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Pompey 2 - Wigan 0

Fratton

Sat 29-03-08, 3pm

Attendance: 18623

Pompey 2-0 Wigan

Clearly a little more than 1 eye was on Wembley next week but we still had an important league game with Wigan today, and a game that I for one desperately wanted us to win - and win we did 2-0.

Suspensions meant some still missed out but injuries were not really a problem although an injury did rule out Lucien Aubey who dropped out to be replaced be the returning Sol Campbell, but Hermann Hreidarsson was passed fit so reverted back to left back. Richard Hughes and Kanu dropped out - Hughes to the bench - as Milan Baros and Jermain Defoe returned to lead the line.

Jermain Defoe set his record, in between his first and his second - deep into injury time - David James saved a penalty and made a couple of crucial saves.

The Match
Wigan made a bright start but we had the first chance of the afternoon - Chris Kirkland was forced to turn Hermann Hreidarsson's effort round the post for a corner.

Jermain Defoe had his first chance to set the goalscoring record of goals in the opening home Pompey games but he blazed over, immediately after Wigan broke and Emile Heskey picked out Antonio Valencia who seemed certain to score but Glen Johnson got back to clear of the line via the bar then his follow up was deflected wide.

The game had been fairly even, if not spectacular when good and positive play from John Utaka - the kind of play that you want to se from him, and the kind we know he is capable of - saw him cause problems and his run created the opening goal of the game. Eventually the ball fell to Defoe and the predator turned the ball home from a tight angle to become a Pompey record holder, scoring in his 5th successive home game at the start of his Pompey career.

This goal, and the part he played seemed to rejuvenate Utaka who then played a part in a chance that we had right after when Niko Kranjcar was denied by a fantastic save from Kirkland from 30 yards.

Not the greatest half ever, but at least we were ahead, which was the main thing. After a fairly even half until we scored we then looked more in control after that so you expected more in the 2nd half.

Wigan started the 2nd half very brightly, immediately going on the offensive with David James forced into a save from Paul Scharner.

A chance came and went for Milan Baros, probably his final decision making let him down, then an inspired Utaka today went on a fantastic run after a good Pompey move but sadly his effort went into the side netting, but it would have been a typical Utaka goal.

Something that we did not want to see at all happened on the hour mark, Hreidarsson picked up an injury that forced him off - down to 10 men incredibly Alan Wiley awarded a penalty for what he somehow saw as a foul on Valencia. Up stepped Ryan Taylor but as he has so many times this season James made the fantastic save low down to keep it out and got up do enough to put off Taylor who blazed the rebound over… eventually Lauren came on.

With the semi final in mind Baros was removed as Dave Nugent made his Pompey return for the final 25 minutes of the game. The final change - a few minutes later - saw the impressive Utaka taken off, in what appeared a precautionary measure with Richard Hughes coming on.

As Wigan enjoyed a good spell of possession James came to our rescue as he managed to deny Heskey when played through. As the game went on we remained fairly comfortable but did require another fantastic save from James to deny Antoine Sibierski.

The game flowed from end to end for the final 10 minutes as Wigan threw everyone on and as was something you thought would happen, with virtually the final play of the game Defoe was put through to secure the win in the last of 4 minutes of injury time.

Match Summary
I think it was quite obvious that the FA cup was playing on the minds of some but they put in a good shift to be fair and we got the job done, credit to Wigan who came and had a go they must have had at least 4 strikers on the pitch at the end. You cannot help but think that if we had stepped it up though we could have scored 3 or 4, but then again if it was not for David James we might not have even won.

It was a real shame to see Hermann Hreidarsson go off, but hopefully he can be fit, it was also a disappointment to see John Utaka also have to go off, but I think his was more precautionary than anything. Again you are left wishing that Jermain Defoe was not cup tied, but at least he got his record, which I had no doubt he would.

We know what time it is now fellas… Wembley, Wembley we're the boys - and girls - from Portsmouth and we're off to Wembley!

PLAY UP POMPEY!

Goals
Pompey 2 - Jermain Defoe 31, 90
Wigan 0

David James
Glen Johnson
Sol Campbell
Sylvain Distin
Hermann Hreidarsson (Lauren 63)
John Utaka (Richard Hughes 71)
Sean Davis
Pedro Mendes
Niko Kranjcar
Milan Baros (Dave Nugent 67)
Jermain Defoe


Substitutes Not Used
Jamie Ashdown
Arnold Mvuemba


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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday March 29 2008

Time: 5:37PM

Your Comments

Thought you might have let us have this one...good luck in your cup games
worbo
Cheers Pompey. Didn't want Wigan gaining anything on us ahead of our trip to Chelsea tomorrow. Good luck next weekend.
Boro 01
well i predicted 2-0 or 2-1 and spot on there, could have gone differently but am i glad i switched adebayor for defoe in my telegraph fantasy football team ... too right i am!!! west brom had a very strange game ... were 2-3 down and scored twice in teh final minutes to win 4-3 .... we need to VERY careful of their attacking options! i hope hermann is ok, we need all we got at the back for saturday, im sure the big lad will be fine!
pompey--pessimist
Defoe was the difference. Utaka put in a shift today, played well, amazing what a bit of effort can do, think 'arry must have told him in no uncertain terms to get a move on. Nugent looked very good when he came on, hang on, make that very,very good. Could he force his way into 'arry's plans for next week?
pompey4me
Anyone heard how bad Herman is? all I saw was him punching the ground in anger after the challenge.
pompey4me
Must put in a word for Sean Davis; back to his best. And I thought it was definite penalty. Awesome Jamo, though. Poor crowd didn't stop the Wembley warm up atmosphere.
UKTony
How much do you guys like Defoe....
Real Deal
All those people moaning they didn't get a ticket, were they there today? Also Herm has a cut achilles, no ligament damage, but it depends how deep his cut is.
paultsmouth
A good day for us, on the whole. Fingers crossed for Herman, obviously, but good to see Defoe get a brace. I also hear that Franck Songo'o had another great day for Wednesday and scored a belter of a goal as well. Looking forward to seeing him break into the first team next year.
PhilTaglia
if songo'o can make it, then thats 4 years well worth it. and now we are pushing for europe via the league, we have no excuses! istanbul 2009 anyone?
jbaker
HH should be ok according to the offical website. WNo doubt we will have hour by hour updates each day. Getting excited & a bit scared. So much to gain if we win & absolutely shattered if we don't. But we will win, I hope. No more cup shocks please.
storagematt
I'm more concerned about Diarra returning.
stillthewhizz
Sean Davis was brilliant and should keep his place in the team. I thought Heskey played a similarly disruptive role and was very effective as well. I wouldn't mind seeing us bid for him in the summer
Pompeyscum
Davis for me was immense and our best player by far, although JD was the difference he tucks them away for fun and those of you that scoffed when I said he'll beat Benjani's 12 are not too vocal now ;). Great saves by Jamo and as P4me says Utaka was a lot liviler than normal.. where are we next week ????.... Oh yeah WEMBLEY !!
Chix
I told you pre season we neede a striker like Defoe, and was called "Defeoist", he is pure class and will be such a difference to our campaign next year. I agree about Heskey, he did very well and would be worth a punt next year on that form. Davis did put in a good shift as did Pedro, but alas, Muntari, Dip and Diarra will be in central midfield, with Utaka and Nico out wide.
Owenspompey
I think I must have been watching a different game - I thought that our midfield were dominated by Wigan, they created far more chances than we did and had it not been for the player at either end for us (James and Defoe) the scoreline would have been completely different.

Utaka did run a bit but still not enough for a player of his skill. We should not praise him for such little effort. Yes he did create the first goal, but only after a number of lucky touches and bounces.
I am now very worried that if we play like that next week WBA will beat us. They have great striking options in Phillips and Miller, and they may well leak goals, but we need to create more chances.
sneakay
Dominated, never, it was a good competitive battle, but i dont think we lost it. Pedroo and Sean gave a good account otf themselves, and Wigans best method was to launch it to Heskey, King and Bent. Phillips is no Heskey and Distin is a little bit quicker than him surely and Miller although fast should be picked up by Glen or Hermann
Owenspompey
i go away for 1 week, and we looe to totenham, and seemingly from the highlihts, we are struggling to beat wigan?!?!? can i not trust you guys with ANYTHING? on more serious matters, from the 2 minute highlights MoTD showed, we were pretty awfull
pompeycarpet
It wasnt a great performance but when a player like defoe is in the side you can win any game. I think we would have played better if wembley wasnt coming up, and many of our team were away at internationals in the week so they were a bit tired.
pompeysno.9
It wasnt great mate, but we did enough, the players were miles up the A3 and i dont blame them. They know how much this means to us, but if we play badly and win that will do for me, just look at Chelsea on Sunday they were hardly a class act, but they got the three points, job done.
Owenspompey
 

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