Date:Monday May 18 2009
Pompey bowed out of Premiership home games with a welcome win, it was also a win from behind and played with verve, especially second half after Traore and Kaboul's introduction.
Paul Hart raised a few eyebrows with a 4-3-3 formation, but it was a switch at half-time to 4-4-2 that got Pompey playing the kind of football we know they can.
Most satisfying on the night will be the face that after going behind, Pompey fought back when our safety was already assured, that and the re-appearance of John Utaka as player to fear again after a gap of 18 months, shame there is only one game to go!
The first half was started at a fair tempo, Pompey almost took the lead after only 5 minutes, Johnson's cross found Crouch and his first header was blocked, and the follow up lacked the power to make the net and was scrambled away.
The game went a bit cat and mouse after that, Sunderland knew a point was enough for them and seemed content to just not lose, while Pompey found it hard to force the issue.
The mackems came closest though when some shocking defending by Mullins allowed a cross to find Jones who beat debutant Begovic with a header but found a post instead, the ball then managed to roll across an empty net and then somehow curl out, lucky old Pompey!
Second half and Traore replaced Kanu and Kaboul switched with the injured Hughes, Traore looked like he had earlier in the season, full of purpose and pace, his first cross found Crouch, but he couldn't keep his header down. Pompey were playing with intent now, but Sunderland broke against play and Davenport picked out Jones to prod home, it could of been the usual story of a team with nothing to play for capitulating, but Pompey were playing a different game.
Almost straight away a Begovic punt found Utaka, Davenport was holding him back, but with ref Wiley seeming to blow for a spot kick, Utaka blasted home his first goal in a year and the ref played a belated advantage.
Less than ten minutes later and Anton Ferdinand copied brother Rio with a Fratton park howler, he missed a straight forward clearance and Utaka was in a again, he rounded Felipe Fulop in the goal, but was denied by Bardsley's challenge, but the ball still found the net and Bardsley had an unwanted OG to his name.
Sunderland tried to press, but Jones was twice denied by Begovic, all this allowed Pompey to break once more and Traore got the goal his season deserved, firing low past Fulop.
With 5 minutes to go Pompey fans goe what they craved, the sight of Linvoy Primus' bobbing dreadlocks in a blue shirt once more, he may of been only on for a short while but didn't put a foot wrong as every touched was cheered like a cup final winner, rarely has been one man so adored by the Fratton faithful, it truly was a show of love for a great servant when football has gone mercenary.
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Date:Monday May 18 2009
|14. Dag & Red||33||10||11||12||-2||41|
|18. Bristol Rovers||33||9||12||12||-2||39|
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