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Chelsea forced to cancel substitution after awkward blunder leaves James baffled

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CHELSEA got their numbers in a twist in an awkward blunder at Brighton.

Mauricio Pochettino was keen to ring the changes at the Amex with his side leading 2-0 in the second half.

There was confusion over Chelsea's double substitution at Brighton

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There was confusion over Chelsea’s double substitution at BrightonCredit: Rex
Eventually Reece James could come on for Malo Gusto

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Eventually Reece James could come on for Malo GustoCredit: Rex

But a mix-up by one of his coaches saw the Blues forced to cancel their substitution.

And that left skipper Reece James standing perplexed on the touchline waiting to come on.

It appears Chelsea’s staff managed to hand the wrong digits to the fourth official Andy Davies on the south coast.

So when the stadium announcer read out that Noni Madueke was going to come off for James, the coaches went into a panic and immediately tried to scrap the change to ensure the right switches took place.

Eventually, though, the Chelsea bench got their admin all sorted out.

And that enabled a 69th-minute double change which saw James replace fellow right-back Malo Gusto while Raheem Sterling took his place on the wing instead of Madueke.

But when they did finally get done, Chelsea fans were happy with the decisions.

One said: “Love the Sterling and James subs.”

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Another wrote: “Good subs by Poch. Adingra doesn’t wanna track back, keeps losing gusto. Sterling and James should cause more problems down that right side now. Hopefully another goal.”

The Blues were already on course for all three points away at the Seagulls.

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Cole Palmer had put Chelsea in front as they continued their strong end to the season with a superb looping header.

Then sub Christopher Nkunku, who came on for the injured Mykhailo Mudryk just before half-time, doubled his side’s lead.

The French forward turned home a low Gusto cross on 64 minutes.

However, Chelsea fans excited by James’ entrance soon had their hopes dashed when he was sent off.

The England international kicked out at Joao Pedro in a moment of madness to see red late on.

And the nerves were jangling in the away end when Danny Welbeck scored in the 97th minute to make it 2-1.

But the ten men clung on to keep their hopes of a shock fifth-placed finish alive.

James was sent off late on for kicking out at Joao Pedro

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James was sent off late on for kicking out at Joao PedroCredit: Reuters
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