Grant grins as fortune smiles on Portsmouth

Southampton 1 Portsmouth 4: Inspired switch pays off as Owusu-Abeyie gets troubled club going at expense of Southampton

Having forced a replay in the Royal Courts of Justice last Wednesday, Portsmouth looked for a long time here as if they might need another but by the end of an atmospheric South-coast derby they had run away with victory, replicating the scoreline with which they sent their rivals out of the Premier League five years ago.

Facing extinction as much as relegation – m' learned friends have their replay on 1 March, five days before the Cup quarter-final – they did at least enjoy some of the breaks that have gone the way of others all season, their 4,000 supporters delighting in a rare bout of crowing.

Southampton, in a financial mess of their own a year ago but now backed by the Swiss businessman Markus Liebherr, were reduced to chants of "bring on the taxman". He will doubtless give Pompey as testing a fight as the home side did until they succumbed in the final quarter.

Like the weather, the tie warmed up slowly, bringing three goals in eight second-half minutes and then a clinching pair for the visitors. They benefited from a substitution by the much maligned Avram Grant, who had replaced Angelos Basinas, an unlikely holding midfielder, with the lightning pace, first seen in Arsenal colours, of Quincy Owusu-Abeyie. Now in Portsmouth blue on a loan from Spartak Moscow, he scored the opening goal, then made his team's second for Aruna Dindane and the fourth for the excellent Jamie O'Hara.

Where Basinas, once a European Championship winner with Greece, had often looked bewildered by the mayhem around him, O'Hara was equally creative and rather more rugged, as the occasion was always going to demand. Until Grant's tactical change, however, putting Owusu-Abeyie out wide and Papa Bouba Diop deeper to help a busy back four, the Tottenham man's promptings went unrewarded.

Southampton could claim to have had more of the first half, and their manager Alan Pardew duly did. "The disappointment was that we didn't score first," he said. "Psychologically it would have been tough for Portsmouth to come back. It was a really committed performance and David James earned his money."

Indeed, the England goalkeeper pulled off two fine saves during that period, as well as committing one howler. The first save was after only 10 minutes, somehow keeping out a header at the far post by Papa Waigo; just before half-time he pulled off an even better one as the right-back Wayne Thomas met a corner. In between times, however, there was a nasty moment as Rickie Lambert's corner flew straight through his hands on to the head of Radhi Jaidi, who could not take advantage.

The few occasions that Portsmouth threatened in that half, only O'Hara looked like defeating Kelvin Davis, whose one important save was to touch the midfielder's 30-yard drive over the bar. Briefly, the second half appeared destined to imitate the first, though the impression proved illu-sory. In the 46th minute Adam Lallana forced James into his third high-grade stop as he headed down a cross from Antonio, the long-throw specialist.

The Premier League's bottom club were just starting to improve, Dindane twice encouraging their followers, when Grant made the crucial change. Owusu-Abeyie clearly had the beating of his full-back, Thomas, and within a few minutes the home captain Dean Hammond sparked the only real flare-up of the game by clattering into him. Undismayed, the Dutchman was in the right place for a cool finish in the 66th minute as John Utaka turned on a corner to him.

One Pompey fan, bravely cheering the goal in Southampton's main stand, was just being escorted downstairs as the home supporters around him had their own back. To the surprise of most locals, Lambert, the leading scorer, had been taking many of the set-pieces himself, but this time he was where they wanted him, on the end of the free-kick that Dan Harding curled over for a powerful header past James.

Only four minutes had elapsed between the goals and in four more Portsmouth were back in front. Owusu-Abeyie's pace made this one, a thrilling run setting up Dindane for a clever dinked finish..

Then with eight minutes left came a crucial third goal for the visitors. O'Hara sent Nadir Belhadj away and the left-back, an Algerian whose forays England must beware at the World Cup, dummied the goalkeeper before scoring. Southampton had begun to push forward recklessly and they were punished again, harshly, with one of day's neatest moves, finished by O'Hara.

Grant walked to the Portsmouth fans at the finish, clearly enjoying the moment, though he was soon being asked to contemplate the future. "I have a feeling the court understands and will think about the fans, players and staff," he said. "If they need to punish somebody, then punish the people who did things wrong."

Attendance: 31,385

Referee: Howard Webb

Man of the match: O'Hara

Match rating: 7/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen