Vital Football

Pompey 4-2 Birmingham

4 - 2


Wed 12-03-08, 7.45pm

Attendance: 20138


Would it be a case of 'after the lord mayors show' when Birmingham came to town at a packed out Fratton Park… maybe in terms of performance yes, in terms of result no, as we won 4-2.

Harry Redknapp made a number of changes, the defence remained the same, but John Utaka, Lassana Diarra and Kanu all dropped out - in came Pedro Mendes, Milan Baros and Jermain Defoe.

Pompey were 2-0 up in no time, a double from Jermain Defoe left us well on track, but Fabrice Muamba and Sebastian Larsson had them level by half time, Hermann Hreidarsson early in the 2nd half and Kanu late secured the win.

The Match
Within minutes of the start a run from Milan Baros resulted in his cross into the box, which ended with a penalty being given for a handball. Jermain Defoe stepped up and duly dispatched the penalty, sending Maik Taylor the wrong way.

I have never known a central defender get forward down the left wing as much as Sylvain Distin does, and another of his marauding runs eventually saw Sulley Muntari take over and his sweet strike forced Taylor into a save, Baros followed up but again Taylor saved however he could only spill the ball to the lurking Defoe who tapped home.

Within no time Birmingham were back in the game, a free kick was sent in and with the defence AWOL Fabrice Muamba stole in to reduce the deficit, and all of this within the opening 10 minutes…

Going in search of a penalty Mauro Zarate was booked for taking a dive, with Papa Bouba Diop then going closest for Pompey. Firstly he got in the best attacking header that I think I have seen him have for Pompey, but this went just wide, then he tried his luck from the edge of the area but this shot was saved by Taylor.

A third almost came for Pompey when Muntari floated in a free kick, which seemed to get a slight flick, maybe from Sol Campbell but either way it went behind for a corner after Taylor got a touch on it.

Early in the build up it did look like there as a handball - but nothing was given, then Birmingham got a free kick on the edge of the area. This was taken by Sebastian Larsson, from my side of the ground it looked as though it was a perfectly placed free kick, which made it 2-2, others think that maybe David James was possibly beaten too easily… either way it was 2-2 at half time, much to the delight of the travelling fans!

Early in the 2nd half the lead was restored again, a free kick was knocked on and from close range Hermann Hreidarsson swept home in front of the Fratton End to make it 3-2.

Defoe was on course for his first Pompey hat trick when he was played through - but he blazed into the crowd, a dangerous free kick floated into the box and flicked on seeing Birmingham come close, but luckily this was straight into the waiting hand of James.

A surging Glen Johnson run - despite being pulled back by his shirt once again, and not for the last time - eventually saw him play through Baros who went down claiming a penalty, but nothing was given. He seemed convinced, I was not sure as I could not really tell from my seat…

After repeatedly giving away the ball Bouba Diop finally saw his race run when Lassana Diarra came on to replace him - unfortunately, and unusually he gave the ball away just as much… in all fairness though everyone was doing this in the 2nd half!

We seemed almost nailed on for another when Baros led the charge. With Defoe and Niko Kranjcar to chose from, he eventually picked out Kranjcar - which I thought was the wrong option - who forced Taylor into a save.

Our 2nd change we made of the night saw Kanu on for the hard working Baros.

Shortly after his own arrive Birmingham sub Cameron Jerome saw an effort well turned away by James. The volley was destined for the top corner but he saved well.

In order to try and wrap thing up Lauren came on for Defoe, and after a few anxious moments it was Lauren who led a late break away, he played in Pedro Mendes who put in a cross for the unmarked Kanu who finished with a diving header - he was knackered after.

Match Summary

First off, I thought Hermann Hreidarsson was fantastic!

The main stat is the 4-2 win, but again we were not great, the 2nd half showing was awful, I cannot recall us ever giving the ball away as much as we did. At times we looked really good, others really bad and a better team than Birmingham would have taken advantage.

It was interesting to see a near sell out at Fratton Park last night, the cynical would say they knew why, considering those that went will 'apparently' have a better chance of getting semi final tickets… granted I am not able to get there as much as I would love to anymore - where I live and finances hit me, but the number of people being shown to seats seemed to tell its story to me… despite being there I will have no ticket to look to redeem anyway, as I was borrowing a mates season ticket anyway! But then again I was going to this game weeks ago anyway…


Pompey 4 - Jermain Defoe 6 (pen), 8, Hermann Hreidarsson 49, Kanu 90
Birmingham 2 - Fabrice Muamba 9, Sebastian Larsson 39

David James
Glen Johnson
Sol Campbell
Sylvain Distin
Hermann Hreidarsson
Sulley Muntari
Papa Bouba Diop (Lassana Diarra 62)
Niko Kranjcar
Milan Baros (Kanu 72)
Jermain Defoe (Lauren 85)

Substitutes Not Used
Jamie Ashdown
John Utaka

Join the Vital Pompey Debate

Date:Thursday March 13 2008
Time: 7:59AM


I thought this was a good match and a great win - Birmingham were up for it and played well. You could tell Pompey were tired, yet still managed to score 4 times and win. The way it started I wondered if we were in for another 7-4. I had also half expected us to lose this, so I'm very happy indeed.
13/03/2008 08:55:00
Thankyou for the report. There was no TV coverage in Aus. and the newspaper reports were biased one way or the other so overall they were a waste of time.
13/03/2008 09:21:00
i dont seem to mention the brummies much... they had a bit of the ball, but all in all didnt really cause that many problems, we were not great, 2nd half appauling and as said a better team would have taken us to the cleaners - villa will this weekend if we give the ball away as cheaply, which - again as i say - i have never known us to do as much as we did in the 2nd half... clearly im happy with a win, got to admit i feared a defeat, but the performance, altho very good at times, was also poor at others - but a wins a win :-)
13/03/2008 09:59:00
Didn't make the game, but was lucky enough to watch it on the internet with the sky commentary. Thought we looked very tired as a team, which does not look good as we have another 'crucial game' in two days!

Was dissapointed that the ref did not see Forsell's handball, or the over the ball challenge on Mendes. Should have been a straight red according to the commentators - very obvious, and although James did step to the left before the free-kick was taken, I think it may have beaten him anyway. Superb into the side netting, so much curl.

Overall I think we did well do come back into the game in the second half, and then did well to hang on. Birmingham didn't actually have that many attempts. We won't be that lucky against Villa though.

Defoe looked hungry and was chasing all night which was great to see, and Baros looked a bit more lively. Should have had a second penalty, would have been soft, but he was tripped. PUP
13/03/2008 10:26:00
poor mendes he seems to be a magnet for bad challenges but im pleased with a 4-2 result,
13/03/2008 10:28:00
It was always going to be a strange game with one quite sure what to expect. A good day for the fans to meet up & enjoy the Wembley fixture. A good win, Villa will be tougher but, who cares really what happens. A great to win, even better not to have any bad injuiries or red cards. The focus has to be the cup & getting some players fighting for a squad place.
13/03/2008 10:52:00
Matt, I'm not sure that we don't care about the league any more - yes the cup looks by far the best bet for the UEFA cup place, (and apart from that its the FA CUP!!!!) but we still need to finish as high as possible, I'd like top 6.
13/03/2008 12:53:00
i imagine confidence in the squad is very high at the moment, hopefully the cup victory will make our players more motivated. I reckon we will be able to beat villa at the weekend
13/03/2008 13:19:00
I thought Baros looked great, he seems to be filling the Benjani role well - he made 2 goals last night and of course the pen on Saturday - looking super fit too!! nice one Harry.
13/03/2008 15:32:00
intresting game - not least becasu of the...strange...atmosphere. For a sell out game, there was a remarkably large number of empty seats, and other than a few - "phases" of noise, the ground was pretty quiet. (particualy the north upper, which just seemed dead!) From where i was sitting, there was a clear hand ball before brum got there freekick which they scorred from, and the corner from which they scorred from was just plain awful defending. The second half, birmingham seemed to have a lot of the possesion, but could do nothing with it. diop was awfull, and couldnt seem to get a pass right all game. Diara then came on, and was very uncomftable in right medfield, and we really lacked someone who can play there naturally. there was a slight imporvement when lauren came on - but the people round me all seemed to thin (i agree) that utaka would have been a better sollution. However, what made the game more weird was the las 10 minutes - everyone got up to leave (well, not everyone...). About 20 minutes later, i found out why. The trains ran every hour - at almost exactly the same time as the game finished. and so i ended up waiting 50 minutes for a 4 coach train - which to put it bluntly was just ridiculas. (considering the vast number of people in a similer situation) butat the end of the day, it was a pretty awfull performance from the midfielders (and defenders) - but we still came out on top, and 4 (6) goals at fratton park is great for this season!
13/03/2008 17:12:00
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