Newcastle 1-4 Pompey
Sat 03-11-07, 3pm
After the league cup exit it was back to league action as Pompey looked to build on wins over Blackburn, Fulham and Wigan on the road as we made the long journey to Tyneside to face the barcodes of Newcastle.
Sulley Muntari was fit to return and replaced Pedro Mendes - who dropped to the bench - this being the only change from the league cup defeat. Somewhat surprisingly Noe Pamarot retained his place at left back as Matty Taylor stayed on the bench. David Nugent dropped out of the squad altogether.
Who said we do not travel well to Tyneside, goals from Noe Pamarot - a screamer, Benjani, John Utaka and Niko Kranjcar, with an unfortunate own goal from Sol Campbell - with us already 3-0 up at the time - saw us win a 4th away league game on the trot.
A slow start then saw the game burst into life as David James was tested, with him passing this test with flying colours. A good build up eventually saw Alan Smith with the effort that was turned away by James brilliantly.
The Newcastle corner, from this save Pompey broke away and had John Utaka looked up a great chance would not have been missed...
The first Pompey chance saw Benjani's effort deflected wide for a corner, from this corner Noe Pamarot - who I was surprised to see start to be honest - scored the best goal he is ever likely to score as he smashed into the net from 25 yards on 7 minutes, what a great goal!
1-0, soon became 2-0 as Benjani used his pace and power to out muscle Claudio Cacapa and finish fantastically from the edge of the area for his 8th goal of the season 2 minutes later, not content with that on 11 minutes Utaka got through - also out muscling Cacapa - before rounding Steve Harper and slotted home.
15 minutes in and the barcodes had a goal back, Charles N'Zogbia saw a shot blocked then Michael Owen saw his shot saved by James before the ball finally went in off Sol Campbell for an unfortunate own goal.
After Cacapa was removed for his part in two of the goals James was forced into another fine save, denying Steven Taylor. Then again from their corner Pompey broke away to earn a corner of our own, from which Pompey should have had a nailed on penalty as a result of a David Rozehnal handball but nothing was given.
Pompey were on top, soaking up any pressure that was put on - comfortably really - and Sulley Muntari almost added another with a fine strike, which went just wide as we got through to half time at 3-1 up despite some shocking decisions from ref Chris Foy who fell for every trick that was put to him.
Neither side made any changes at half time.
The animal Joey Barton was up to his usual tricks after a quiet 10-15 minutes opening to the 2nd half - James' quick throw out to Niko Kranjcar saw him go on a fine run which was disrupted by a two footed lunge by Barton, who got away with scot-free.
Another call for a Pompey penalty was waved away, with Campbell leading the remonstrations with the ref, but again nothing was given.
James came face to face with his nemesis Owen again, having denied him in the 1st half before the unfortunate own goal James did it again as his shot lacked power, with James again denying Smith soon after, but comfortably - but were not really doing ourselves many favours as we were occasionally giving the ball away too cheaply.
A fantastic move, quick one touch play eventually saw Kranjcar with a header which was saved by Harper - had he scored it would have been a fine team goal, brilliantly worked.
We did not have to wait long though, as 20 minutes from time the 4th was scored, bizarrely from a Kranjcar free kick, floated in which went straight through, via a minimal touch from Steven Taylor although Kranjcar will surely get it?
Kanu came on for Benjani on 75 minutes and immediately showed off his skills, and should have soon scored another for Pompey after a great pass from Kranjcar - he should have done better.
James again showed - as he had a few times during this game alone - why he should be the England no.1 with a point blank range save from Obafemi Martins, before Barton again put in a poor challenge on Kranjcar, which again went unpunished.
We played out the rest of the match with no troubles, with Harry Redknapp making another change on 87 minutes, the brilliant Muntari coming off for Pedro Mendes.
You wait 50 odd years for a win over the barcodes and we get one in style, after only having scored 1 goal in our previous premier league matches at St James' we found 4 today to get the win that I felt my birthday would yield, not quite the 2-1 I predicted though - I have had a great day so far, but this is the best present I could get and will make for a fantastic evening!
The formation that we have favoured this season works like a charm away from home, but to be honest I am still not convinced by this at home, but it would be hard to leave out any of the central midfield trio of Sulley Muntari, Papa Bouba Diop or Sean Davis, with them fantastic again today.
An incredible 4-minute spell early in the game virtually won it, as despite the barcodes having their moments we were comfortable for the most part of this game - we were magnificent today.
Last weekend was a case of 'a touch of realism' - well this theory of mine has been blown out of the water as I am again full of thoughts on what we could do this season and I am getting wildly carried away again with these thoughts...
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Newcastle 1 - Sol Campbell o.g 15
Pompey 4 - Noe Pamarot 7, Benjani 9, John Utaka 11, Niko Kranjcar 70
Papa Bouba Diop
Sulley Muntari (Pedro Mendes 87)
Benjani (Kanu 75)
Substitutes Not Used
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