Defoe Penalty Steals Win At Sunderland

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 10 November 2008
There's nothing in football quite like travelling over 300 miles to watch your team win 2-1 with a 90th minute penalty. Especially when they go behind early on in a dour first half where the game could have been done and dusted.

After Lassana Diarra lost the ball and Reid's long ball caught out Sol Campbell who was beaten to the ball and outpaced by Djibril Cisse, Pompey fans must have been thinking "here we go again" after the Frenchman slotted the ball under David James.

In truth the home side could have been out of sight after the first half as Kieran Richardson hit the post and Jamo had to make a point blank save from Cisse's header as well as a couple of others.

What was most disappointing is that I can't recall a single decent chance for Pompey in the first half and it never looked like we were in the game at all. Tony Adams must have given them a hell of a team talk in the dressing room because Pompey came out a different side.

Pompey looked more like a team rather than eleven individuals, the movement was better and we kept the ball for longer periods.

Then the equaliser came as nobody closed down Nadir Belhadj and he unleashed a 30 yard shot into the bottom corner of the net to send the travelling contingent into raptures!

The game then opened up as both sides looked for the winning goal. Cisse was caught offside numerous times, including once when he headed the ball in but Jermain Defoe came close with a shot from outside the box for Pompey as the game looked like it was heading into a draw.

So, thank you El-Hadji Diouf for virtually handing the win to us following your clumsy challenge on Glen Johnson in the box in the 91st minute! No point in complaining about it as it was a clear cut penalty.

Jermain Defoe converted to give Tony Adams his first win in charge and make the long journey home for the visiting Pompey fans so much sweeter having been on the receiving end of a stoppage time winner last week.

Did we deserve the win on balance of play? No, but Adams deserves a lot of credit for the second half comeback after an appalling showing in the first half.

He must have motivated the players at the break and his substitutions were astute, taking the ineffective Kranjcar and Crouch off and replacing them for Utaka who gave us better width on the right and Kanu who held the ball up much better than our £11 million striker.

Despite the euphoria of this win, there are still clearly problems within the team but I just wish the doomongers would shut up. You have to remember that Pompey had just had what I'd call a "heart transplant" after a change in manager that happened so suddenly.

The major worry we have is the financial situation but if what Storrie and Sacha says is true then we shouldn't be worrying. On the pitch it's going to take time to get things completely right but yesterday's win was a huge step away from the bottom three and there are plenty of teams in a worse position than us.

We're not falling apart so just enjoy supporting Pompey. People seem to be forgetting that we're playing a certain Italian team in a couple of weeks so lighten up!

Pompey Player Ratings

David James: 8 - Took everything and his saves kept us in the game.

Glen Johnson: 6 - Looked good when going forward.

Sol Campbell: 5 - Struggled with Cisse.

Sylvain Distin: 6 - Solid enough.

Noe Pamarot: 5 - Got caught out too often.

Niko Kranjcar: 6 - Glimpses of good play but not very effective on the right.

Sean Davis: 6 - Did a job.

Lassana Diarra: 6 - Tried too hard at times.

Nadir Belhadj: 7 - Runs gave Sunderland problems and scored a great goal.

Jermain Defoe: 7 - Lively and held his nerve to score the pen.

Peter Crouch: 5 - Contained by the Sunderland defence.

Substitutes

Jamie Ashdown

Younes Kaboul

Armand Traore

Papa Bouba Diop

Richard Hughes (Defoe 90): N/A - Time wasting sub.

John Utaka (Kranjcar 75): N/A - Provided more width on the right.

Kanu (Crouch 69): 6 - Held the ball up well.

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