We just about had the edge in a scrappy first half before taking control at the start of the second, forcing Chelsea keeper Lenny Pidgeley into four saves including a double stop to deny Paul O'Donoghue and Goran Bunjevcevic.
But just as it looked like we might grab the opener, the game changed on the hour mark when Rodrigo Defendi was sent off for pulling on Joe Tillen's shirt as he went through on goal.
Goran switched from centre midfield to centre-back and organised a sure defensive display for the final half-hour and we might have gone away with a win had Kieran McKenna not missed Jamie O'Hara's free-kick by a matter of inches in the final seconds.
Coach Clive reflected: "I thought we had the better of the first half although there weren't that many clear-cut opportunities. We had a threat at set-pieces and with good delivery we always had a chance of scoring.
"I asked the lads to pick it up at the start of the second half, I felt we did that and we were on top when Rodrigo was sent off.
"For the last half-hour we had to dramatically change it and I was delighted with the way the lads responded. Goran dropped back into a central defensive position, Jamie and Kieran came on and gave us energy in midfield and there was a lot of effort put in.
"As is normally the case in these games, we could have nicked it right at the end with another set-piece but all in all, I thought we certainly deserved a point."
Clive Allen was delighted with how his reserve side adapted from chasing a win to keeping out Chelsea with 10 men in last night's 0-0 draw at Aldershot.