Royals Flushed

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 28 October 2006
Pompey arguably produced their best display of the season to defeat Reading 3-1 at Fratton Park. An own goal by Brynjar Gunnarsson, another header by Kanu and a vintage strike from Pedro Mendes put the game to bed although Doyle got a scrappy goal at the end.

This was a great performance from Pompey. We started on the front foot right from the off and Gary O'Neil picked out Kanu in the box who headered straight at Marcus Hahnemann. Portsmouth were gifted the lead shortly after as a corner was whipped in and Gunnarsson headed in the near post under pressure from Kanu.

We were the better side and played some decent one touch and passing football in the midfield as Reading struggled to get a hold of the game although they did have a spell and David James did well to save a header at the second attempt. Benjani should have doubled our lead before half time as a cross was drilled across goal and all he had to do was tap it in.

Benjani also should have scored after the break as he was clean through on goal but his lob over Hahnemann ended up wide of goal. Pompey kept going though and would get a second through the main man Kanu who seems to make scoring headed goals a trademark as he nodded in a cross from Sol Campbell of all people!

The home side were well on top and Pedro Mendes; who had a long range shot go over in the first half, made himself the first Pompey midfielder to score in the league this season as he struck a thunderbolt from the edge of the area that went straight through the Reading defence and into the bottom corner of the net via the post.

We weren't going to settle for three though and Pedro Mendes struck an even better long range shot that forced Hahnemann to make a top draw save and then another one soon after from Matthew Taylor as he looked to get on the scoresheet.

It wasn't until the last ten minutes that Reading actually started to play anything like a top half Premiership side and I was a bit disappointed that the Pompey defence eased up and allowed Kevin Doyle to score the mother of scrappy goals five minutes from time as Pompey failed to clear. Perhaps that was justice as what looked like a blatant handball from Mendes on the line wasn't spotted by Phil Dowd who had a poor game.

The Royals ended up scoring the resulting corner but couldn't find another and in truth, deserved to lose 3-1 when the final whistle blew. Their key players such as Sidwell and Seol could not get into the game at all whilst Sonko and his comrades at the back were torn apart at times. Pompey were well worth the win today and the result puts us in 4th place with 19 points after 10 games. A magnificant achievement by the team and coaching staff.

This result means that we're already halfway to safety before November. It took us until that infamous Man City game in March to reach above 18 points last season which shows how far we have come since the depressing times of yesteryear.

An intriguing game away to the Premiership leaders at Old Trafford is next. Let's see if we can continue to upset the structure of the Premiership's elite this coming weekend.

Pompey Player Ratings

David James: 6 - Made a good save in the first half but flapped a bit in the final minutes which lead to more Reading pressure.

Glen Johnson: 7 - Another decent performance from the on-loan Chelsea man. I'm glad he was fit for the game and I just wonder if a deal can be made permanent after the summer.

Sol Campbell: 8 - Excellent performance from Sol at the back and notched an assist for his old pal Kanu too.

Linvoy Primus: 7 - Won everything before being subbed at half time due to injury.

Gary O'Neil: 7 - Very sharp and energetic performance.

Pedro Mendes: 9 - Great all-action display from the classy Portuguese midfielder. Superb strike too.

Sean Davis: 7 - Filling in for the assumingly injured Manuel Fernandes. Went about his business quietly but effectively.

Matthew Taylor: 8 - Probably Matty's best performance of the season. Got forward and worked well with the other midfielders to cause Reading allsorts of problems.

Benjani: 6 - Should have scored at least once but his work-rate and his ability to get behind defenders still remains crucial to the team, especially when defending from the front.

Kanu: 9 - My Man Of The Match. He was a menace to the Reading defence all game. Forced Gunnarsson into an error and scored himself. His build up play had the Reading defence fooled as they just generally couldn't handle him.

Subs

Dean Kiely

Noe Pamarot: 6 - Filled in for Primus adequately.

Niko Kranjcar

Lomana LuaLua: 6 - Looked lively when he came on.

Andy Cole: 5 - Didn't have time to make an impression.

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Tue 17th October 19:45

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