There was no Emirates FA Cup upset at Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Chelsea saw off Scunthorpe United with a 2-0 win.
The Blues were forced to work hard for their victory though and despite an early goal from Diego Costa giving Chelsea the lead, it was Scunthorpe who posed most of the questions after that.
But a second-half goal from England Under-21 midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his first for the Londoners, was enough to keep the League Two side at bay and secure Chelsea’s berth in the fourth round proper draw.
Chelsea 2-0 Scunthorpe United
The Emirates FA Cup
Third Round Proper
2pm, Sunday 10 January 2016
Stamford Bridge, Chelsea FC
Live on BT Sport 2
Winners receive £67,500
Backed by a large and noisy contingent from Lincolnshire, the Iron were hit by an early setback when Chelsea took the lead in the 13th minute.
Branislav Ivanovic delivered a crisp cross from the right and Costa was on hand to slot the ball home from close range for his fourth goal in three starts for the Blues.
Scunthorpe weren’t deterred by that though and kept probing their hosts, with former England youngster Luke Williams looking the most likely to create something as he forced Asmir Begovic into a save after 33 minutes, with a low shot skidding off the turf.
And ex Middlesbrough man Williams broke away again two minutes before half time, only for a perfectly timed tackle from Kurt Zouma to deny him a shot or cross in the box.
Blues boss Guus Hiddink responded at half time and introduced Loftus-Cheek into the midfield to replace Oscar.
But it was Scunthorpe who were on the front foot again and they felt a penalty should’ve been awarded when Kevin van Veen went down in instalments after a challenge from Ramires in the area.
However, their challenge was brought to an end in the 69th minute though, when 19-year-old Loftus-Cheek scored the goal which the Stamford Bridge crowd had wanted to see by slotting home a low shot from Cesar Azpilicueta’s cut-back.
There was still time for a scare though when Van Veen curled a vicious free-kick towards the bottom corner and whilst some of the crowd thought it had crept past Begovic, it had instead flown into the side netting.
Jordan Clarke then cracked the woodwork in the 87th minute with a vicious strike from the right-hand side of the area, which would’ve been a deserved reward for Mark Robins’ side, but it bounced away to safety.
And with the last kick of the game, Iron midfielder Neal Bishop shot wide from close range as the Blues held on to clean sheet.
Chelsea: 1 Asmir Begovic; 2 Branislav Ivanovic, 5 Kurt Zouma, 24 Gary Cahill, 28 Cesar Azpilicueta; 4 Cesc Fàbregas, 7 Ramires, 22 Willian, 8 Oscar, 17 Pedro, 19 Diego Costa
Substitutes: 36 Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Oscar 46, 16 Kenedy for Pedro 72, 14 Traore for Costa 86
Substitutes not used: 6 Baba, 12 Mikel, 13 Courtois, , 26 Terry
Goals: Scott Laird (OG) 13, Ruben Loftus-Cheek 69
Scunthorpe United: 1 Daniels; 33 Jordan Clarke, 5 David Mirfin, 23 Murray Wallace, 3 Scott Laird, 9 Paddy Madden, 15 Stephen Dawson, 26 Jamie Ness, 12 Neal Bishop, 10 Kevin van Veen, 7 Luke Williams
Substitutes: 16 Hakeeb Adelakun for Williams 79, 18 Jack King for Dawson 79, 29 Kyle Wootton for Van Veen 82
Substitutes not used: 2 Scott Wiseman, 4 Sean McAllister, 6 Niall Canavan, 13 Joe Anyon
Emirates FA Cup highlights: Chelsea 2-0 Scunthorpe United