FAC: Southampton 1-4 Portsmouth
Portsmouth were in danger of being put out of business this week
but they are alive in the FA Cup after beating Southampton 4-1 at
Despite being matched by Alan Pardew’s men for much of the
fifth-round clash, Portsmouth rattled in four goals in the last 25
minutes to reach the quarter-finals.
Quincy Owusu-Abeyie came off the bench and opened the scoring
for the visitors at St Mary’s.
Rickie Lambert levelled shortly after but Aruna Dindane,
Nadir Belhadj and Jamie O’Hara netted to give the scoreline a
flattering look for the bottom club in the Barclays Premier League.
This clash gave a reminder of the bitterness which exists
between the two south-coast clubs, who had not met each other since
Southampton’s relegation from the Premier League in 2005.
Portsmouth look to be heading that way too and are adrift at
the bottom of the table – but simply staying in business this week
was the aim. They head back to the High Court next month as Her
Majesty’s Revenue and Customs push for a winding-up order.
Southampton know all about the effect financial troubles can
have after dropping down to League One and suffering a points
deduction this season for going into administration.
Pardew’s men, however, are in decent form and will take huge
encouragement from matching their top-flight neighbours – at least
until the goals began to flow.
Morgan Schneiderlin had a long-range effort early on, then
the hosts got even closer when Lambert swung a cross from the left
to the far post.
It was inch-perfect for Papa Waigo N’Diaye and the striker
headed firmly towards the bottom corner – but David James was down
sharply and gathered at the second attempt.
O’Hara was responsible for Pompey’s first efforts on goal,
first with a 35-yard free-kick that went just wide of Kelvin Davis’
post, then with a drive that the Southampton goalkeeper tipped over
Southampton continued to attack and N’Diaye was close to
getting on the end of a couple of slick moves.
They were presented with another decent chance when James
fumbled Lambert’s corner. The ball raced onto the head of Radhi
Jaidi and his effort went over the crossbar.
James then blocked at point-blank range just before the break
when Wayne Thomas got on the end of another Lambert corner.
After going into the interval the happier of the two sides,
Southampton did not let half-time break their stride.
James was required to pull off another fine save just after
the restart. This time Michail Antonio cross to the back post and
Adam Lallana met it with his head. James looked to be heading in
the wrong direction but adjusted his feet to claw away.
Dindane gave the hosts a warning when he went just wide from
the edge of the area, then John Utaka cut in from the left and
forced a save from Davis.
Pompey boss Avram Grant made his move just before the hour
mark, introducing Quincy for Angelos Basinas and giving his side a
more attacking look heading into the final third of the match.
Quincy got into the action straight away with a run down the
left and was welcomed with a crunching tackle from Dean Hammond,
earning the Saints skipper a booking.
It was pure adrenaline from Hammond as his side were scenting
an upset. If Lallana got more power on a volley when sent through,
James would have been severely tested again.
Quincy struck in the 66th minute after Hassan Yebda crossed
from the right and Utaka worked the ball to the substitute.
The former Arsenal forward took a touch to steady himself and
then coolly curled home from just inside the penalty area.
The lead lasted just four minutes as Lambert headed in at the
far post from a free-kick – but Pompey were ahead again shortly
after the leveller.
Hayden Mullins started the move down the right before Quincy
sent Dindane through to chip Davis for his second goal this week
after netting against Sunderland.
Saints substitute Lee Barnard had a strike chalked off for
offside late on, then Belhadj added a third when he raced through
and sold Davis a dummy before finishing. O’Hara volleyed home the
fourth after a sweeping move.