Last updated : 07 April 2007 By Jim Bonner
Sometimes you ask yourself why you bother putting yourself through so much as a football fan as you travel down from the North-West after yet another bad defeat or as you walk away from Fratton Park having lost a hoof ball contest against a dire side.

Well, it's results like today's that make all those terrible away trips and bad home games all worth it as once again we have defeated Manchester United, and it feels bloody brilliant!

Nobody can take this result away from us either as we were well worth the three points over the 90 minutes. We put plenty of pressure on United right from the start and were rewarded after Edwin van der Sar could only parry Benjani's stinger into the path of Matt Taylor who stuck the ball in the net following a great piece of opportunism.

United tried to get back into it but the Pompey defence; who were without the injured Sol Campbell, worked extremely hard to limit Fergie's side to a few harmless attempts. We had created other opportunities but it was the battling spirit of the side that ensured we didn't concede before half time.

Giggs came on for Richardson after the break and United immediately came at us as Rooney scored after being called offside. He actually looked onside but the whistle went well before he stuck the ball in the net, and you need a bit of luck if you want to beat the best side in the country.

There came a point in the game where we let United have too much of the ball and David James had to produce a couple of top drawer saves from Rooney and Giggs not too long after saving from a goal mouth scramble earlier in the second half.

We had our chances too, and van der Sar had to produce a stunning save to deny Sean Davis his first Pompey goal this season after he palmed away a volley from Matt Taylor's cross. There were also a couple of long range efforts that the Dutchman had to deal with but his biggest threat would come from his own man...

As I mentioned before, you need a slice of luck if you want to beat teams like Manchester United and you don't get much bigger gifts than a comical own goal do you? Cue Rio Ferdinand to backpass straight past the wrongfooted van der Sar and straight into the back of the net to send Fratton Park crazy!

My nerves were doing the rounds in the second half and that goal looked to have eased them as Fratton Park started a mass "Easeh!" chant that was soon ended as David James fumbled to allow John O'Shea to pull one back near enough straight away and allow the nerves to start again.

I couldn't help but think that they would snatch a draw in the style that Champions-Elect do but David James produced an excellent save to deny Alan Smith what would have been a late and very cruel equaliser. The final whistle blew to confirm a third home victory in four seasons over United and the nerves finally calmed down after a pulsating encounter that we deservedly won!

And it was won because everyone in a Pompey shirt played very well, especially the defence. Linvoy was amazing and denied Rooney a clear one-on-one with a superb last ditch tackle. Dejan also did very well in Sol's absence and the rest of the team worked their arses off and did not let United settle during most of the game. Their reward was another memorable result against one of England's most decorated clubs with another top Fratton atmosphere to match the occasion.

This result has now guaranteed us our best ever Premiership points total as we now have 46 points from 32 games, exceeding our 45 points total in our debut season where we also beat Manchester United.

A special mention goes to Mark Clattenburg too. Although he took some stick from the crowd he had a very good game and did not fall for the "antics" of some of United's more devious players when it comes to going down in the box easily.

This was our day though, the spirit and endeavour of this Pompey side has delivered the best result of the season after yet another remarkable day at Fratton Park!

Pompey Player Ratings

David James: 9 - Loses a mark for his late fumble but made some superb saves. Spare a moment for him as his record was snatched in stoppage time for the second consecutive game!

Lauren: 8 - Strong defensively and went forward well. He'll be fantastic when fully fit.

Linvoy Primus: 10 - Invincible!

Dejan Stefanovic: 8 - Filled in very well for Sol with some great headers and challenges.

Djimi Traore: 7 - Best game in a Pompey shirt yet.

Gary O'Neil: 7 - Worked very hard all around the midfield despite giving the ball away on occasion.

Sean Davis: 8 - Excellent battling performance in the centre and unlucky not to score.

Richard Hughes: 8 - Composed and confident performance who looked every bit as good as Paul Scholes today.

Matthew Taylor: 7 - Well taken poach and generally good on the left.

Benjani: 7 - Ran the United defence around a bit and forced van der Sar into an error with his potshot.

Kanu: 7 - Effective target man up front and he held the ball up well. Much improved from his recent performances.


Jamie Ashdown

Noe Pamarot

Niko Kranjcar: 7 - Could have scored near the end.

Lomana LuaLua: 7 - His pace continued to give United's defence something to think about.

Svetoslav Todorov