the biggest culprit after shooting wide from 12-yards after a brilliant run and cross from Sebastian Larsson before Bendtner lofted an effort high and wide as the Blues held on to secure a priceless win.