Portsmouth leave troubles behind them and take Hart

Portsmouth 2 Manchester City 0

A first League win in two and a half months and a timely clean sheet for David James in his record-breaking 536th Premier League appearance. Life after Tony Adams could not have started much sweeter for Portsmouth yesterday.

Paul Hart may not be in the frame to take over permanently but the stand-in manager seems to have put fire in the bellies of the Pompey players. After working tirelessly to gain the ascendancy, they hit City with a quickfire double blow to gain revenge for a 6-0 thrashing in September.

As if Adams' departure was not disruptive enough, Portsmouth suffered further controversy, with Peter Storrie, the executive chairman, being re-questioned on Friday in a police inquiry into suspected corruption in football. Storrie, who denies any wrongdoing, has not been charged and was re-bailed to appear again in June.

Storrie and the Fratton faithful will have been heartened by the team's performance. Hart tweaked and tinkered rather than make wholesale changes, bringing back Nico Kranjcar into a free role in a midfield five.

While they hardly set the pulse racing in an undistinguished first half, Portsmouth always looked more likely to break the deadlock against a City side that have not won away in the league since August and were without their regular centre-backs as well as the suspended Shaun Wright-Phillips.

City's performance disappointed manager Mark Hughes. "You need an amount of players at the top of their ability to win Premier League games or you get beaten and that's what happened today," he said. "We expected more but we struggled to stamp our ability on the game."

Part of the reason for that struggle was Kranjcar. Always busy, he kept trying to set up Peter Crouch and David Nugent while Portsmouth's midfield bristled with intent. But it was a defender who broke through on 70 minutes. Glen Johnson cut in from the right, saw his shot parried by Given, switched the ball on to his left foot and struck home the rebound.

Before they could recover, City were two down courtesy of Pompey's other full-back, Hermann Hreidarsson, powering home a header from Jermaine Pennant's corner. Cue Robinho being ignominiously substituted having contributed next to nothing. What an enigma the Brazilian is.

Now it was a case of whether James could make his special day that bit more memorable. With six minutes left, City substitute Ched Evans seemed certain to reduce the deficit, only for the 38-year-old to pull off a miraculous reflex stop and preserve his first clean sheet in the league since mid-November.

Hart was delighted with the way things went. "I was brought in to do the youth development programme but I must admit there was a little tingle in my stomach that I have not felt for four or five years. I was asked to step in at a difficult time and we'll see what happens," he said. "I only got the players together yesterday morning and worked solely on defensive shape but only for an hour. Everyone was desperate for a win. To get it out of our system was so important."

Attendance: 20,018

Referee: Lee Probert

Man of the match: Johnson

Match rating: 6/10

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders