1-0 (Johnson 70), 2-0 (Hreidarsson 75)
- Match reports
- 14 February 2009 17:00
- Posted by Tim Oscroft
An injury to Micah Richards meant that Shaleum Logan came in for his first Premier League start at right back, the youngster having started two Carling Cup ties last season. Elsewhere, Elano came in for Shaun Wright-Phillips in the other change from the XI that started v Boro.
It was a chilly day on the south coast, but nowhere near the sub-zero temperatures that called this fixture off just over a month ago. A loyal City contingent had made the long journey south, with today’s trip hampered by a snarl-up on the roads leading into Portsmouth. They gave David James a warm ovation when it was announced that today’s game was his 536th Premier League appearance, a new record.
Our first nervy moment came on eight minutes, when a corner eventually fell to Pennant, whose run into the box was stopped by Zabaleta. The ball span away to Crouch, but from near the penalty spot he put his shot straight at Shay Given. Within a minute the hosts had another good chance, David Nugent breaking across the box and trying to beat the City keeper from a tight angle, but the former Preston striker could not find the target.
City asserted themselves better after these chances, with Bellamy a persistent threat and Elano rifling a shot from outside the box over the bar on 21 minutes. Just past the midway point Nugent broke through again, and this time it was a much closer-run thing, Given finger-tipping the ball away after racing to the edge of the box. Peter Crouch was denied by well-timed Kompany challenge inside the box on 25 minutes, and at the other end Nedum Onuoha put a header from a free kick straight at his former team mate David James.
The hosts looked nervous, with any slight mistake adding to the home fans’ apprehensions. City won it back on 34 minutes, the move ending when Elano cut in from the right and put a powerful shot into James’ bread-basket. The Brazilian’s free kick from around 30 yards out with three minutes to the break gave us our next chance, but it was a tame effort that James had no problems with.
Glen Johnson had the first chance of the second half, the right back wriggling into space after a corner to drill in a low shot that Given collected with ease. But on 53 minutes Nugent spurned the best chance of the game, beating the offside trap to go one-on-one with the City keeper, only to make a hash of the finish, his shot from an angle rolling across the face of goal and a long way wide of the post.
City were patient and content to probe for an opening, with their next chance coming when Craig Bellamy fired over with a first-time shot following a knock-down from Stephen Ireland. Pompey still pressed, with a late deflection taking a decent effort from Crouch wide of Given’s left post.
But with 20 minutes to go the home side went ahead. Glen Johnson cut in from the right and shook off Bridge to shoot at Given; the keeper parried the effort, but the Pompey right back collected the rebound and placed the ball past Given and into the far corner of the net.
That lifted the hosts and the home fans, and five minutes later they had more reason to cheer when Pompey doubled the lead. A corner swung in from the far side was met by Hermann Hreidarsson, who got in front of Kompany to power an unstoppable header past a helpless Given.
Ched Evans and Felipe Caicedo had replaced Zabaleta and Robinho as time began to run out, and the former came close to getting one back on 84 minutes, but his header from a Logan cross was denied by a superb save from David James. Craig Bellamy went into Lee Probert’s book on 86 minutes after clashing with Hreidarsson, but the striker was amazed to be shown the yellow card.
Johnson moved into the box in the last minute of normal time, but Shaleum Logan did superbly to clear his shot off the line. Things got heated in stoppage time, with the home fans trying to get Bellamy sent off following a clash with Belhadj. A City corner came to nothing, with Evans’ header falling harmlessly wide, and that was the last real chance of the game. Another away defeat had seen City spurn the chance of climbing into seventh place.