Vital Football

Fulham 1-1 Pompey

Fulham
1 - 1
Pompey

Craven Cottage

Saturday 31-03-07, 3pm

Attendance: 22806

Referee:

Pompey made a short journey to London to face Fulham at Craven Cottage today. To keep our UEFA Cup hopes alive we had to win. For so long that was looking likely but an injury time Fulham equaliser saw the game end in a 1-1 draw.

It had been suspected that maybe Niko Kranjcar would have to settle for a place on the bench after his exploits with Croatia but he retained his place despite Sean Davis returning, Arnold Mvuemba made way. The other change from the Reading match saw Lauren return from his injury lay off in place of Glen Johnson. Svetoslav Todorov earned a place on the bench.

Niko Kranjcar's early strike after only 4 minutes, a sweetly struck 20-yard curling effort looked to have given us the points but it wasn't the case as Ian Pearce grabbed a late, late deflected equaliser.

First Half
With the match barely three minutes old the first meaningful attack and effort saw Pompey ahead. Niko Kranjcar's 20-yard curling effort beat former Southampton keeper Antti Niemi into the top corner, laving him rooted to the spot to send the travelling fans into a frenzy. Pompey kept pushing on and minutes later Gary O'Neil's effort, from similar range as Kranjcar's narrowly missed Niemi's goal as Pompey looked to double the advantage.

As you would expect Fulham upped their game and pushed on more, looking dangerous down the flanks but the danger was being repelled, usually by Sol Campbell. When Fulham did get a chance on goal though through Tomasz Radzinski David James was equal to the task as he tipped his 20-yarder over the bar for a corner, which was then cleared.

After being denied by the post with his stunning 30-yard strike against Reading a couple of weeks ago Richard Hughes was looking threatening again, this time his long ranged strike failed to trouble neither the goals frame or Niemi as he gathered comfortably before James had to be alert again to turn Michael Brown's (a former Pompey loanee) 25-yarder round the post again.

Half chances came and went for both sides in the later stages of the first half, the best of which fell to Franck Queudrue. His 25-yard drive, after we had gifted him the ball, had to again be dealt with brilliantly by the former England international who turned an effort around the post once again.

Second Half
The first quarter of an hour of the second half passed with little threat from Pompey but the same could be said about Fulham, although they did force James into a save, albeit it a comfortable one through Brian McBride. James then made a howler, luckily getting away with it before former Pompey loanee Alexei Smertin brought the best out of him again.

On the hour, a time almost compulsory with tactical changes Harry Redknapp made his first of the day. Kranjcar, after a busy week of international football and his first Pompey goal was taken off with Matty Taylor coming on.

Time was passing by and despite coming under some pressure we weren't being subjected to too many efforts on goal. Vincenzo Montella having the best of the next few chances that Fulham did have, but he failed to trouble James or indeed the target.

As the final ten minutes dawned along came an emotional moment and a moment I feared I would never see again, the sight of Svetoslav Todorov in a Pompey shirt. The Bulgarian only returned from international duty on Friday so wasn't expected to feature but came on in place of Kanu to a hero's reception and he almost scored immediately! Only Niemi's legs denied him a dramatic and instant goalscoring return.

Arnold Mvuemba became the third Pompey player to come on, coming on for Benjani before Todorov was again brilliantly denied by Niemi, this time the Finn turned his strike around the post as Pompey looked the most likely side to score again.

As we moved into the second minute of injury Ian Pearce, who had been struggling for the final twenty minutes with an injury struck a 20-yard effort, wickedly deflected in beyond James to deny us a valuable three points.

Match Summary
Nothing much to say apart from gutted!

Niko Kranjcar's sweet curling effort looked like it was winning us the match. Fulham had chances but we were equal to most. But for a wickedly deflected effort we would have won.

The importance of victories over both United and Watford over Easter has just grown.

PLAY UP POMPEY!

Goals
Fulham 1 - Ian Pearce 90
Pompey 1 - Niko Kranjcar 4

David James
Sol Campbell
Linvoy Primus
Lauren
Dejan Stefanovic
Sean Davis
Gary O'Neil
Niko Kranjcar (Matty Taylor 61)
Richard Hughes
Kanu (Svetoslav Todorov 80)
Benjani (Arnold Mvuemba 83)


Substitutes Not Used
Jamie Ashdown
Lomana LuaLua


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Writer:pompeyrug
Date:Saturday March 31 2007
Time: 6:11PM

Comments

0
just got back from Fulham and gutted at the points lost, we have seen it before that lack of attention and sitting back right up to the point where the ref blows the final whistle has again let down what was otherwise a good performance, it seems that corner to turn is still a little way off
russellm
31/03/2007 18:22:00
0
i have to say that for once Harry got the away day tactics right and he is entitled to feel a little let down
russellm
31/03/2007 18:23:00
0
Fckin' gutted.
storagematt
31/03/2007 23:47:00
0
I feel your pain storagematt... God damn Fulham, will the four points they've nicked off us this season cost us a European place? Granted they had enough of the game to warrant a point today maybe but not in such a way as they got it... Fckin' gutted indeed...
pompeyrug
01/04/2007 01:36:00
0
jammy gits, Pearce was walking on one leg as well
paultsmouth
01/04/2007 09:04:00
0
Got to say though that Toddy and Niko were class - Niko's goal showed exactly why he should be playing up front and not tucked in at midfield, Kanu is passed it, dated and a waste of time now, he needs to be moving on - our supposed "quality" strikers cannot score in a brothel any more, just seven league goals between them in five months is simply not good enough for Sunday football let alone Premiership!
TruePompeyBlue
01/04/2007 09:57:00
0
What a bunch of complete t*ssers. I have been going to football matches for over 40 years and I have NEVER been so fed-up with Pompey. I would rather be in the Championship with a chance of some excitement in where you finish (play offs)(even the chance of relegtion is better than this stuff), a proper fixture list where you play a match or two every week (not once or twice a month), where expectations are realistic and a player from Orient or Weymouth may just be the new whoever. I will regret writing this in the near future, I know, but for now this is exactly what I think.
Et_tu_Pompeii
01/04/2007 11:14:00
0
A bit steep Et_tu_Pompeii but I understand your frustration. All in all, I didn't think we competed too badly yesterday, our only biggest problem is our consistent lack of goals. As the commentator said on MOTD, Toddy had more action in his first five minutes than Kanu did all the time he was on the pitch, say it all really. Kanu has got to be dropped and Toddy given his place instead Harry!!
TruePompeyBlue
01/04/2007 14:02:00
0
was delighted when they eqaulised :D
EvertonMike
01/04/2007 16:05:00
0
Kanu not being backed on the vote either
VitalPompeyAdmin
01/04/2007 17:25:00
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