Birmingham 0-2 Pompey
Sat 24-11-07, 3pm
After the international break the real stuff returned as we travelled to St Andrews looking to maintain our fine form, particularly away from home.
Other than the one enforced change as Kanu had not recovered from injury - Papa Bouba Diop returned after suspension - Pompey were unchanged.
A goal in either half, one from Sulley Muntari - a shot that should never have been allowed to go in, the other from Niko Kranjcar - with a fantastic free kick, saw us to a 2-0 win.
The opening 15 minutes or so were exactly as Pompey would have wanted, Birmingham were kept quiet with no real chances given them, whereas Pompey playing it around nicely with possession kept well.
Niko Kranjcar forced Richard Kingson into the games first save - a 30 yard drive well turned around for a corner.
David James was soon forced into his first save too, getting down to save very well from Mikael Forssell, he then quickly set off a counter attack but despite good skills from Kranjcar nothing came of it.
After 33 minutes following good work from Benjani he passed to Sulley Muntari he shot and Kingson did a 'Scott Carson' and let a routine shot slip beneath him.
Birmingham responded well and put us under pressure, but we held firm, with James saving from Mehdi Nafti.
The 2nd half started brightly for both sides and Pompey could have gone further ahead. John Utaka and Noe Pamarot could not decide between them who was going to shoot, with it eventually being Pamarot, but his shot was saved.
A good Birmingham break saw Olivier Kapo get in but James was quickly out to smoother, once again another quick Pompey break was started as a result but Utaka could not hit the target.
After Benjani was denied by a good save from Kingson, an almost certain goal was denied him as Utaka failed to roll the ball across to him with him waiting unmarked.
Benjani was again denied by Kingson as he followed up Muntari's free kick which had come off the wall, with Kranjcar next denied by Kingson - again from range.
Birmingham were crying out for a penalty when Pamarot challenged Liam Ridgewell who looked odds on to score, but rightly this was not given, as it was a fantastic challenge - following up Forssell was denied by a combination of Sol Campbell and Glen Johnson.
With the final 10 minutes approaching Birmingham were level… or so they thought. Ridgewell put the ball in the net but the goal was ruled out for offside.
With 10 minutes to play Utaka was taken off with Matty Taylor coming on. 1 minute later Pompey were soon 2-0 up when Kranjcar scored a cracking 30 yard free kick, up and over the wall and into the net giving Kingson - let alone any other keeper - any chance.
Johan Djourou headed over the bar and Muntari shot wide from distance as we saw out the time to win again.
We went to Birmingham and got the job done, waited for the moment, bided our time and came away with another 3pts.
Sulley Muntari should never have been allowed to score, but this goal gave us the lead and from that moment in there only looked like being one winner, Niko Kranjcar confirmed this with a cracking free kick.
Next weekend we face Everton - who won 7-1 today - by that time it will be almost 3 months unbeaten in the league and 9 months in total in the league at Fortress Fratton - roll on next week!
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Pompey 2 - Sulley Muntari 33, Niko Kranjcar 81
John Utaka (Matty Taylor 81)
Papa Bouba Diop
Substitutes Not Used
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