Rare Cole goal leaves Chelsea top of the English Premier League
updated 2:25 PM EDT, Sat September 22, 2012
Ashley Cole celebrates a rare goal as Chelsea beat Stoke 1-0 to go three points clear of the EPL.
- Ashley Cole scores late winner as Chelsea beat Stoke City 1-0
- Four wins from five games leave European champions top of EPL
- Everton go second with 3-0 win at 10-man Swansea
- Promoted Southampton thrash Aston Villa for first points of season
(CNN) -- England international defender Ashley Cole turned goal scorer as his late winner at Stamford Bridge Saturday gave Chelsea a 1-0 win over Stoke City to stay top of the English Premier League.
Cole was finding the net for the first time in over two years and he left it until the 85th minute, set up by a brilliant pass by Spain's Juan Mata.
His team had been made to struggle by the battling visitors and looked set for a fourth game without a win in all competitions before the full back's late intervention.
It is mentally good to get a lead in the league table
"I had a few shots in the first half and took too much time on the ball with them, but this time, the first thing that came into my brain was to dink it and I just did it," Cole said.
"It is mentally good to get a lead in the league table."
Fernando Torres scuffed Chelsea's best chance but Stoke might have gone ahead in the first half when a Jonathan Walters' header hit the crossbar.
The striker was also subjected to a strong challenge late in the game from Chelsea defender David Luiz, which left the Brazilian lucky to escape a straight red card.
Luiz, who signed from Benfica last year, sealed a new five-year contract with the Blues later Saturday, extending his deal to 2017.
"It is a great club and I look forward to winning more trophies here. I want to play for a long time at the top level -- which is what playing for Chelsea means," he told the club's official website.
Four wins from five league games have left Roberto Di Matteo's men three points clear of Everton, who secured an excellent 3-0 win at 10-man Swansea in the early kick off.
Victor Anichebe and Kevin Mirallas put Everton 2-0 up by halftime and home hopes disappeared when substitute Nathan Dyer was sent off after the break.
Belgian star Marouane Fellaini was rewarded for his fine efforts with a late third goal. He had set up Anichebe for the opener with a pass which TV replays indicated had been via his arm, but he was a constant thorn in the side of the home defense.
West Bromwich Albion continued their fine start to the season with a 1-0 home win over promoted Reading, leaving them third in the early EPL standings.
Southampton earned their first points of the season with a 4-1 thrashing of Aston Villa at St Mary's.
Darren Bent put the visitors ahead in the first half but two goals from Rickie Lambert helped the Saints storm back after the break. A Nathan Clyne effort and an own goal from Ciaran Clark added to Villa's misery.
In other matches, Hugo Rodallega scored against his old club as Fulham won 2-1 at Wigan, while Sunderland drew 1-1 at West Ham.
Sunday will see Liverpool face arch-rivals Manchester United, while champions Manchester City entertain Arsenal.
Norwich visit Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur host Queens Park Rangers.
Part of complete coverage on
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
updated 10:34 AM EDT, Wed April 24, 2013
Luis Suarez's biting of Branislav Ivanovic is the latest episode of moments of madness when soccer stars behave badly.
updated 5:38 AM EDT, Fri March 29, 2013
Sunderland's partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation is part of its bid to woo the African market.
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Thu March 28, 2013
Each year as many as 700 Cameroonian young footballers leave Africa in search of a professional career abroad.
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Mon May 6, 2013
Referees across Europe are feeling the heat. Insulted, threatened, chased off the field, attacked, hospitalized and, tragically, killed.
updated 8:45 AM EST, Wed March 6, 2013
A red card for Manchester United's Nani during Tuesday's loss to Real Madrid sparks huge social media reaction.
updated 7:25 AM EST, Tue February 26, 2013
Footballers have a battery of physios, fitness trainers and doctors all striving to fine-tune their physique -- but are they missing a trick?
updated 9:24 AM EST, Tue February 26, 2013
No Englishman has won the EPL title in over 20 years, while a leading manager reveals that English coaches are now "not respected abroad."
updated 5:33 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
Hardcore Italian football "ultra" Federico is a Lazio supporter who happily admits directing monkey chants at black players.
updated 6:23 AM EST, Tue March 5, 2013
When Jupp Heynckes made his Bundesliga debut as a player in 1965, the name of Bayern Munich was a new one for the nascent German league.
updated 2:02 PM EST, Tue February 19, 2013
Football's world governing body FIFA has confirmed it will use goal-line technology at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
updated 9:03 AM EST, Tue February 19, 2013
Match-fixing has become a worldwide issue, with hundreds of matches under investigation -- but how do you actually fix a football game?
updated 12:00 PM EST, Mon February 18, 2013
U.S soccer star Robbie Rogers has "come out" as gay on the day he retired from the game, making the announcement on his blog.
updated 5:31 PM EST, Mon February 11, 2013
The wealth of owners like Chelsea's Roman Abramovich often fuels success, but for other clubs such backers prove a mixed blessing.
updated 12:40 PM EST, Thu January 31, 2013
Brand Beckham is moving from the "City of Angels" to the "City of Light" as the football icon signs a short-term deal and offers to give away his pay.
updated 7:47 AM EST, Thu January 31, 2013
Fireworks inside his own house, a car crash in his first week at Manchester City, that iconic t-shirt -- the EPL will miss Mario Balotelli.
updated 8:42 AM EST, Wed January 30, 2013
The Secret Footballer reveals the complex issues surrounding racism in the English Premier League.
updated 10:43 AM EST, Wed January 30, 2013
The death of 73 football fans in Port Said tragedy continues to haunt Egypt.