West Ham 0-1 Pompey
Tues 08-04-08, 7.45pm
Now that the FA cup final spot has been secured our second visit to London in less than a week saw the league bid for a 5th place finish return as the gaffer returned to his old stomping ground. Could we raise our game and claim the points or would we disappoint? Well we did not disappoint, nor did we fail to get the 3 points as we got a 1-0 win.
There was only 3 changes from the semi final side, Lassana Diarra, Milan Baros and Kanu dropped out, the latter to the bench as Pedro Mendes, Arnold Mvuemba and Dave Nugent came in.
Another win was secured thanks for a Niko Kranjcar goal in the second half to leave us still in the hunt for that 5th place.
A nice open game was seeing Luis Boa Morte looking dangerous for the Hammers early on, having one shot and another ball across the box was very tempting but luckily no one got on the end of it.
West Ham should have taken the lead when a mistake at the back let Bobby Zamora in, he rounded David James but missed the chance.
West Ham were having the possession but we almost went ahead through Dave Nugent who just missed the target with a good effort that found the side netting - the travelling Pompey fans thought it was in…
After coming under a little pressure of our own we then put the Hammers under some with Niko Kranjcar sending an effort wide then Pedro Mendes tried his luck with an effort that Rob Green spilled but fortunately for him this did not quite fall to Nugent who was lurking.
The more the half went on the more Kranjcar got into it and a move involving him and Sulley Muntari ended with a run forward from Muntari and a shot, unfortunately this effort did not trouble the keeper at all.
As the half drew to an end Dean Ashton almost gave the Hammers the lead when he unleashed a piledriver. Thankfully James was alert and he turned it away for a corner. As a result of this corner they eventually won a free kick on the edge of the area that Nolberto Solano hit, with this being deflected behind for a corner.
The Hammers stated the 2nd half brightly and won a corner in the opening minute of the half but we managed to defend this - with Kranjcar having our first chance of the half in about the 10th minute of it. A good ball in by Nugent was put over the bar by the Croatian then Glen Johnson had a crack shortly after but did not test Green.
The pressure that we had been putting the home side under was growing and on the hour we were ahead. The goal had been coming and when it did it was a beauty from Kranjcar, a fine drive from 25-yards.
With just under 20 minutes to play Harry Redknapp made his first change of the night, to a well deserved applause and pat on the back from his manager Nugent made way for Kanu.
We seemed to be in control but the Hammers did have a little spell as the game moved into the final 15 minutes to remind us the game was not won and a heart in mouth moment came about when James came racing out but we escaped.
Richard Hughes came on for Mendes for the final 10 minutes and despite some West Ham pressure late on we managed to see it through to pick up another away win.
It was a decent game, when we stepped it up that little more in the 2nd half we looked in control for the most part of it. It was a good professional performance with plenty of players putting in a good shift.
The win takes us past our points total for last season and puts us back to within 4 points of Everton, so who says 5th place is out of reach…
PLAY UP POMPEY!
West Ham 0
Pompey 1 - Niko Kranjcar 61
Papa Bouba Diop
Pedro Mendes (Richard Hughes 82)
Dave Nugent (Kanu 73)
Substitutes Not Used
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