Ayegbini unravels Rams

Portsmouth 6 Derby County 2
Click to follow
The Independent Football

That most unscientific of footballing rules, the immutable law of the ex, was proved once more here at Fratton Park yesterday afternoon as Portsmouth ran up their biggest win of the season in front of their highest audience of the campaign.

That most unscientific of footballing rules, the immutable law of the ex, was proved once more here at Fratton Park yesterday afternoon as Portsmouth ran up their biggest win of the season in front of their highest audience of the campaign.

Yacubu Ayegbini was on trial at Derby last summer, but his application for a work permit was refused and he ended up playing, and scoring, against Manchester United in the Champions' League for Maccabi Haifa last autumn.

One Portuguese wife later and the Nigerian striker was able to move to England and so Pompey's manager Harry Redknapp snapped him up last month on loan. A possible £4m transfer has been suggested at the end of the season, and after scoring twice and setting up another here, that could be money well worth investing this summer, assuming Portsmouth continue their inevitable stride to the Premiership. They are now 14 points clear of the third placed side, Sheffield United.

When the crowd are shouting "Can we play you every week?" you know it has been a bad day. When they are able to shout that after just 28 minutes you know it is a match to forget for one team.

It certainly was for Derby, who came up against the First Division leaders harbouring hopes of improving their fading claim on a play-off place and ended up being played off the park for all but 15 minutes. Their captain, Warren Barton, said as much later, although he tried to put an optimistic spin on the fact they briefly pegged Portsmouth back from 3-0 to 3-2.

Of last season's Premiership drop-outs Derby have arguably been worst hit of all, because they had assets worth selling in the transfer window, unlike Leicester and Ipswich.

It was the old stager Paul Merson who got things rolling inside three minutes. A flick from him to Matthew Taylor saw the pass returned via Ayegbini and although his first shot came off the crossbar, he gratefully tapped home the rebound.

Fifteen minutes later and the lead was doubled when Ayegbini drilled in Taylor's miscued shot from six yards, and with 25 minutes gone Svetoslav Todorov found Taylor's run, and the midfielder made no mistake from ten yards out.

Remarkably that sparked Derby's comeback, when first Lee Morris tapped home after a trademark Georgi Kinkladze run, and then the Georgian scored from the penalty spot soon after.

That simply encouraged Portsmouth to stretch their legs and go for Derby's jugular. Todorov chipped Lee Grant for the fourth from Ayegbini's well-worked pass, and the two reversed roles for the fifth. Todorov then wrapped things up with the final goal, and by then it was party time.

Portsmouth 6
Merson 3, Ayegbini 17, 80, Taylor 22, Todorov 73, 85

Derby County 2
Morris 58, Kinkladze pen 67

Half-time: 3-0 Attendance: 19,503

Comments