Vital Football

Pompey 1-1 Fulham

1 - 1


Sun 26-10-08, 5pm

Attendance: 19223


Late Dempsey Strike Rescues Point For Fulham

Fulham came away from Fratton Park with a point this evening, after a late Clint Dempsey goal cancelled out Crouch's earlier placed shot.

Enough has been said about the recent day's events, so this is a report of matters on the field, not off the field. Tony Adams and Joe Jordan made four changes to the team that were beaten 3-0 in Braga on Thursday. Diarra recovered from an injury, and was restored to the first team along with Richard Hughes, Nadir Belhadj and Younes Kaboul, who replaced Glen Little, Hermann Hreidarsson, the injured Sol Campbell and the suspended Sean Davis. Glen Johnson failed to overcome the injury that kept him out of the UEFA cup defeat, but Niko Kranjcar made the bench after recovering from a long-term injury. Fulham made no changes to the team that played out a 0-0 with Sunderland last weekend.

Despite being inferior opponents on paper, Fulham won this encounter last year, at the same time as securing their future in the Premier League. In Jimmy Bullard, Fulham had a tricky midfielder, and he certainly showed this as he almost scored within the first minute with a long range free kick that brushed past the post.

Portsmouth then took the game to Fulham, with Younes Kaboul almost scoring from a Diarra corner, only for Papa Bouba Diop to block his half-volley on the line. Pompey kept pressing forward, but Jermain Defoe was left frustrated by the Fulham defence, who caught him offside at nearly every attempt. Any break from Portsmouth was going to come from down the left, where Traore and Belhadj were keeping Pantsil and Murphy busy.

Belhadj almost put Portsmouth in front on the half hour. The Algerian's mazy run took him the length of half the pitch, but his final chip was just blocked by the oncoming Schwarzer. It was an amazing effort, and brought the Fratton crowd to the feet.

The home side continued to push forward, and Schwarzer had to get down well to save a long range effort from Richard Hughes, and he also saved from point blank range after Crouch managed to get on the end of a low cross.

Fulham were resorting to the long ball, with Kaboul and Distin easily dealing with anything the visitors had to offer. They did have the ball in the net before the break, but the linesman ruled Andy Johnson's effort to be offside.

The second half started brightly for Portsmouth, who seemed to push forward at every opportunity. Defoe and Traore repeatedly broke through the back line, but the final ball was constantly poor. In a similar fashion to the Stoke game, Defoe was allowed space to shoot from outside of the area, but he failed to make it count.

Defoe shaped to shoot from yet another Portsmouth breakaway, but instead he chose to lay the ball off to Crouch, who nicely placed the ball past Schwarzer to give Portsmouth the lead.

Portsmouth kept the momentum going, and Belhadj ran tricked his way into a shooting opportunity, only to see his effort crash back off of the post. Unfortunately for Portsmouth, Diarra and Traore picked up injuries late in the game, and were subsequently replaced by Mvuemba and Kranjcar. Niko looked like he had definitely filled out, and he certainly proved that he shouldn't be used in left midfield, as Fulham doubled up on Belhadj, leaving Erik Nevland free to cross for Clint Dempsey to convert.

Portsmouth were shocked, but with the crowd behind them, pushed forward for a late, late winner. Defoe managed to get free in the box, and laid it off to Kranjcar, who completely missed the ball, although Portsmouth may have a right to feel aggrieved, as it seemed that he may have been pushed. From Portsmouth's last attack of the game, Defoe was free again, and Niko Kranjcar this time made contact with the ball, only to hook it wide when he could have taken an extra touch.

Fulham will definitely be the happier of the two teams, as Portsmouth were on top for most of the game, and should have taken their chances to put the game away before Fulham pulled a goal back.

Star Player

Younes Kaboul.

He didn't put a foot wrong all game, and kept Andy Johnson quiet. He kept the ball down, played it easy and made some key tackles.

Nadir Belhadj was equally as impressive, but sometimes he ran too much instead of paying it earlier, but he definitely showed that he will cause Liverpool's defence problems on Wednesday. Kranjcar showed some nice touches, but didn't finish when he had the chances. If he is to get back into the first team, I wouldn't suggest that it be on the left side of midfield, as he didn't get back enough, and took it inside instead of running down the wing. He may well have a key part to play in the future, but hopefully it is down the middle or along the right.

Next up for Pompey is Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday. Next at Fratton is Wigan next Saturday.


Join the Vital Pompey Debate

Date:Sunday October 26 2008
Time: 7:51PM


Should've won, but didn't, Belhadj had a blinder, another goal and that would have done it, sucker punch at the end
26/10/2008 20:36:00
We played quite well but this was Fulham & not Arsenal we were up against. We should have won well before they scored. When Diarra went off we lost our attacking tactic & defended poorly. Not sure taking Traore off & putting Niko on worked either. So the record of when we score first & win has gone. We never used to lose games late on.
26/10/2008 21:42:00
Robbed at the end. I forgot the clocks had gone back in the UK, so had to wait until gone midnight to watch the game, but watch it I did. I thought the fans were brilliant last night after the events of the previous 24 hours, and they should be proud of themselves. Have to disagree with StorageMatt on Krunchie though. He showed some nice touches when he came on, and was floating from wing to wing. I think that we might see some good football from him before January. Belhadj was brilliant, reallt wish that he had scored after that fantastic run. Defoe played well as did Diarra. Distin and Kaboul played well together, but disapointed with Pamarot. It shows we were missing Johnson on the right. Any ways. Unlucky at the end, but should have sewn things up a lot earlier.....PUP
27/10/2008 03:47:00
agree with harrisman except the Kranjcar bit .. float from wing to wing he hardly moved and the sooner he goes the better.. Kaboul had his best game for Pompey to date and Diarra although effective didn't look 100% fit.. Traore looked (at times) very tired.. Defoe & Crouch looked up for it but (as always) lack service. Should've wrapped it up though and I think it's two points lost...BUT at least we didn't lose... The atmosphere inside the ground was one of the strangest I've ever experienced...
27/10/2008 07:50:00
oh no.......a sucker punch.....dont you just hate it when that happens ???
27/10/2008 08:12:00
I thoroughly enjoyed the game and, yes, we should have been out of sight long before they equalised. I thought we tired before the end and those that came on were hardly match fit. If we can repeat the showing on Wednesday, I'm optimistic.
27/10/2008 08:17:00
hear, hear tony - i echo those thoughts!
27/10/2008 08:43:00
Chix i honestly don't know what you have against Kranjcar and i don't understand how you so called Pompey fans can wish that your best player leave as soon as possible. You seem to forget that he has the most assists in pompey team 5 last season, he is the only Pompey player to score from Freekick and he got 4 goals last season i even think that he managed to collect two or three penalty kicks plus he created a lot of chances. He even showed that against Fulham in 10 minutes of play after being two months out after ankle surgery. After that kind of statement you have no right to judge Harry Redknapp or now Kranjcar, Diarra, Defoe... that they wont to leave you i just now hope that they leave you ungrateful fans :(
27/10/2008 10:24:00
I was driven mad by Westwood whose new little "circus booth" type arrangement on the Milton end put him nearer to me than he was before (so I admit I am being utterly selfish about this...but never appreciated the noise anyway). If we are going to see allowing his noise as some sort of therapy for the man in which we all need to participate, surely someone can sub him some cash for bugle lessons. That noise he makes is so crap it's embarrassing. The fact that there was such a loud cheer any time his band shut up for a few seconds suggests that others would prefer a rest as well. How about we give him 30 minutes of noise making time per match? I can foresee a time when the bugle will disappear and will need a good proctologist to recover it.
27/10/2008 19:40:00
...and I thought Belhadj was storming. Hope some of Harry's 5m will be spent securing him.
27/10/2008 19:41:00
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