Pompey 2-1 Plymouth
Sat 26-01-08, 3pm
The FA cup 3rd round saw us dispatch Ipswich, the 4th round saw fellow Championship side Plymouth the visitors to Fratton and we knew that victory would take us a step closer to the Wembley dream... and that dream became a reality with a narrow 2-1 victory.
It was an unchanged side from that which had beaten Derby a week earlier to secure our first home win in several months, but Sean Davis was fit to return to the bench.
After falling behind to an early Chris Clark goal we battled back and goals from Lassana Diarra and Niko Kranjcar saw us scrap into round 5.
Plymouth made a dream start as after only 5 minutes Chris Clark struck the travelling side ahead to stun Fratton Park.
This lead was almost doubled twice in the moments that followed, and in quick succession at that, firstly David James saved from Rory Fallon, tipping this effort around the post and then from the resulting corner he saved Jermaine Easter's effort.
Plymouth were most definitely having the better of the game and although they could not make the breakthrough with a second goal they were threatening as news filtered through to me via text message from jbaker that Havant and Waterloovile were leading Liverpool at Anfield!
With a little over 10 minutes to play before the break we managed to find an equaliser. Lassana Diarra striking home after a corner, with the help of what looked like a defection off a Plymouth leg - nevertheless we were level.
Still Plymouth pressed, but after Dave Nugent had tested Luke McCormack we were able to take the lead on the stroke of half time when Niko Kranjcar was able to weave some magic in the box to calmly slot home from 6 years.
Half time not only brought news that Havant had twice seen a lead pegged back at Anfield so the score stood at 2-2 but also saw Nugent taken off with Arnold Mvuemba coming on in his place - later diagnosed as an injury.
Plymouth continued to push in the 2nd half and James had to save from Peter Halmosi and Easter, tipping his effort round the post.
Benjani went close just before our second change of the day was made with Lauren taken off, this enabled Sean Davis to return - who was said in the post match phone-ins to have 'taken an extra long' victory lap around Fratton Park, with the suggestion being this could have been him saying 'goodbye'...
The away side refused to give up and we survived a late penalty appeal against Sylvain Distin when he appeared to handle - having only seen it the once at the time I said 'I had seen them given' but was not sure, I have since been told that several others thought it was.
An even later effort from Halmosi went wide before the final Pompey change was made in injury time when Pedro Mendes made way for Richard Hughes.
We were not great, but Plymouth were excellent with their travelling support equally as good - if not better, and they probably deserved at least a draw from this game, but the main thing is that we are into the next round - this is what the record books will show.
There were no real stand out players for us although Lassana Diarra did look the business again, and obviously David James made a string of fine saves to not only keep us in the game, but to then preserve our lead.
On a personal note myself, plymouth graham, my brother and Richie sadly not Geoff - as he could not make this trip - were able to meet several of you from Vital Pompey and a good time was had by all at the Brewers I can safely say.
However I think that eastneydave and myself found out that we probably would not want to be season ticket holders in our seats in the North Upper that we took up for this game - I will not mention what seat numbers we were in though as that is not fair...
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Pompey 2 - Lassana Diarra 34, Niko Kranjcar 45
Plymouth 1 - Chris Clark 5
Lauren (Sean Davis 67)
Pedro Mendes (Richard Hughes 90)
Dave Nugent (Arnold Mvuemba 45)
Substitutes Not Used
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