JANNIK Vestergaard’s last-gasp leveller earned Saints a dramatic point in a 3-3 draw at Chelsea.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men looked to be staring defeat in the face before Danish international Vestergaard headed Theo Walcott’s volley into the net in stoppage time at Stamford Bridge.

Clinical frontman Timo Werner netted twice to put the Blues into a two-goal lead inside half an hour, before Saints’ strike duo Danny Ings and Che Adams got them back on level terms – netting either side of the interval.

Kai Havertz thought he’d had the final say for the Blues, the £71million signing from Leverkusen netting just before the hour mark.

But up popped Vestergaard with his first goal since August 2019 to ensure a 3-3 draw.

Saints made two changes from the side who overcame West Bromwich Albion 2-0 before the international break.

With Moussa Djenepo nursing a hamstring injury and Stuart Armstrong not ready to feature after self-isolating from a positive COVID-19 test, in came Nathan Redmond and Theo Walcott.

The latter was making his first Saints appearance in 5,391 days - since leaving as a 16-year-old in January 2004.

New recruit Ibrahima Diallo, a £12million signing from Ligue 1 outfit Brest, was named among the substitutes for the visitors.

Chelsea named Spanish stopper Kepa in goal for the clash, with Edouard Mendy picking up a thigh injury while training with Senegal.

And it was the hosts who almost broke the deadlock with just three minutes on the clock. A sweeping ball out wide found Ben Chilwell’s bursting run forward down the left.

The England full-back’s low drive was parried away by Alex McCarthy in the Saints goal before he denied Havertz on the follow-up.

Werner, a former player of Saints boss Hasenhuttl’s at RB Leipzig, then dragged an effort wide for the hosts before Saints fashioned their first chance of the contest.

After a strong run from Walcott allowed him to drive to the edge of the box, Che Adams’s powerful effort was saved by the boot of Kepa.

At the other end, the Blues then had the ball in the net. Chilwell’s devilish cross for Werner allowed the German international to head home – only to be flagged offside.

Werner was not to be denied on a second occasion however, as Chelsea took the lead on 15 minutes.

The former Stuttgart star brilliantly turned away from Jan Bednarek to run on to Chilwell’s through ball. After cutting inside, the frontman took his time before drilling into the net for 1-0.

More chances came the way of the hosts before Werner got his second with a touch of class on 28 minutes.

Jorginho’s first-time pass forward allowed the frontman to outpace Bednarek before chipping over McCarthy and heading in to double the advantage. Chelsea could have had a third soon after. Chilwell’s corner was planted on the head of Kurt Zouma, the Frenchman’s bullet header was parried away to safety.

But Saints gave themselves a lifeline just before the interval through their own inspirational frontman.

After Adams won the ball back high up the pitch, he played in Ings to round Kepa and slot home – making it 2-1 with his fourth club goal of the campaign.

Saints came out with their tails up after the break, Ings dragged just wide of the far post after some intricate work on the edge of the box.

The visitors were to get their leveller however, thanks to an error from Spanish stopper Kepa. He failed to clear after a ball over the top, allowing Adams the chance to run in on goal.

After a melee at the near post involving Ings and Andreas Christiansen, former Birmingham man Adams eventually shifted onto his left foot to blast the ball into the net for 2-2.

Parity was short-lived for Saints however, as Havertz had his say to put Chelsea ahead again on 59 minutes.

Christian Pulisic picked out Werner, whose pacey run allowed him to square for his German team-mate. An unmarked Havertz made no mistake in capping off the move.

Hasenhuttl then looked to the bench and swapped Redmond with youngster Nathan Tella, just before Adams fired wide of the far post on the counter.

Saints continued to push. Walcott’s centre found Ings, whose crisp strike was parried away by Kepa diving to his right.

Diallo and Shane Long were introduced late on by the visitors, who got their reward in stoppage time.

A cross into the box fell to Walcott to drill at goal – his effort flicked off the head of Vestergaard into the net to earn a point.

Chelsea: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Christiansen, Zouma, Chilwell, Jorginho, Kante, Mount (Ziyech, 72), Havertz, Pulisic (James, 87), Werner (Abraham, 89).

Unused subs: Tomori, Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Caballero (g/k).

Booked: Chilwell.

Saints: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Bertrand, Romeu (Diallo, 87), Ward-Prowse, Walcott, Redmond (Tella, 72), Ings, Adams (Long, 87).

Unused subs: Valery, Stephens, Obafemi, Forster (g/k).

Booked: Romeu.

Referee: Peter Bankes

VAR: Mike Dean.