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MATCH REPORT

Posted on 13 December 2005  - 12:00

Ledley King, Mido and Jermain Defoe scored the goals that recorded a Premiership double over Portsmouth at the Lane on Monday night.

Ledley King, Mido and Jermain Defoe scored the goals that recorded a Premiership double over Portsmouth at the Lane on Monday night.

Ledley bagged his third, Mido his sixth and Jermain his fourth goal of the season at what turned out to be a jubilant stadium, but it was a hard night's work after Pompey took the lead through Lomana Lua Lua.

It is now three wins on the spin for Martin and the boys, a result that keeps us in fourth place with 30 points now accumulated.

This game seemed to take a long time in coming around, what with it being nine days since our last outing here against Sunderland. Plenty has happened in the intervening period for the visitors with Harry Redknapp's return to the Fratton Park throne after days of speculation and counter speculation.

For us it was about quiet preparation but, as Ledley King admitted, the wait for match night to come along almost increases the pressure to do well because our football fix has been delayed. So, by comparison, it was pretty quiet on the Spurs Lodge front ahead of the game and Martin Jol was able to field an unchanged starting line-up.

There were changes on the bench, the most notable being the return of Wayne Routledge to the group against the team against who he made his Premiership debut and only appearance back in August before suffering a foot fracture that has ruled him out until now.

There was a promising conviction from our side in the early exchanges and the boys so nearly unlocked the gate in the second minute when Lee Young-Pyo linked up with Mido to set Robbie Keane away on goal. Robbie opted for precision over power and got neither as his effort was comfortably gathered by Jamie Ashdown in the Pompey goal.

With Keane playing in a withdrawn position seeking out possession at every opportunity, Teemu Tainio appeared to have been given licence to perform almost as a support striker tucked in behind Mido. But it was Edgar Davids who was next to burst forward on 11 minutes when his determined dart led to a shooting chance for Mido inside the area. Unfortunately, again Ashdown was not really tested to any sort of limit.

Six minutes later and the goalkeeper was forced to work when Tainio dissected the visiting rearguard and Keane was in to the left of the penalty area. He went for a lofted clip over the descending keeper, but Ashdown stuck out an arm and the ball fell to a defender who duly cleared.

For the second home game in a row we found ourselves behind when, on 24 minutes, Lomana Lua Lua picked up the ball some 25 yards out and fired in a skidding shot that squirted beyond the reach of Paul Robinson and into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

It looked like we were going to have to do it the hard way again.

The game went messy and niggly challenges were going in that effected the flow of the game. Tainio did go close from the right of the area but his volley was too high before Jenas was unable to replicate his Old Trafford party piece following a foul on Mido a few yards outside the area.

There was an enforced change after 40 minutes when Tainio could not continue and therefore giving Routledge the chance to finally make his home Premiership debut for the club. The change saw Davids move to the left flank, Jenas to the centre, with Routledge taking up his natural berth on the right.

There was a bit of a goalmouth scramble in stoppage time, but Martin would have to rely on a few words to the wise at half-time to try and turn it around again.

A fair old pace was set in the second period as another sell-out crowd of 36,141 got right behind the boys and it wasn't long before Davids fizzed a shot just wide via a deflection. For all the pouring on of pressure in the both the first and early stages of the second half, a decisive break just wouldn't come and it took a smart stop from Robinson to deny Vincent Perricard a goal on the counter after 53 minutes.

Three minutes later relief poured down off the stands when the skipper bought us level. A Carrick corner was met by King and his downward header got the better of Ashdown and the ball nestled happily in the back of the net.

Pompey responded though and it took a world class save from Robinson to deny Matthew Taylor shooting his side into the lead again. Jermain Defoe readied himself on 67 minutes and made his entrance a minute later in place of Keane.

There was plenty of hard labour going on as the game moved towards the 80 minute mark but not, unfortunately, for Ashdown as moves kept breaking down in the final third. Routledge had done his stint and Andy Reid was introduced on 82 minutes, just in time for a free-kick given for a foul on Defoe on the edge of the area.

Reid took it and struck the hand of O'Neil, prompting Mr Rennie to point to the spot. Mido obliged low to Ashdown's left and the Lane erupted.

There was time for it to erupt once again when a low Reid cross fell behind Defoe, but the little striker retrieved the situation before drilling a low drive past Ashdown from an acute angle to make it three and alright on the night.