Just in case Fabio Capello is not getting enough good press, Glen Johnson's piece of sorcery at Fratton Park on Saturday added weight to the theory that time spent in the England manager's company can only be worthwhile. "Meaningless" friendly? Try telling that to Johnson, or indeed his manager at Portsmouth, Tony Adams.
An England veteran himself, Adams went against the trend of rubbishing last week's trip to Berlin and rightly felt pride in the fact that Portsmouth supplied three starters in Germany, with David James and Jermain Defoe completing the triumvirate. Defoe aggravated a calf injury while on national duty and said yesterday he may be out for a month if he decides to have surgery, but Adams will not be pushing for compensation.
Defoe took his place in the stands at Fratton Park while the right-back Johnson stepped into the spotlight to produce a goal of stunning quality, with his weaker left foot. It would have won the game had Hull not answered with what Johnson described as a "filthy" equaliser after 89 minutes.
"I'm delighted that he's playing for his country, and sometimes when you come back you still have a bit of a buzz," said Adams. "He's been fantastic for Portsmouth. It's great that he's around the England team and sometimes when you come back you have that 'I've played for my country, I'm doing all right'."
Portsmouth, looking for their first home win since the departure of Harry Redknapp, had led from the 20th minute through Peter Crouch's close-range header, but began to look jittery when Hull drew level, Michael Turner producing a similar finish from Dean Marney's corner 10 minutes after the interval.
Enter Johnson, who, after Armand Traoré's centre was cleared just after the hour mark, controlled the ball on his chest and, running at speed, unleashed a sublime volley into the net from 25 yards. You may have expected such a finish from Hull's Brazilian crowd pleaser, Geovanni, but in fact he had earlier struck the upright from the same position. "I'm confident with both feet, and in training I'm more than happy to try shots with my left," said Johnson. "I had a couple of strikes with my left foot before I scored, and it is not something I shy away from. It's disappointing because when you score a goal like that you would like to have it down as the winner. Their goal was filthy.
"I have really enjoyed this week. We are all looking forward to AC Milan [in the Uefa Cup on Thursday]. That will be fantastic for the boys and all the Pompey fans."
Dean Windass wanted to claim Hull's late second, which stemmed from another set-piece amid shoddy defending, with Noé Pamarot getting the final touch as the 39-year-old striker threw his weight about. "I headed the ball towards the goal, and if I hadn't done that it wouldn't have gone in, would it?" argued Windass. "If I hadn't got my head to it, then a defender would have headed it away. So I'm going to claim it, no worry about that."
Windass's frustration is understandable as he has hardly featured since securing promotion with a wonder strike of his own against Bristol City in last season's play-off final.He must know deep down that he would have been better off calling it a day at Wembley last May.
Goals: Crouch (20) 1-0; Turner (54) 1-1; Johnson (63) 2-1; Pamarot og (89) 2-2.
Portsmouth (4-4-2): James; Johnson, Kaboul, Distin, Pamarot; Diop, Davis, Hughes (Nugent 58), Belhadj (Traoré 58); Crouch, Utaka (Kanu 74). Substitutes not used: Ashdown (gk), Hreidarsson, Mvuemba, Little.
Hull (4-3-1-2): Myhill; McShane, Turner, Zayatte, Ricketts; Marney (Giannakopoulos 82), Ashbee, Boateng (Halmosi 72); Geovanni; King (Windass 72), Cousin. Substitutes not used: Duke (gk), Doyle, Barmby, Garcia.
Referee: S Attwell (Warwickshire)
Booked: Portsmouth: Diop, Davis. Hull City: Windass.
Man of the match: Johnson.
Attendance: 20,240.Reuse content