Preston 0-1 Pompey
Sun 17-02-08, 4pm
The cup dream was given even more life when Liverpool and Arsenal both bowed out yesterday, today we had to overcome Preston to ensure we moved into the quarter finals and one game away from the 1st of hopefully 2 trips to Wembley - the semi finals are also played at Wembley again this season. The dream is still alive after a lucky 1-0 win...
Glen Johnson returned in place of Lauren - who dropped to the bench, and with Noe Pamarot injured Sylvain Distin returned. Hermann Hreidarsson retained his place, so Lucien Aubey had to be content with a place on the bench. Richard Hughes also dropped to the bench as Sulley Muntari made his return after the African nations. Milan Baros was another to drop to the bench and Jermain Defoe was cup-tied so in came John Utaka and Kanu. Sadly Dave Nugent was not fit enough for a place on the bench against his former side.
With a replay looking nailed on, and only after a David James penalty save Darren Carter scored a 3rd minute of injury time winning own goal for us.
Preston started brightly but it was a quick Pompey break that brought the first real chance. Kanu played the ball through and John Utaka got away but could not find the end product, when the ball came back to him he put the effort over the bar.
The opening 20 minutes were decent, we were comfortable enough and were not really being threatened however we did not work the keeper at all but we were playing some nice football with Kanu holding up the ball well, but he was not quite getting the runners he was looking for. The problem we were having though, with Kanu and his lack of mobility when a quality ball was coming into the area with him as the lone man we were not getting anyone in the box...
Just before the half hour mark Niko Kranjcar ghosted in to beat the offside trap but his flicked header lacked the power needed and Andy Lonergan safely claimed it without any real difficulties.
Lonergan was forced into a save with around 10 minutes of the half to play though when Sulley Muntari struck a free kick, which he turned round the post for a corner. From this corner the pressure remained with a Sol Campbell header and a Kanu shot but neither made it through to the target.
We were upping the pressure and in the 10 minute period leading up to half time it seemed only a matter of time before we did score, with Hermann Hreidarsson breaking forward from the back but he could only find the side netting - the goal did not come before half time but I would have expected Harry Redknapp to have been fairly content...
We started the 2nd half very brightly and looked even more threatening than we had at the end of the 1st - one move, started when Lassana Diarra broke up the play on the edge of his area eventually saw Papa Bouba Diop put a fantastic ball across the area but with no support up front there was no one to get on the end.
Another good break saw Glen Johnson one of several attacking but his shot was straight at the keeper, but then Preston had an effort of their own as Paul McKenna tried his luck from distance but David James was not troubled.
On the hour a stonewall penalty gave Preston a great chance to take the lead on the hour after a Sylvain Distin foul. Simon Whaley stepped up but James guessed the right way to make the save.
They kept the pressure on and he had to save again from Chris Brown soon after, then a fine move saw Darren Carter get through but his finish was tame - Preston were looking nailed on to score sooner or later now...
As the game moved towards the final 15 minutes James again had to be at his very best to make a fantastic save from Neil Mellor. At full stretch he turned it away for a corner.
Redknapp then made his first change, off went Muntari on came Milan Baros, but then Preston went close again through Chris Sedgwick - his effort just going over the bar.
As Preston carried on pouring forward it was giving us chances to break but the final pass was not there, or the shot not threatening enough with Baros probably guilty a couple of times of not getting his head up quick enough.
The final minute saw Kanu play Baros through but there was just too much on it, but still Preston threatened with us guilty of continuously giving the ball away.
The final minute of injury time saw us scrape through... After winning a corner Carter could only smash the ball into his own net when he tried to clear it.
What can you say, I do not think that we deserved to win at all, but I do not also think we deserved to lose... Preston were very unlucky not to have got a draw though - but when your luck is in your luck is in. Today was another case - like last week - of what happens if chances are not taken...
What have I been saying for the past 24 hours fellas, 'our name is on the cup'...
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Pompey 1 - Darren Carter own goal 90
Papa Bouba Diop
Sulley Muntari (Milan Baros 76)
Substitutes Not Used