Season Review 07/08: February
Feature by Jim Bonner
Updated Sunday, 29th June 2008
Pompey go through an unbeaten month and continue along the road to Wembley.February was a good month for the Blues as despite some tough games, Pompey took 7 points from 9 and edged closer to the FA Cup.
Chelsea were the first visitors to Fratton Park in February having won all four previous Premier League encounters 2-0. This time would be different thanks to our new hitman.
02/02/08: Premier League Matchday #25: Pompey 1 Chelsea 1
An open game saw Niko Kranjcar clear the ball off the line early on and David James make a good save from Nicolas Anelka. Ashley Cole blazed over the rebound as the Pompey fans sang "Where's your Cheryl gone?" all game.
Lassana Diarra shone against his former club but they took the lead after Anelka scored at Fratton Park for the second time following a quick counter-attack but Jermain Defoe equalised minutes later, cooly finishing past Petr Cech.
Hermann Hreidarsson headed a corner just wide whilst Defoe could have also won it when one-on-one with Cech but he chipped the ball wide. Pompey also should have had a penalty after a man in a bright yellow shirt clearly handled the ball in the area but both sides had to settle for a draw.
The Premier League bigwigs then came up with the idea for a "39th game" to be played abroad that was met with heavy criticism. Pompey then travelled to the Reebok Stadium and Matty Taylor would be reunited with his former team mates.
09/02/08: Premier League Matchday #26: Bolton Wanderers 0 Pompey 1
I still can't believe how we managed to win this game. We created nothing in the first half was Matthew Taylor somehow managed to miss an open goal from two yards out.
In the second half we got battered as Taylor had another good chance to give Gary Megson's side the lead, David James produced two good reflex saves from Rasiak and Steinsson whilst Hermann Hreidarsson cleared Gary Cahill's effort off the line.
Just when it looked like we would escape with an undeserved point things got even better as Lassana Diarra lashed the ball in from an offside position after being played through by Kanu.
Bolton should have equalised right at the death as Tamir Cohen was unmarked in the box but David James somehow tipped his shot over the bar to ensure Pompey left Bolton with all three points.
Pompey returned to the North West eight days later to take on Preston North End in the FA Cup.
17/02/08: FA Cup Round #5: Preston North End 0 Pompey 1
The story of this game unfolded similar to the Bolton game as after an uneventful first half we got battered in the second.
It looked like Pompey would bow out of the competition after Sylvain Distin brought down Billy Jones in the box. However David James saved Simon Whaley's poor penalty and then later on turned Neil Mellor's corner round the post as the home side dominated.
However, Pompey got lucky at the death as Niko Kranjcar's corner caused panic in the Preston box and Darren Carter inexplicably rifled his clearance into his own net in the final minute of stoppage time to book the Blues into the quarter-final of the FA Cup.
Pompey fans began believing that this could be our year but then the good mood soon turned to depression as we were drawn away to Manchester United. Harry Redknapp threw his golf clubs to the floor in anger and that mood was somewhat reflected in the next game against Sunderland.
23/02/08: Premier League Matchday #27: Pompey 1 Sunderland 0
This was an instantly forgettable game that was spoiled by the inept Phil Dowd and Roy Keane setting his side out to play for a draw.
After a drab first half, Phil Dowd pointed to the spot after Phil Bardsley fouled Niko Kranjcar in the area having got away with a blatant handball in the box earlier. Jermain Defoe converted and the defence held firm as Pompey grit saw through this one.
Portsmouth ended the month in 7th place as a pivotal month loomed.
Premier League Table on February 29th
5th: Everton - 47pts
6th: Aston Villa - 44pts
7th: Portsmouth - 44pts
8th: Manchester City - 44pts
9th: West Ham - 40pts