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 Venue: Fratton Park, Portsmouth Premiership  Sunday 26 September 2004; 4:05pm 
  Half Time: 0-0
  Cahill (80')  
 Attendance: 20,125 (Fixture 7) Referee: Dermot Gallagher

Match Summary


Leon Osman: A slight groin strain sustained at Bristol City sidelines the 23 year-old

With Leon Osman restricted due to a groin strain sustained in the narrow midweek cup win at Bristol, David Moyes has brought Tim Cahill back into the midfield following the completion of his one-match ban for the ridiculous offence of shirt-lifting, but otherwise makes no changes from the side that beat Middlesbrough last Sunday. 

Everton started this one very brightly, penning Portsmouth into their own half for the first five minutes and making a real statement of intent. 

As Everton continued to dominate, Watson got into an excellent position in front of goal for one Gravesen cross but contrived to send the ball fractionally wide when it was easier to score.  Then Portsmouth ran up the other end and a fearsome long-range pot-shot from Quashie smacked off the face of the Everton post with Martyn well beaten... what a let-off!

The rest of the half was more even, with Everton playing competently but not outstandingly well.  Sadly, Hibbert's distributional skills had recovered from the early-season blip when his passes actually found a teammate... maybe the blue Portsmouth shirts were causing him some confusion!

Near the end, Stubbs had a bad clash of heads with the narky Yakubu but came off decidedly worse, needing five mins of firm bandaging on the sidelines.  He failed to appear after the break, with Yobo getting what must have seemed like a very welcome opportunity to stretch his legs.

The second half was a total role-reversal, with Portsmouth this time chomping at the bit, snapping for every ball, pushing Everton back.  The chances came but they were not that clear-cut; Yobo and Weir combined well to trouble mostly away from Nigel Martyn's goal.  

Ferguson came on fro Watson before the hour and it was Everton: 4-4-2 and the Days of Walter Smith as many balls seemed to be hoofed down the middle, but at least Dunc was getting to most of them, and some of his layoffs actually went in Bent's direction.  He had a couple of pokes, but just didn't seem to be his normal sharp-shooting self.

Another vibrant Portsmouth attack was about to build with Kamara and Lua Lua breaking fast when the ref decided that Hibbert had been impeded when challenged by Kamara and dragged play back fro a free kick to Everton.  Once again, it was musical chairs in the area as Carsley lined up his kick, which floated in perfectly to the corner of the goal area, where Tim Cahill had perfectly peeled off his marker to rise well and place his header across and beyond Hisplop for another vital goal in his new colours.  But no shirt-lifting for our Timmy this time as he stifled any overt displays of glee, although Everton were mightily relieved.

Ten minutes left and Portsmouth initially came at Everton with even more gusto.  But the defence was very firm, challenges and blocks coming in equal measure, and even some more attacks building as Moysey's Boys showed gritty determination to cling to this hard-earned victory.  The excellent start continues....

Michael Kenrick

> Match Facts
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Premiership Scores
Saturday 25 Sep 2004
Middlesbro 0-1 Chelsea
Aston Villa 1-1 C Palace
Fulham 1-0 Southampton
Liverpool 3-0 Norwich
Man City 0-1 Arsenal
Newcastle 3-1 West Brom
Tottenham 0-1 Man Utd
Bolton 1-1 Birmingham
Sunday 26 Sep 2004
Portsmouth 0-1 Everton
Monday 27 Sep 2004
Charlton 1-0 Blackburn

Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Arsenal 19
2 Chelsea 17
3 Everton 16
4 Bolton 12
5 Man Utd 12
6 Newcastle 11
7 Charlton 11
8 Liverpool 10
9 Aston Villa 10
10 Tottenham 10
11 Middlesbrough 10
12 Fulham 8
13 Man City 7
14 Portsmouth 7
15 Birmingham 6
16 Blackburn 5
17 Southampton 4
18 West Brom 4
19 Norwich 4
20 Palace 2
After 28 Sep 2004

Portsmouth v Everton:
Prior League Games
 Overall  
 Portsmouth 13
 Everton 7
 Draws 3
 Premiership  
 Portsmouth 0
 Everton 1
 Draws 0
 Last Season:

Portsmouth 1-2 Everton 


Match Facts
PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2)
Blue shirts, white shorts, red socks
 EVERTON (4-5-1; 4-4-2)
 
White shirts, blue shorts, white socks
Hislop
Primus
Stefanovic
Unsworth
Griffin
Quashie
Faye
Berger
Berkovic (46' Lua Lua)
Fuller (68' Kamara)
Yakubu

Subs not used:
Ashdown, Taylor, Cisse


Yellow Cards: Faye (74')

Red Cards:



Martyn
Hibbert
Stubbs (46' Yobo)
Weir
Pistone
Watson (56' Ferguson)
Cahill
Gravesen
Carsley
Kilbane
Bent

Subs not used:
Wright, McFadden
Campbell

Yellow Cards: Cahill (83')

Red Cards:


Unavailable:

(Injured:) Li Tie, Osman
(On Loan:) Clarke, A Gerrard

Match Reports
Bristol City (A)      2004-05 Match Reports Index     Tottenham Hotspur (H)
 Everton Websites
 ToffeeWeb Match Summary
 EvertonFC.com Match Report
 When Skies Are Grey Match Report
 Blue Kipper Match Report
 Everton Fans' Reports
 Lyndon Lloyd Super Blues march on
 Jonathan Martin Sweet Sixteen
 Rob van Dijk Happy Days!
 Links to Other Media Reports
 BBC Sport Match Report
 4 the Game Match Report
 Sky Sports Match Report
 Sporting Life Match Report
 SoccerNet Match Report
 The Guardian Match Report
 Liverpool Echo Match Report
 Daily Post Match Report



Match Preview

Fratton Park was, of course, the venue for Everton's only away win last season and not only were the three points important, but the win sparked a run where David Moyes's team went on to lose just one of their next five games in all competitions crucial as it turned out in the battle to avoid relegation.

Things have changed since then, however.  The scorer of the Blues' winner here last season, Wayne Rooney, is no longer with the club; Everton have already doubled last season's tally of away wins; and while they went into this fixture a year ago in the bottom five, this time around they are in the lofty heights of 3rd place.

Forgetting the nature of the midweek trip to Bristol that proved ultimately to be a laboured affair as it dragged on through extra time and into a penalty shootout, the Blues will be buoyed by the victory and their place in the Third Round.

Coming on the back of a five-game unbeaten run in the league, confidence following their Carling Cup exploits will be high.  Moyes, however, has a few of injury worries ahead of this televised encounter: Marcus Bent is a doubt with the double hamstring strain that kept him out of the Bristol City game; Leon Osman, who was withdrawn from the action at Ashton Gate with a groin strain, is a bigger doubt.  While the club report a few more players with knocks from the same game, none of them are expected to miss out this weekend.

Since the successful outing at Old Trafford, Moyes has favoured a solitary striker up front.  He would likely have stuck to that strategy against Pompey but the doubts surrounding Bent and Osman the key components in that formation could alter his thinking.  He could also throw Nick Chadwick an opportunity to impress after he scored within two minutes of coming on against Bristol.

At the back, Joseph Yobo's iffy display midweek could make the manager's selection dilemma easier, particularly given the form of Weir and Stubbs, and in goal it would be harsh to overlook either Nigel Martyn or Richard Wright, but he ahs to choose one of them,, and in the interests of continuity will probably opt for Martyn.

Despite being candidates for relegation again this season, Portsmouth have made a decent start, picking up seven points from their first 18 and sitting level on points with Liverpool in lower mid-table.

Their chief threat is Yukubu up front whose pace and power might be the biggest case for playing Joseph Yobo as a counter measure. Elsewhere on the pitch , Patrick Berger is enjoying a new lease of life at Fratton Park after his career stalled at Anfield and there is, of course, the potential danger of a fired-up David Unsworth looking to prove a few things against the club he still supports but which released him this summer.

Ultimately, this represents another good opportunity for the Blues to pick up points, especially given their away form so far this campaign, and Moyes will be approaching the game with that must-win attitude.

Lyndon Lloyd


Matchday Stats

This will be the 50th meeting between Everton and Portsmouth in all competitions, and the 25th at Portsmouth.  This match will be the 3rd meeting in the Premiership.

Everton's full record against Portsmouth is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

2

2

0

0

3

1

Division One

44

16

8

20

71

89

FA Cup

1

1

0

0

5

0

League Cup

2

0

1

1

3

4

TOTALS:

49

19

9

21

82

94

Our record away to Portsmouth is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

1

1

0

0

2

1

Division One

22

6

3

13

29

55

League Cup

1

0

1

0

1

1

TOTALS:

24

7

4

13

32

57

The last match between the sides was on 13 March this year when Wayne Rooney scored his last goal for the club at Goodison Park in a 1-0 victory.  The last match between the sides at Portsmouth was on December 13 last year when goals from Lee Carsley and Wayne Rooney ensured a 2-1 victory in what was the club's only away win during the season.  This match was memorable for Uriah Rennie deciding not to give Wayne Rooney a straight red card after an altercation between himself and Steve Stone.

There have been 5 Everton hat-tricks against Portsmouth with the last being Alex Stevenson's at home to Portsmouth on 30 April 1938 in a 5-2 victory.  Three of these 5 hat-tricks have been scored at Portsmouth, the last being Tommy White in a 3-0 victory on 2 September 1931.

The most common victory for Everton is 1-0 which has happened 4 times in Everton's 19 victories.  Portsmouth's most common victory is 3-2 which has also happened four times in Pompey's 21 victories. The most common draw between the teams is 1-1, which, ironically, has also occurred four times in the 9 draws between the sides.

Everton's record for 26 September is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

2

0

1

1

0

2

Division One

13

6

2

5

25

25

Division Two

1

1

0

0

3

2

League Cup

1

0

1

0

2

2

UEFA Cup

1

1

0

0

5

0

TOTALS:

18

8

4

6

35

31

This is the first time the sides have met on this day.  The last match on this day was in 1998, when Everton drew 0-0 at Blackburn Rovers.  The only other Premiership match on this day was in 1992, when Leeds United won 2-0 at Elland Road.  On this day in 1978, Everton equalled the club's largest win in European competition when registering a 5-0 victory over Finn Harps in the second leg of the UEFA Cup, matching their first leg result.  This is also the club record for the highest aggregate score (10-0) in a European tie.  The scorers on the night were Trevor Ross, Andy King, Martin Dobson, Bob Latchford and Mickey Walsh.

Joe Easthope was born on this day in 1929 in Liverpool.  Signed from an apprenticeship in April 1950, Joe went on to make just 2 Everton appearances before being sold to Stockport County in June 1954.

George Wood was also born on this day in 1952 in Douglas.  George signed for Everton from Blackpool in August 1977.  He was sold to Arsenal three years later in August 1980 after he had made 126 appearances for Everton and won 3 Scottish caps during his time at Goodison Park.  George still holds the club record for the fewest goals conceded per game in the club's history with an average of 1.05 goals conceded per game, just pipping Gordon West who is in second place on 1.08

Six years later, Kenny Sansom was born in Camberwell.  Kenny was only the second player to be signed by the club from Coventry City after Mick Ferguson when he made his move in February 1993.  Kenny and Mick have since been joined by Lee Carsley.  Kenny played  just 7 appearances, as well as scoring a goal, before moving to Brentford.

Dave Clements won his first Northern Ireland cap as an Everton player on this day in 1973 in their 0-0 draw with Bulgaria in a World Cup qualifying match.  This is the only international cap won by an Everton player on this day.

Milestone's that can be reached in this game:

  • If Duncan Ferguson starts the game it will be his 150th start for Everton in the league.
  • If Alan Stubbs plays any part in the match, it will be his 100th league appearance for Everton.

Steve Flanagan


Super Blues march on

Everton's remarkable start to the season that has confounded the critics and delighted the fans continues with their fifth win in seven games.  Tim Cahill, who had been fairly subdued up to that point, popped up in the 80th minute to head home a Lee Carsley free kick and hand the Blues all three points in this televised encounter on the South Coast.

The Blues' only away win last season came at this ground and they repeated the feat in front of the Sky Sports cameras to record their third victory on the road in four matches this season.  Astonishingly, Mark Hudson's header for Palace a month ago remains the only goal David Moyes's side has conceded away from Goodison so far.

Nigel Martyn returned to the starting line-up despite Richard Wright's impressive display in the Cup midweek, as did Tim Cahill, who replaced Leon Osman missing with a groin strain.  David Moyes opted once more for a five-man midfield behind Marcus Bent with Thomas Gravesen orchestrating things from the centre and Cahill briefed with getting forward as often as possible.

Everton made a decent start to the game, harrying every loose ball and keeping their hosts penned into their own half for much of the opening 10 minutes.  The game then came to life when a wayward shot by Nigel Quashie was deflected by Alan Stubbs, wrong-footing Martyn, but the former England goalkeeper did well to re-adjust and parry the ball to safety.

Immediately at the other end, Steve Watson ghosted into the six yard box ahead of his marker and side-footed a volley inches wide of the far post, and a minute after that Quashie unleashed a swerving 25-yard effort that cracked off the upright and bounced well clear.

A succession of stoppages for injuries then did much to dampen the fires stoked by this flurry of activity, the last of which saw Stubbs leave the field and return with a bandaged head to cover a split eyebrow sustained in an aerial challenge with Yakubu.  In amongst the disruptions, Everton again went close, Gravesen's superb run down the left culminating in a square ball across the face of goal which Dejan Stefanovic did well to intercept with Bent looking to convert the tap-in.

Portsmouth didn't really find their rhythm during the first period, not helped by Everton's stifling midfield formation, but they did have gilt-edged chance just after the half hour mark when Faye fired into the side-netting and then found almost the same spot wide of the goal just before the interval when Patrick Berger was perhaps better placed.  At the other end, Bent flicked on a Gravesen throw forcing David Unsworth to head over from underneath his own crossbar with Cahill in attendance.

The wound to Stubbs' head required three stitches during the half-time break but Mick Rathbone, the Blues' physio, obviously felt that he couldn't continue as it was Joseph Yobo who emerged for the second half which Pompey started much more positively.  Indeed, Portsmouth did much to even the balance of play during the second 45 minutes but it was Everton who continued to create more and better chances.

Two minutes after Duncan Ferguson had replaced Steve Watson and the formation changed to 4-4-2, Bent made space for a left-footed effort that flew just over the bar.  Five minutes later, the tireless Kilbane picked the striker out in acres of space on the edge of the box and although his disappointing first touch allowed two defenders to converge on him, Bent still managed a shot that missed by a yard or to to the right.

With 21 minutes to go, Weir came to meet a Gravesen corner but steered his header barely a foot past the upright before a textbook Ferguson knock-down found Bent on the edge of the box again but his volley was deflected wide for a corner which came to nothing.

A minute later came the breakthrough. Portsmouth were setting out on a fast counter-attack when substitute Kamara appeared to foul Lee Carsley midway inside the Pompey half.  Referee Gallagher awarded the free kick which Carsley took himself and swung to the back post.  Fighting off the limpet-like attentions of his marker, Cahill eventually wriggled free and rose to head the winner past Hislop.

The Australian had had his quietest game since making his debut against Manchester United but was in the right place at the right time.  And he was in the mix five minutes later, challenging a loose ball with the goalkeeper and being very unfairly booked for his trouble.

Moyes's team had perhaps their sloppiest spell of the game in the last five minutes as they pulled almost all 11 men behind the ball, but Portsmouth never looked like breaking through the determined back line, both through Everton's determination and their own attacking limitations.  Yakubu was brilliantly shackled by the faultless Yobo and while Lua Lua certainly made a difference for the home team, he was thankfully ineffective in the final third.

On the whole, Everton did not play brilliantly but still did more than enough to earn the three points.  The sign of a title-contending side?  Not quite.  Just like Middlesbrough and Manchester City before them, Portsmouth were pretty toothless and the Blues never looked like losing this one.  Given Pompey's unbeaten home record and impressive recent run in the Premiership (just three defeats in the last 15 games), perhaps it was Moyes's strategy that threw Harry Redknapp's side out of their rhythm.

The salient point is that all these teams are all there to be beaten and Everton have done just that.  The only points they have dropped so far this season were against Arsenal and Manchester United, and they're unbeaten away from is brilliant; they've conceded just one goal.  That's impressive by any standards and, while the bubble may burst at some point when injuries and suspensions take their toll, the scale of the achievement that the Blues have made so far with just one goalscoring striker cannot be under-estimated or taken away from them.

Lyndon Lloyd

Sweet Sixteen (points that is...)

"You're sixteen, you're beautiful, and you're mine...".  Not quite sure what Ringo had in mind all those years ago (hopefully it was just about legal) but that's what was potentially on offer today.  Last year it took us until 22 November to reach 16 points; a repeat of last year's solitary away victory would see the same total reached by the end of September.  What a difference a year makes.

My route to Portsmouth today took me through the leafy Berkshire village of Winkfield Row.  All posh houses, big back gardens and private schools! Crawling through it at the regulatory 30mph, my eyes were drawn to one road in particular...  "Osman's Close" (average house price probably somewhere around 350k).  Was this an omen?  Osman's close to being fit.....  Osman's close to scoring the winner...  alas it was not to be.  Osman almost certainly wasn't close to Portsmouth today, as the injury received in Bristol last Wednesday caused the young star to miss the South coast trip.

So, the 4-1-4-1 (or whatever formation it actually is) sort of became 4-5-1 with former Tractor boy Bent again ploughing his lone furrow up front and by the looks of it, Cahill being given the Osman floating role.  One pleasant difference from last year's game was the weather.  Whereas last year 30 got you a dose of pneumonia, this year it was likely to get you a half-decent suntan as the last throws of summer brought with it an absolutely beautiful day.  Unsie led Portsmouth out as Captain today and received an excellent reception as he ran down towards the travelling Blues fans.

The game started brightly as well.  For the first 15 minutes or so, we looked reasonably in control with some neat passing moves (Pistone being the exception that proves this particular rule) and everyone getting involved.  Then out of the blue, a deflected Nigel Quashie shot had Martyn going the wrong way, only for him to magically change direction and palm the ball away.  From the resultant corner, Everton broke down the other end, Kilbane played a 1-2 with the Portsmouth defence, got the ball back and floated a cross to the far post where Steve Watson ghosted in and volleyed against the outside of the post.  So close.  Within a minute, it was Quashie again running straight at the Blues penalty box and unleashing a shot that had Martyn rooted to the spot as it crashed against the angle of post and bar.

From then on though, Portsmouth as an attacking force diminished more and more as the excellent Blues midfield began to take control.  Watching MotD tonight, I'd completely forgotten that Berkovic was playing for them, so ineffective was he.  Further chances fell to the Blues, with Weir planting a header straight at Hislop, Bent being denied by an amazing clearance by Stefanovic and Cahill failing to score when he probably should have.

Second half saw Stubbs (who has cut his head quite badly in the first half) being replaced by Yobo.  Joseph played superbly, keeping fellow countryman Yakubu in his pocket for the entire 45 mins.

Then with 30 mins to go, Moyes reverted back to 4-4-2, taking Watson off and bringing Dunc on.  Again it was a shrewd move, Dunc looked particularly interested, making intelligent runs and laying off balls for Bent to have 2 or 3 half decent shots on goal.  Best chance of the half fell to David Weir again with a run across the 6-yard box from a corner to meet the ball at the near post and glance a header just the wrong side of the post.

Then with 10 minutes to go, a rather fortuitous free-kick was given for a push on Hibbert.  Carsley floated the ball into the back post where Cahill ghosted in and planted the ball past Hislop into the net.  No shirt antics this time either.  Portsmouth didn't have too much left to give for the remainder of the game, save for Yakubu theatrically falling to the ground in the box with Dermot Gallagher giving us a freekick.

Eventually, the whistle went and there it was in black and white.... the top three teams, just beginning to see daylight between them and the chasing pack.

Scores on the doors...

  • Martyn 7  He must be getting bored behind this defence this season.  Another game where he really didn't have that much to do
  • Hibbert 7  A much improved player from when I saw him against West Brom.
  • Pistone 5  I'm struggling to say anything positive here.  Our only black mark on an excellent performance.
  • Stubbs 7  Solid for the 45 minutes he played
  • Weir 8  I'd begun to think those graceful days were behind Davey but here he was, almost back to his best.  They're obviously putting something in the tea.
  • Carsley 8  Looks to have found his perfect position.  He just sits in there in front of the back four and mops up everything that is going on around him.  Completely nullified Berkovic today
  • Watson 7  A bit quiet, apart from his glorious chance and volley in the first half.
  • Cahill 7 He was going to get a 6 until he scored the winner but that would have seemed a bit churlish.  Took the goal superbly but didn't do a lot else
  • Gravesen 8  The 2004-05 version of Tommy is much improved on earlier models.  Clearly drinking the same tea as Weir.
  • Kilbane 9  My man of the match.  Ran his socks off both halves, was the source of most of our dangerous attacks.  Excellent.
  • Bent 7  Again, very industrious and had a couple of chances that on a better day might have gone in
  • Yobo 8  Superb second-half performance.  It will be interesting to see whether he makes it in front of Stubbs next week
  • Dunc 8  Hardly gave away any fouls, didn't get booked yet still looked menacing whenever the ball came his way.

Roll on Tottenham.

Jonathan Martin

Happy Days

Writing match-reports is never easier than when your team has either just put in a disgracefully poor performance, notched up a famous win, or fought like lions and were rewarded with a late draw.  Taking 16 points from the last 18 and lying 3rd in the Premier League table helps just as much.  Who wouldve thought that Arsenal, Chelsea and EVERTON would already be taking the piss out of the Premier League after just 7 games!  Ha.

Anyone having a go at Bluenoses enjoying our spell near the top of the table because they feel that those sickening summer months should give us no reason at all to ever be cheerful again, do one!  No-one is expecting us to qualify for the Champions League or the UEFA Cup yet it takes a lot more for us lot to get carried away like a bunch of Kopites.  Most of us would still settle for 40 points come May 2005.  But, why not enjoy 3rd spot in the league?  Because of Bill Kenwright, because of our still unsolved financial problems, or because of Wayne Rooneys betrayal?  Or even because of our proud history!?  I found it amazing to read some Evertonian's comment after the 0-0 draw at Old Trafford claiming that Everton Football Club and their fans should never be celebrating anything but a victory there.

Like it or not but the past 15-or-so painful years are as much a part of our history as the League and Cup successes before that.  Just as much as Dixie Dean, Sheffield Wednesday 66, Harry Catterick, Howard Kendall and Bayern Munich have made this club to what it is today so have Brett Angell, Wimbledon 94, Mike Walker, Walter Smith and Coventry City 98.  I feel sorry for every Evertonian that cannot or will not make the most of our current position.

By cheering and supporting David Moyess team, we will make him and his players only more determined to give all theyve got on a Saturday afternoon for us and the club.  And bloody hell  they deserve all the support and accolades they get at the moment!  Not because we have never seen better teams before, not because we will ever accept that 3rd in the table will forever be good enough.  But simply because the players run themselves into the ground every week and finally seem to want to turn this club around as much as we do.  None of that means we have to forget about the problems that still need to be solved as soon as possible.

I could moan about Marcus Bents poor efforts on goal yesterday, or how playing with a lone striker leaves us short for options half the time, but I wont.  As everyones tip for the drop seven weeks ago, the gaffer sensibly realises its still better to be safe than sorry at any time and place.  Yes, we could be more adventurous but why should we?  Even a draw at Fratton Park would have been a good enough result, despite us deserving to win the game just a wee bit more than Pompey.

David Moyess plan was obviously to take the sting out of Portsmouth before taking a few risks by trying to win the game.  Thanks to those lads in the middle of the park for us, he has that luxury now.  Its incredible how midfield has gone from being the Achilles heel of our team to becoming our backbone.  Next to the extra creativity given by Leon Osman and Tim Cahill, Lee Carsley and Thomas Gravesen have suddenly transformed into a very strong and reliable midfield duo.  Who would ever have thought?

Alright, all Thomas Gravesen is probably trying to do this season is earn himself a lucrative deal away from Goodison Park.  I for one have no problems with that because Gravesen at least honours his contract with the club and we know where we stand with him.  Theres nothing wrong with being honest about wanting European football and demanding a big club like Everton to finally show some ambition.  Unlike other players and despite his agent who should have thought over half a dozen dodgy comments a bit longer he has opened his mouth yet stayed relatively loyal to those people who pay his wages.  And by playing for a new deal at Everton or anywhere else were finally seeing him live up to his ability week in, week out.

With Tommy Gravesen and Lee Carsley winning the battle in midfield at Fratton Park; the defence being as reliable as theyve been all season ( even Alessandro Pistone looked reasonably alright); Kevin Kilbane probably playing his best game of the campaign so far and Duncan Ferguson looking very useful after coming on, that was more than enough to beat a half-decent team like Pompey.

Like at the City Of Manchester Stadium, Tim Cahills head was found with a great ball in (from Lee Carsley this time) and his solitary strike was once again enough to seal the game.  Spurs at home next week and dare I say it up until Chelsea away in November, our next four games all look like potential points in the bag. 

Yes, we are still capable of losing one or two or being frustrated by a draw here and there and we could easily be slipping down the table within a few weeks but, for the moment, Im sure as hell enjoying the season so far.

Rob van Dijk



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