Perrin's Pompey find new bounce

Portsmouth 4 - Charlton Athletic 2
Click to follow
The Independent Online

With a late scoring burst in a ferociously but fairly contested game, Portsmouth put their recent poor run - and their relegation troubles - firmly behind them. In front of their new manager, Alain Perrin, Pompey produced a stirring show against a Charlton Athletic side embarked on their annual determined effort to avoid earning a place in Europe.

With a late scoring burst in a ferociously but fairly contested game, Portsmouth put their recent poor run - and their relegation troubles - firmly behind them. In front of their new manager, Alain Perrin, Pompey produced a stirring show against a Charlton Athletic side embarked on their annual determined effort to avoid earning a place in Europe.

Having admitted that he would like to have changed "eight or nine" of his team during last week's shambolic home performance against Manchester City, Charlton manager, Alan Curbishley, settled for just three alterations to his line-up at Fratton Park. Radostin Kishishev came into midfield, while the half-time substitutions of the previous game, Francis Jeffers and Jonathan Fortune, started.

The hangover had not been banished, however. Charlton were caught in only the third minute. A long ball upfield was allowed to bounce and Lomana LuaLua was after it at top speed. Though he was bundled aside, the striker chased out to the right, recovered possession and slipped a neat through-ball for Steve Stone to centre at leisure and for Yakubu Aiyegbeni to head past Dean Kiely, similarly unchallenged.

Charlton struck back, Jeffers heading down neatly for Shaun Bartlett to shoot the wrong side of Jamie Ashdown's right-hand post from 25 yards, but Charlton suffered more blows in quick succession as they attempted to get back into it. First Kishishev took Richard Hughes's boot in his face and had to be replaced by Jason Thomas, then they fell two goals behind. Stone won a free-kick on the right, and when Patrik Berger swung it in beautifully, there was the effervescent Stone again, heading home at the near post.

This time Charlton's response was more positive. Danny Murphy placed his free-kick invitingly into the penalty- zone pack for Fortune to rise above everyone else and head past Ashdown. Charlton were suddenly looking more together, and duly equalised in first-half added time. Again it came from a free-kick, awarded for a foul by the Dutch defender Arjan de Zeeuw on Thomas. This time Murphy opted for the direct route, scoring spectacularly.

There should have been another goal seconds after the interval, but after exchanging passes with Giannis Skopelitis, Yakubu skewed his shot high into the crowd. The Greek then had a shot deflected over the bar for a corner which produced utter chaos in the Charlton goalmouth as Portsmouth vehemently claimed handball for another Skopelitis effort which was repelled.

The ferocity of the exchanges claimed its victims, with Bartlett limping off and Skopelitis being replaced by Diomansy Kamara. Immediately Kamara found himself clear close to goal but opted to square the ball to Yakubu, who was closed down by four defenders. The newcomer then delivered a much better pass to LuaLua, whose shot was saved by Kiely. As Portsmouth laid siege to Charlton's goal Yakubu hit a post, but they could have been caught out before making the game safe. The referee, Graham Poll, who famously permitted Thierry Henry a quick free-kick which brought Arsenal a goal against Chelsea, allowed Murphy to take a similar effort, but Ashdown pulled off a flying save.

Then Kamara was at it again, getting himself to the near post to meet a LuaLua centre and scoring with an acute header. As the crowd celebrated a possible disaster averted, LuaLua sealed a fine win with a fourth goal in added time, holding off Hermann Hreidarsson to slip the ball inside the far post.

Comments