Pompey Steal Victory At Carrow Road

Pompey produced a shock F.A. Cup result at Carrow Road as Andre Green's stoppage time goal gave them victory over the ten men of Norwich at Carrow Road.

The big talking point in the match came early on after Grant Hanley received a red card after just fifteen minutes after abruptly ending Ronan Curtis' run through on goal.

There has been some debate as to whether Hanley's offence was worthy of dismissal but it was a crude challenge and nobody was going to catch the Pompey striker if he wasn't upended so referee Darren Bond got the decision right.

What followed was an even contest despite Daniel Farke making eight changes to his Premier League chasing side who had to play over 75 minutes with ten men.

However, the best chance of the match (before stoppage time, anyway) came when Jamal Lowe crossed for Brett Pitman only for the ex-Ipswich forward to head the ball wide from close range.

Otherwise the first half culminated in half-chances for both sides but defences were on top with both goalkeepers making routine saves whenever the backlines were breached.

Pompey made their numerical advantage count at the start of the second half as they created the better openings with Curtis and Pitman missing the target before Norwich upped their game and showed their Championship class.

The Canaries might have taken the lead if it wasn't for a superb challenge by Anton Walkes in the box to deny Dennis Srbeny what would have been a difficult shot on target to stop.

Instead, Pompey looked the more likely winners as Dion Donohue's shot wasn't held by Michael McGovern but Christoph Zimmerman beat Pitman to the loose ball. The Norwich goalkeeper then provided a save for the cameras as he tipped Lowe's shot over the bar.

It was a similar situation at the other end of the pitch as Craig MacGillivray acrobatically kept out Todd Cantwell's header and with minutes remaining, Farke brought on two of his best attacking players in Teemu Pukki and Onel Hernandez in an attempt to win the game and avoid a replay.

When a free kick was awarded to the hosts those in the ground were braced for the late drama Carrow Road has become accustomed to this season and that turned out to be the case, only not for Norwich as the free kick came to nothing.

Instead, with so many yellow shirts forward, Pompey broke and a pinpoint cross from Donohue was met by substitute Andre Green who needed two attempts at goal but the second kissed the post as it beat McGovern with just seconds of stoppage time remaining.

Cue absolute delirium in the away end of the ground with a deluge of Pompey fans piling forward towards the front of the stand. Stewards and police struggled to contain them as the players ran the length of the pitch to join them for what will be one of the most memorable moments of the season.

There was no time for Norwich to make a characteristic comeback as the final whistle blew to confirm Pompey's place in round four of the F.A. Cup, much to the travelling fans' delight despite any injuries succumbed to during the celebrations!

Whilst Green will make the headlines, it's the defence which deserves the majority of the credit for keeping Norwich at bay and the likes of Jordan Rhodes quiet.

Matt Clarke's quality is there for all to see but Jack Whatmough alongside him hasn't received as much praise as he should have this campaign. He was a rock once again at the heart of the defence and now looks like he has finally gotten over the injuries which have plagued his career so far.

The fullbacks deserve all the plaudits too with Donohue the outstanding performer of the match. His left foot is a treasure this Pompey team will need for the remainder of the season and he does his defensive duties well.

Anton Walkes has come in for a lot of criticism this season but he was superb yesterday with his challenge on Srbery epitomising just how he has turned things around in recent weeks. He has looked a much better player since scoring at Fleetwood so perhaps that was the catalyst he needed to kick on and establish himself in the side.

Those thinking about the future won't have garnered a true reflection of how capable this team is of performing at Championship level as the fact remains that this victory came at the death against a diluted Championship side who had pushed forward for a winner despite having a man disadvantage for the majority of the game.

Still, it was funny to see the Norwich press and a number of Southampton fans react bitterly to how Pompey fans celebrated yesterday, claiming that we acted as if the Blues won the F.A. Cup as if they would know such a feeling. At least the Norwich fans were gracious in defeat and we wish them well in their promotion challenge for the rest of the season.

As for Portsmouth, they will discover their opposition for the fourth round tomorrow. Who do we want? The Premier League "big six" are still in but then so are Accrington Stanley and Oldham. Wouldn't it be an anti-climax to draw Gillingham and lose to them for the third time this season?

Yesterday's victory also has implications in the league as the match against Bristol Rovers on January 26th will now be postponed whilst the midweek trip to Luton on January 29th could also be postponed if Pompey's fourth round tie is moved to the preceding Sunday or Monday.

The away game at Southend has also been moved to 12:30 on Saturday, February 16th for television coverage but that will also be postponed if Pompey win their fourth round tie.

Speaking of the league, there was some extra good news for Pompey fans yesterday as Sunderland could only manage a draw at Charlton and so are now six points beind with just the one game in hand.

For now, Pompey fans can bask in the glory of the result at Carrow Road and will look back on this game with fondness for years. Hopefully there are even better memories made before this season ends.

Pompey Player Ratings

Craig MacGillivray: 7 - Reliable as ever.

Anton Walkes: 8 - Defended with heart.

Matt Clarke: 8 - Looked settled at Championship level.

Jack Whatmough: 8 - Rarely beaten.

Dion Donohue: 8 - Outstanding left foot and did his defensive duties well.

Tom Naylor: 7 - Busy as always.

Ben Thompson: 7 - A decent farewell performance.

Ronan Curtis: 6 - Involved in the game's key incident but not as threatening as usual.

Gareth Evans: 5 - Looked a bit tired.

Jamal Lowe: 7 - A constant threat and looks like he could make the step up.

Brett Pitman: 5 - Squandered his one big chance.

Substitutes

Alex Bass

Brandan Haunstrup

Christian Burgess

Adam May

Louis Dennis

David Wheeler (Curtis 90): N/A - On for injured Curtis but staff hoping it's a dead leg and nothing more.

Andre Green: (Evans 67): 7 - Repeated his antics of the second round and will be pushing to make the same impact in the league.