Vital Football

Pompey 2-0 Wigan

2 - 0


Sat 29-03-08, 3pm

Attendance: 18623


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!


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

Join the Vital Pompey Debate

Date:Saturday March 29 2008
Time: 5:37PM


Thought you might have let us have this one...good luck in your cup games
29/03/2008 17:41:00
Cheers Pompey. Didn't want Wigan gaining anything on us ahead of our trip to Chelsea tomorrow. Good luck next weekend.
Boro 01
29/03/2008 17:52:00
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!
29/03/2008 18:10:00
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?
29/03/2008 18:18:00
Anyone heard how bad Herman is? all I saw was him punching the ground in anger after the challenge.
29/03/2008 18:19:00
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.
29/03/2008 19:01:00
How much do you guys like Defoe....
Real Deal
29/03/2008 19:12:00
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.
29/03/2008 19:14:00
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.
29/03/2008 19:42:00
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?
29/03/2008 20:08:00
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