Unbelievable

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 03 November 2007
OK, hands up anyone who predicted that result then?

I don't think even the most ardent Newcastle or Pompey fan could have possibly imagined what took place at St. James' Park today. A three goal salvo in four minutes completely stunned everyone who followed the game and it could have been more too!

Noe Pamarot rifled in a 30-yard screamer after Newcastle could only half-clear a corner and the Frenchman blasted the ball into the top corner. Now I might have expected this from someone like Muntari or Diop but Pamarot!? According to Sylvain Distin he bangs them in regularly in training...

Whilst the goal certainly surprised everyone in attendance at St. James' Park, there were bigger surprises to come and just a minute later we were two up! Benjani had easily shrugged off the challenge of Claudio Cacapa and had curled the ball into the net for his eighth goal of the season.

The shocking scenes continued straight after as John Utaka outmuscled Cacapa, ran through the defence and rounded Steven Harper outside the box to score a cool third goal and send Pompey fans into dreamland as the game was effectively won in the 11th minute!

The hosts did get a fortunate goal back a few minutes later when Jamo parried N'Zogbia's shot away, blocked the follow up by Michael Owen only for the ball to bounce unkindly into the backtracking Sol Campbell and into the net.

Cacapa was subbed minutes after and the game became quite scrappy after that. Chris Foy dished out a few yellow cards with fouls taking place all over the pitch but the game continued to be open and we were denied a penalty after a blatant handball by a Rozenhal from a corner.

You would have thought that the home side would have come out of the traps at the start of the second half, but Pompey played some excellent possession football in the second half to put any signs of a second-half Geordie onslaught to bed.

The system worked perfectly as Barton and Butt couldn't get near the ball whilst our wide men ensured we always had a threat on the counter-attack. The Newcastle fans began to leave before Niko Kranjcar added a fourth from a free kick.

The Croatian had been giving the opposition defenders a torrid time all game and he had his shirt pulled near the corner of the pitch, square from the penalty area. His subsequent free kick went straight through the box and into the corner of Harper's net to confirm the win (although it may have taken a deflection off Steven Taylor).

The work at the other end of the pitch cannot be understated though as a mean defence stopped Newcastle from getting through too often and when they did create chances, David James made the saves which included a superb stop from Martins at point blank range.

Everyone in a Blue shirt was superb today and never in my wildest dreams did I think we would go to a place where we notoriously play badly and win so easily. This result ranks up there with our best ever results in the Premier League and more than makes up for our midweek Carling Cup exit.

Unbelievable... I'm still stunned now!

Pompey Player Ratings

David James: 8 - Made some excellent saves when called upon.

Glen Johnson: 8 - Continued his brilliant form.

Sol Campbell: 7 - Unfortunate OG but sturdy otherwise.

Sylvain Distin: 8 - Another near-faultless display.

Noe Pamarot: 8 - Solid defending and a superb strike for the opener.

John Utaka: 7 - His best game in a while, gave us pace on the right as well as a goal.

Sean Davis: 7 - Did all the dirty work when the game became a battle.

Papa Bouba Diop: 8 - Another strong, assured display.

Sulley Muntari: 8 - Newcastle midfielders couldn't get near him most of the time.

Niko Kranjcar: 9 - Gave their defence allsorts of problems and gets better game by game.

Benjani: 9 - Excellent goal and played the lone striker role perfectly.

Substitutes

Jamie Ashdown

Lauren

Pedro Mendes: N/A - Late change.

Matthew Taylor

Kanu: 7 - Posed a new set of problems for the Newcastle defence and might have had a goal himself.

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