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Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Southend v Chelsea goes ahead as planned

Wednesday night's FA Cup third-round replay between Southend and Chelsea at Roots Hall will go ahead, after fog lifted around the ground.

The weather conditions had been poor all day, and referee Chris Foy was concerned about visibility.

But after he had initially indicated the game could not be played, it was announced just before 7pm that - provided there was no further deterioration in the weather - the turnstiles would be opened 10 minutes later and the game would start at 8.10pm.

Chelsea were reported to have travelled without leading goalscorer Didier Drogba.

Foy confirmed at pitchside: ''We will start at 8.10. But if the fog comes down as bad as it was, then it will be abandoned. At the moment, I can't call it off - because it is clear as a bell.

''I was here at 4.45 - and although there was a lot of fog about, it was not too bad. However, as the evening progressed it got worse and worse.''

At that point, Foy thought he had an easy decision.

''Just before I called the game off, we could not see each other on the pitch - or from one end to the other,'' he remembered.

''It would be unfair on the fans - if they can't see the players, then we can't get a game of football on.

''I have got to be able to see the players and my assistants. But for some bizarre reason, it has cleared up - so we will go for it.''

Drogba - a reported transfer target for Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan - was indeed axed as under-pressure boss Luiz Felipe Scolari named Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou in attack.

Ricardo Carvalho dropped to the bench, with Brazilian Alex coming in to the defence while Deco was also missing from the squad completely in the other change from the team beaten 3-0 at Manchester United.

Adam Barrett captained the Shrimpers, who earned another shot at the Barclays Premier League club courtesy of a last-minute goal from Peter Clarke at Stamford Bridge.

Midfielder Alan McCormack, though, missed out on the big night through suspension.

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