Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday January 31 2009
Two goals from substitute Erik Nevland, following on from an opening goal from Andrew Johnson, were enough to give Fulham all three points against a Portsmouth side who committed defensive suicide.
Fulham went into the match as the second lowest scorers in the Premier League with only Middlesbrough having scored fewer, therefore the three goals are most welcome.
As predicted, Roy Hodgson selected the same side that had started the last two away games (both of which we lost) for the challenge Pompey were to present, indeed, after those two away defeats, Fulham were looking to improve on an unbeaten Premier League run of seven home games.
At a crisp Craven Cottage, it was the visitors that started better with Davis, in midfield, looking to prompt them. Thankfully, Danny Murphy rose to the challenge and started to match the endeavour shown by his opponent, but for the first stages of the game it was a midfield battle with no real chances being created.
That was all to change in the 14th minute when a Pompey defensive howler presented Andrew Johnson with a great chance. The Pompey defence played the offside trap; well everyone but Distin, and Andrew Johnson couldn`t believe his luck as he scored, although James did get a hand to it, his eighth goal of the season.
It was hardly the sort of defending Tony Adams was famous for in his Arsenal hey-day!
Pompey went in search of an equaliser and Mullins looked like he was about to score until an impressive challenge form Brede Hangeland rescued Fulham. Distin, obviously not shamed enough by his offside gaff, then made another error but this time Andrew Johnson was foiled by James.
As the half approached its finish Schwarzer was forced to tip over the bar a Davis shot before Kaboul headed against the bar when it looked easier to score.
Half time and all was well.
The second half saw Pompey pressing for the equaliser and John Pantsil was lucky not to be penalised for a challenge, in the box, on Nugent that many, except the referee, thought was a penalty.
Like the first half much of the action was taking place in midfield before the visitors then, somehow, managed to create another offside gaff which gave Erik Nevland, on as a substitute for Bobby Zamora, the perfect opportunity to double the lead with seventy-one minutes gone.
Fulham were now in control and in the eightieth minute Nevland was to get his second of the game when he turned and shpt home at the near post. At 3-0 the game was all over although the enterprising Nugent did manage to pull a goal back in the eighty-fourth minute when he headed home a Pennant cross.
The three points were Fulham`s but I`d love to have been a fly on the Pompey dressing room wall to hear what Tony Adams had to say to his players!
Date:Saturday January 31 2009
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