Clark's late equaliser breaks Chelsea hearts
Chelsea's title hopes were dealt another blow as Ciaran Clark's injury-time header handed Aston Villa a 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues trailed 2-1 heading into the last six minutes of normal time, but late goals from Didier Drogba and John Terry looked to have earned them three points.
There was to be a sting in the tail, however, as Clark ghosted in at the back post to nod the ball past Petr Cech.
Strikes from Ashley Young and Emile Heskey had earlier given Villa the lead, while Frank Lampard opened the scoring in what was an ill-tempered match, with seven Villa players shown yellow cards. Chelsea are now in danger of missing out on Champions League football next season, having fallen to fifth after a run of one win in eight games.
Having edged past Bolton in their previous game, Chelsea appeared set for successive triumphs when Lampard put them ahead from the penalty spot. James Collins climbed all over Florent Malouda in the area as they jostled for an aerial ball, allowing Lampard to hammer his spot-kick past Brad Friedel.
A determined Villa side nabbed a deserved equaliser when Lee Mason awarded them a penalty, converted by Young, following Michael Essien's injudicious lunge at Nigel Reo-Coker.
Villa handed under-fire Gerard Houllier a huge boost when they stormed into the lead after two minutes of the second period. Stewart Downing floated in a cross from the right that Emile Heskey powered into the net after climbing above Jeffrey Bruma.
With their title hopes fading before their eyes, Chelsea stirred into life as the game entered its last quarter. Friedel produced two heroic saves to keep the sides level - first from a Lampard volley, then when he smothered a low shot from Malouda. Villa's resistance was finally punctured with six minutes left when Drogba bludgeoned the ball home from close range following a scramble in the area.
Terry's goal, passed into the corner of the net from 12 yards, appeared to have dealt the fatal blow - but Clark had the final say after meeting Marc Albrighton's cross.