Goals in each half from Nicolas Anelka and Daniel Sturridge gave holders Chelsea a 2-0 victory against Championship side Preston North End at Deepdale on Saturday and booked their side a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Chelsea dominated possession throughout and had the goal in the net in the early stages when Florent Malouda tapped home but referee Mike Dean had whistled for an infringement on Frank Lampard and failed to play the advantage.
Michael Ballack struck the wall with the resulting free-kick but it didn’t take the visitors long to open the scoring.
French striker Anelka broke the deadlock in the 37th minute when he was allowed to cut in from the left and his low strike went through a crowd of players and deflected past Andy Lonergan in the Preston goal.
Preston’s best chance of the match came moments later when Darren Carter scooped the ball over the bar from five yards after Hilario in the Chelsea goal could only partially parry a cross.
Chelsea snuffed out any hopes of a Preston comeback when Daniel Sturridge blasted home from close range after Lonergan could only fend off a towering header from John Terry.
Preston, managed by Darren Ferguson, the son of Manchester United manager Sir Alex, battled valiantly in the closing stages with John Parkin twice going close from range but Chelsea had plenty in hand to protect their lead.