Karadas strikes to make point for Portsmouth

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp has chopped and changed, wheeled and dealed - and turned a sow's ear into, well, a more expensive sow's ear.

His Portsmouth side have more skill, more commitment, more potential than the one he inherited but they are struggling to gain many more points.

The irony was that they salvaged one here through Azar Karadas, a late substitute, and a striker brought in by Alain Perrin and deemed surplus to requirements. His spectacular 85th-minute volley was his first goal for Portsmouth.

Just four of the Portsmouth starters had also been in the team for the first match of January.

And there would have been fewer had Redknapp - who has brought his son Jamie in as a coach - completed the deals he chased.

The most startling inclusion was £4.1m forward Benjani Mwaruwari who played 26 hours after appearing - and scoring - in the African Nations' Cup.

Both debutantes - Wayne Routledge and Andres D'Alessandro - provided moments but little of substance until the Argentinian international, on loan from Wolfsburg and a most intriguing signing, dipped a shot over the bar.

On half-time Matt Jansen, on his first start, slipped a clever pass into the Portsmouth defence. Dean Kiely rushed from goal but Stelios Giannakopoulos reached the ball first and was up-ended. Khalilou Fadiga, however, blazed the penalty over. Gary O'Neil - not a Redknapp favourite - gave way at half-time as Portsmouth switched formations. Immediately his replacement Svetoslav Todorov cut inside only to drive a shot wide.

For Bolton Joey O'Brien was wasteful - thumping an effort over from 14 yards after a half-cleared corner.

D'Alessandro's influence grew. He won a number of free-kicks, delivering them with tempting accuracy until Andy O'Brien should have headed Portsmouth into the lead.

Instead Bolton scored. It was a farcical goal. Matthew Taylor conceded a free-kick on the left-wing, Fadiga sent in an in-swinging centre and the ball sailed serenely between Kiely and Taylor and straight into the net without a touch. It was the goalkeeper's fault.

Portsmouth countered. Todorov broke free, beat Jussi Jaaskelainen, but O'Brien, at full stretch, turned his low shot over the bar before Routledge crossed and Karadas struck the sweetest of equalisers inside the near post.

Portsmouth (4-4-1-1): Kiely; Primus, O'Brien, Stefanovic (Griffin, 16), Taylor; Routledge, Davis, Mendes, O'Neil (Todorov, 46); D'Alessandro; Mwaruwari (Karadas, 82). Substitutes not used: Ashdown (gk), Hughes

Bolton Wanderers (4-3-3): Jaaskelainen; Hunt (Vaz Te, 60), Ben Haim, N'Gotty, Gardner; Nolan, O'Brien, Fadiga (Fojut, 87); Jansen, Davies, Giannakopoulos. Substitutes not used: Walker (gk), Nakata, Borgetti.

Referee: D Gallagher (Oxfordshire).