Football: Pompey in their pomp

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The Independent Online
Leeds United 2

Bowyer 52, 90

Portsmouth 3

McLoughlin 7, Svennson 67, Bradbury 86

Attendance: 35,604

It Cost Terry Venables just pounds 1m to buy Portsmouth Football Club. The bill for watching his First Division team rise to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup was a lot higher. Australian football's part-time coaching director booked a taxi for 4.30 at Elland Road yesterday afternoon.

It was a wise choice to leave the meter running. Just as the cab pulled up to the main entrance, precisely on the half-hour, Mathias Svensson rifled the low drive which gave Portsmouth a 2-1 lead. Four minutes from time Lee Bradbury put a third goal past a Leeds team whose defence had stood unbeaten for five matches and the Pompey Chimes had a haunting ring for Portsmouth old boy George Graham - even though Bowyer headed the second in the fourth minute of injury time.

Portsmouth's supporters brought with them the bright, breezy south coast air that so enlivened the club's advance to within a penalty shoot-out decider of a final place five years ago. It was perhaps fitting, then, that the early goal was scored by one of the three veterans of Portsmouth's night of heartache in that semi-final replay at Villa Park. Bradbury's hooked cross from the left was a well-measured invitation to Alan McLoughlin, though in executing the diving header which gave his side a seventh-minute lead the Republic of Ireland midfielder had no option but to launch himself into the beaten Nigel Martyn.

McLoughlin's bravery prevented him from helping his colleagues build on their advantage for all but the 14 minutes in which he hobbled on. Before he made way for Sammy Igoe, the Mancunian still managed to summon sufficient composure to hoist a left-wing corner that would have yielded a second goal for Portsmouth had Tony Dorigo not been stationed on goal- line sentry duty. Gary Kelly was in the same spot when the ubiquitous Bradbury headed Fitzroy Simpson's corner from the right towards the home goal just before the half-hour. Unlike his Antipodean team-mate, however, the Irish wing-back blocked the ball with an arm rather than a leg. Intent having been very much open to question, Paul Alcock sensibly limited his admonition to a yellow card in addition to the inevitable kick. Simpson struck it to Martyn's right but it was too close to the Cornishman to beat his dive.

More often than not Leeds' up-field sorties became ensnared in the sand- traps which gave Elland Road a striking resemblance to Portsmouth beach. They were fortunate to survive another potential handicap, four minutes into the second-half, when Bradbury's downward header from Paul Hall's right wing cross bounced into the arms of Martyn. Two minutes later, though, Leeds were level, Rod Wallace threading the ball to Bowyer, who neatly lifted it over the advancing Alan Knight with his right foot.

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