Sky Blues gain Pompey replay
Just 11,214 watch Portsmouth avoid early FA Cup exit
Last Updated: 02/01/10 5:56pm
Bell: Fired Coventry in front
Crisis club Portsmouth face an FA Cup third round replay with Coventry City after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw at a sparse Fratton Park on Saturday.
Pompey are enduring woes on and off the pitch as the team reside bottom of the Premier League and are struggling financially, with the players not paid for a third time this season.
And their difficulties were added to by their Championship opponents when the Sky Blues took the lead on 30 minutes as David Bell fired past Asmir Begovic in emphatic style.
However, Avram Grant's side rallied to level just before the half-time whistle, with Kevin-Prince Boateng heading in from Richard Hughes' cross from the left.
But, despite Grant making all three of his substitutions in the second period, Portsmouth could not find a winner, meaning they will rematch Coventry at the Ricoh Arena.
Portsmouth, who lifted the FA Cup in 2008, went into the clash without influential midfielder Jamie O'Hara, who returned to parent club Tottenham after his loan deal expired.
Asmir Begovic continued to cover for injured goalkeeper David James, who is still struggling with a calf problem, while Nadir Belhadj, Kanu, Hassan Yebda and Aruna Dindane were all on African Nations Cup duty.
But at a barely half-full Fratton Park Portsmouth were by far the brightest of the two sides in the opening stages.
Tommy Smith tested Sky Blues goalkeeper Keiren Westwood after just three minutes when he latched on to Younes Kaboul's long ball.
His effort from the edge of the box was well parried away and Westwood halted Boateng's attempt to cash in on the rebound.
With the visitors firmly penned in their own half, Frederic Piquionne raced down the right after 10 minutes but his cross just evaded the onrushing Boateng.
The former Tottenham man was leading the Sky Blues back line a merry dance on the edge of their box after 29 minutes, before feeding Piquionne who shot wildly across the face of goal.
With Pompey failing to find a breakthrough and the away supporters asking the Premier League stars 'where have your wages gone?', their season took another turn for the worse as Bell unleashed a precision right-foot shot low into Begovic's bottom corner.
Westwood needed to be at his best to prevent Piquionne equalising three minutes later. Smith latched on to a brilliant flick from Richard Hughes before setting up the Martinique striker, whose effort was nicely turned away.
It was Richard Hughes' brilliance which got Pompey back into the game in first-half stoppage time, when he crossed from the left of the box for Boateng to nod home with ease.
Coventry suffered a massive blow at the break when goalkeeper Westwood was forced to come off. The 25-year-old enjoyed an impressive first half but was crouched on the pitch with his head under a towel prior to kick-off.
He gave way to Dimitrios Konstantopoulos and Portsmouth's Hermann Hreidarsson wasted no time in testing him with a fearsome 25-yard effort after 48 minutes. It was straight at the Greek, though, and he caught it comfortably.
Coventry's best chance at the start of the second half fell to Clinton Morrison after superb work from James McPake after 55 minutes.
The Sky Blues number six charged from the centre of midfield but striker Morrison got the ball caught under his feet and scuffed his effort over.
But Portsmouth raised their game and Konstantopoulos was forced into a save when Boateng chased down Michael Brown's ball over the visitors' rearguard and shot from the left corner of the six-yard box.
Boateng's presence on the left side of the Coventry penalty area was clearly causing Coleman's side problems.
The Ghana international was picked out by a superb sweeping ball from Kaboul after 81 minutes. Despite controlling the pass beautifully, Konstantopoulos kept his curling effort out with a brilliant save at full stretch.
Pompey continued to edge the contest but the Sky Blues' back-up goalkeeper ensured his side a replay with excellent late stops from John Utaka and Smith efforts.
|Portsmouth||Team Name||Coventry City|
|9||Shots On Target||3|
|2||Shots Off Target||2|
The FA Cup
Sat 2nd Jan - Third Round
Stoke3 - 1York City
Huddsf'ld0 - 2W Brom
Portsmth1 - 1Coventry
A Villa3 - 1Blackburn
Preston7 - 0Colchester
N Forest0 - 0Birm'ham
MK Dons1 - 2Burnley
Tottenham4 - 0Peterboro
Bolton4 - 0Lincoln
Wigan4 - 1Hull City
M'boro0 - 1Man City
Scunthorpe1 - 0Barnsley
Torquay0 - 1Brighton
Millwall1 - 1Derby
S'land3 - 0Barrow
So'ton1 - 0Luton
Plymouth0 - 0Newcastle
Fulham1 - 0Swindon
Blackpool1 - 2Ipswich
Sheff Wed1 - 2C Palace
Everton3 - 1Carlisle
Leicester2 - 1Swansea
Reading1 - 1Liverpool