|Chelsea's joy was short-lived as Aston Villa equalised in injury time at Stamford Bridge [Reuters]
Chelsea saw their hopes of retaining the English Premier League title fade further when Ciaran Clark equalised for Aston Villa in stoppage time, seconds after John Terry looked like he’d won the match for the Blues at Stamford Bridge.
Terry sidefooted home to make it 3-2 at the end of normal time after Chelsea had come back from 2-1 down with a Didier Drogba strike on 84 minutes.
But a floated cross from Marc Albrighton has headed home by Clark a minute into injury time to leave the defending champions six points behind leaders Manchester United, having played a game more.
Chelsea have now taken just 10 points from the last 30.
"I'm disappointed because we worked very hard in the second half to come back into the game when 2-1 down," Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, told Sky Sports.
"We did a fantastic job. We came back and scored to make it 3-2 and everyone thought the game was finished. We needed to be focused, we needed to play another five minutes.
"We are improving, we have more confidence but we needed to win this game. We didn't and now it's more difficult to prepare for the next game."
Both Chelsea and Villa went into the match on a poor run, and both teams looked nervy in the first half.
Chelsea went ahead with a Frank Lampard penalty after 23 minutes but Villa levelled with their own penalty, by Ashley Young, just before half time.
An Emile Heskey header put the visitors ahead two minutes after the restart, and after Brad Friedel made three great saves it looked as if Villa would hold on for a morale-boosting win.
The American keeper did well again to block a Drogba shot after 84 minutes but the striker forced the rebound through three defenders to make it 2-2.
Terry then seized on another rebound to shoot home what he and most of the stadium thought was the winner in the 89th minute.
However, Chelsea allowed Clark to ghost in unmarked to nod in.
"We just kept fighting back today and hopefully we can kickstart our season from here," Friedel said.
"We've had many chats but there is a time when the talking just has to stop, and I thought the boys showed some true grit and determination. Today was just about grinding out something.
"There was a different feel about us today."
Wigan Athletic fell further into relegation trouble when they lost 1-0 at home to Newcastle United thanks to a first-half Shola Ameobi goal at the DW Stadium.