Kitson kickstarts poor Pompey's season with richly sweet revenge

Portsmouth 6 Leicester City 1
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The Independent Football

What a way to start a revival.

Portsmouth went into last night's fixture at Fratton Park as the only team in the Football League without a win and with just two goals to show from their first seven fixtures, but victory over opponents who had knocked them out of the Carling Cup on the same ground only 72 hours earlier lifted Steve Cotterill's team out of the Championship relegation zone.

If there was an element of good fortune about the result, Portsmouth having been gifted two early goals by some reckless defending that also saw Leicester reduced to 10 men, nobody on the south coast was complaining.

Portsmouth have still to come out of administration after the financial crisis that saw them relegated from the Premier League. Their future has been secured, enabling Cotterill to start his rebuilding programme, but there is still much to be done. With three men injured and one suspended, the manager only had four substitutes last night.

Portsmouth needed a lucky break, and they were promptly given two inside the first 33 minutes. With nine minutes gone Michael Morrison needlessly handled Liam Lawrence's corner from the right, enabling the midfielder to step up and convert the penalty.

Then just after the half-hour David Nugent, chasing Dave Kitson's beautifully judged through ball, was manhandled by Angelo Miguel Vitor on the edge of the penalty area. Keith Hill, the referee, had already been handing out cards liberally and gave the Portuguese defender a red one. From the free-kick Bruno Berner's flailing hand deflected Lawrence's shot into the top corner.

Leicester may be in the bottom three yet they played some measured football early on – but their 10 men never looked capable of coping with Portsmouth's more direct style.

Carl Dickinson almost embarrassed Conrad Logan with a wonderful lob from the left touchline that grazed the crossbar and after 58 minutes Nugent scored Portsmouth's third, following up after the goalkeeper had parried Kitson's shot. Within a minute the strikers' roles were reversed as Nugent's pass found Kitson, who chipped the ball over the advancing Logan. Steve Howard pulled a goal back with some neat footwork on 71 minutes but Kitson soon replied with his second, capitalising on more ragged Leicester defending, before Michael Brown completed the rout after a mazy run.

Milan Mandaric, the outgoing City owner, has been linked with a possible return to Fratton Park. The home fans' parting chant? "Milan's coming home."

Match facts

Portsmouth (4-3-3): Ashdown; Ward, Mokoena, Rocha (Sonko, 81), Dickinson; Lawrence, Brown, Mullins (Ciftci, 74); Nugent (Kanu, 76), Kitson. Substitutes not used Flahavan (gk).

Booked Rocha, Mokoena, Utaka.

Leicester City (4-2-3-1): Logan; Neilson, Morrison, Miguel Vitor, Berner; Oakley, Abe (Hobbs, 35); Waghorn, King, Dyer (Fryatt, 58); Howard. Substitutes not used Ikeme (gk), Teixeira, Gallagher, Wellens.

Booked Morrison, Berner, Oakley Sent off Vitor (31) Man of the match Kitson

Possession Portsmouth 54%, Leicester 46%.

Shots on target Portsmouth 13, Leicester 3.

Referee K Hill Attendance 13,751

Match rating 7/10