Season Review 07/08: September
Feature by Jim Bonner
Updated Sunday, 1st June 2008
The month featuring our first away win and the infamous Reading game.The tough start to the season continued in September and Pompey fans would witness a record breaking game at Fratton Park come September's end. The month would begin with a trip to the Emirates Stadium.
02/09/07: Premier League Matchday #5: Arsenal 3 Pompey 1
The Blues got off to the worst possible start as a poor pass by Glen Johnson in the box meant that David James had no choice but to try and grab it only to bring down Robin van Persie. Emmanuel Adebayor converted the resulting spot kick.
Cesc Fabrgeas doubled the Gunners' lead when he headed in the second thanks to some static marking in the box. Arsenal continued to play us off the pitch but we were given some hope when Phillipe Senderos was sent off for a professional foul on Kanu.
That didn't matter though as a quickly taken free kick caught out the statuesque Pompey defence and gave Tomas Rosicky space to strike in a third. Kanu reduced the deficit almost immediately once he unknowingly backheeled the ball past Almunia but it was too late and we couldn't score again despite some late pressure.
Sol Campbell signed a new contract at Pompey which would surely stop all speculation of him moving on for the rest of the season. Next up were Liverpool at Fratton Park.
15/09/07: Premier League Matchday #6: Pompey 0 Liverpool 0
Rafael Benitez left Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres on the bench and would have paid for that if Kanu hadn't had his penalty saved by Pepe Reina.
John Utaka had an even better chance after the break but missed the target from close range. Liverpool's "two man team" did come on but didn't make an impact as Pompey had to settle for the first of many goalless draws at home this season.
After the game there were some ridiculous rumours going around claiming that Harry Redknapp's job was under threat as Pompey sat a lowly 15th and people knew that nobody was safe after Jose Mourinho was sacked. These rumours were hardly the ideal preparation going into a tough fixture at Blackburn.
23/09/07: Premier League Matchday #7: Blackburn Rovers 0 Pompey 1
This would be the first game when Harry Redknapp used the 4-5-1 formation that would see Pompey's away form improve dramatically. Roque Santa Cruz hit the stanchion early on but Pompey soon took control and Kanu's header was sensationally saved by Brad Friedel who also stopped the rebound going in.
Pompey did take the lead when the Nigerian weaved his way into the box, rounded Friedel and shrugged off Stephen Warnock to give the away side the lead. A superb challenge from Sean Davis just symbolised the determination and the grit of this performance and Matthew Taylor and Papa Bouba Diop could have added to the scoreline.
It mattered not as Portsmouth finally recorded their first away win in 2007, a victory which would mark the start of seven straight away wins. Pompey returned to Lancashire just two days later to play Rovers' rivals in the Carling Cup.
25/09/07: Carling Cup Round #3: Burnley 0 Pompey 1
Harry Redknapp made ten changes to the side that won at Blackburn but it didn't stop Pompey advancing to the next round. A single David Nugent strike was enough to see off Steve Cotterill's side at Turf Moor although we had the defence to thank following plenty of pressure from the Clarets.
Blackburn would have a chance to avenge their Ewood Park defeat sooner than they thought as Pompey drew them at Fratton Park for the fourth round tie.
The month would end with a truly spectacular game at Fratton Park.
29/09/07: Premier League Matchday #8: Pompey 7 Reading 4
20,102 fans at Fratton Park were treated to the highest scoring game in Premier League history. It looked like it would be a rout after Benjani tapped in Utaka's cross and then scored again following a run through the Reading defence.
Marcus Hahnemann made a top class save to stop Glen Johnson making it 3-0 and we had numerous other chances to be out of sight before half time. Instead, Reading pulled a scrappy goal back out of nowhere through Stephen Hunt and then right at the start of the second half David James comes rushing out of his goal but gets nowhere near Dave Kitson who passes him and slots the ball into an empty net.
At 2-2 the game could have gone either way and Papa Bouba Diop's diving header would have gave us the lead again if he wasn't wrongly judged to be offside. But we did have the lead as Sylvain Distin ran down the left wing and crossed for Hermann Hreidarsson to head in his first goal for the club.
But before the crowd could regain their breath Diop was penalised for handball in the box and Reading were given a penalty. David James saved Nicky Shorey's effort as the Pompey fans were in raptures and Matt Taylor was booked for dissent despite warming up as a substitute!
Sulley Muntari then played a nice through ball to Benjani who took the ball past Hahnemann and put the ball in the net to complete his hat-trick. Niko Kranjcar then headed in Sean Davis' cross from close range to make the score 5-2 and kill Reading off....
....or so we thought but James Harper's volley deflected off of Shane Long to make the score 5-3. It was soon 6-3 after Sean Davis' strike deflected off Ivar Ingimarsson and then Kranjcar was tripped by Rosenior and Muntari rifled in the penalty to score the last home league goal for Pompey for the rest of 2007.
It was Reading who had the final say as Nicky Shorey's drive came off of Sol Campbell and was diverted into the net in stoppage time. 7-4 it finished as all fans coming out of the ground couldn't believe what they had just seen!
Premier League Table on September 31st
3rd: Manchester City - 15pts
4th: Liverpool - 15pts
5th: Portsmouth - 12pts
6th: Blackburn - 12pts
7th: Chelsea - 12pts