Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday April 1 2007
If Fulham are to ensure Premiership survival they`re certainly going about it the hard way!
Without a victory in their last five Premiership games only a, very, late strike from Ian Pearce prevented Portsmouth returning to the south coast with all three points.
Indeed, with those below Fulham all doing well, apart from Watford (thanks Chelsea); it is probably time to start looking nervously over our shoulders. The gap is five points and as the football supporter knows only too well, things can change dramatically over the Easter period where two games in a short space of time can change situations quickly.
Yesterday Fulham, with Montella on the bench, got off to the worst start possible when Portsmouth took only four minutes to score thanks to a good strike from Kranjcar. It was the first goal the Croatian had score din the Premiership but the Portsmouth followers will tell you it was worth waiting for.
Ex-Arsenal striker, Kanu, flicked on a free kick from Primus and Kranjcar fired in an angled right foot shot from twenty yards. Thankfully, the goal sparked Fulham into life and only the superb qualities of the Portsmouth goal keeper kept the away side ahead.
On no fewer than six occasions did James defy Fulham producing outstanding save after outstanding save thwarting Radzinski, Brown, Queudrue, McBride, Smertin and the substitute Montella. The home supporters thought that it was going to be one of those days especially when Collins John managed to round James only to shoot wide.
Thankfully Fulham didn`t give up and salvation was to come in the last minute. Pearce, who was limping after a challenge on Benjani, strode forward and unleashed a shot from approximately eighteen yards that took a deflection off o Primus to leave James stranded. On reflection it was perhaps the only way the ex-England keeper was going to be beaten.
However, perhaps it would be churlish to suggest that all the action came form Fulham. With the home side going for the equaliser Portsmouth could quite easily have scored a second. Todorov, on as a substitute, forced two great saves out of Niemi whilst Matthew Taylor perhaps should have done better when presented with a chance.
Nevertheless, with the gap between Fulham and the relegation pack being five points, the opportunity is there to pull free, unfortunately, on recent form, the trip to Everton on Good Friday looks a daunting affair.
Date:Sunday April 1 2007
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