Pompey too strong for Toffees
Defoe inspires Redknapp's men to victory
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: 30/08/08 5:36pm
Traore and Defoe celebrate the opening goal
Portsmouth enjoyed a stroll in the Goodison Park sunshine as they eased to a 3-0 win at Everton.
Jermaine Defoe bagged an impressive brace, while Glen Johnson was also on target.
A cagey opening saw both sides exchange periods of intricate passing which, although pleasing on the eye, brought little in terms of attacking endeavour.
It was, though, Pompey who settled quicker and it came as no surprise when they broke the deadlock on 12 minutes.
Peter Crouch flicked a towering header into the path of Defoe and the diminutive front-man twisted and turned before firing a low drive past a helpless Tim Howard.
The Toffees then took control and were only denied an equaliser by some quite outstanding work by David James and Younes Kaboul.
However, against the run of play, it was Pompey who doubled their lead five minutes before the break when Defoe fed Johnson bursting into the box and the full-back calmly slotted home with the outside of his boot.
Everton had an opportunity to claw themselves back into the game moments after the restart, but Yakubu saw his penalty saved by the immaculate James.
The points were then sewn up by Harry Redknapp's men on 69 minutes when Defoe's delicate lob cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and over the line.
Crouch made sure that the ball hit the net as he nodded in the rebound, but must accept that his strike partner lays claim to the goal.
Portsmouth - physically imposing and unchanged from the side which lost 1-0 to Manchester United last Monday - always had the edge on David Moyes' men.
They were rewarded with the sort of goal Redknapp must have dreamed about when he persuaded Crouch to quit Liverpool this summer and join Pompey in a £11million move to partner Defoe.
It was so simple yet so effective and began when Crouch deftly flicked on Armand Traore's throw-in into Defoe's path.
The former Tottenham man was 12 yards from goal but he showed outstanding awareness to shield the ball from Joleon Lescott and produce a delightful piece of footwork which engineered the space to turn and slip a low right-foot shot past a stunned Howard.
The goal poured confidence into the visitors and full-backs Johnson and Traore were ready and willing to push forward at every opportunity.
In the 17th minute, Johnson advanced forward down the right flank and swung in a deep cross which found Crouch at the far post.
The towering forward nodded the ball back into Defoe's path and he again showed nimble feet to turn and rifle in a shot from 18 yards which drew a smart stop from Howard.
Everton began to wake up as the half progressed and a piece of clever play from former Portsmouth forward Yakubu almost reaped dividends in the 22nd minute.
The powerful Nigerian crossed dangerously from the left flank and Mikel Arteta arrived to connect with a half-volley which James turned onto the post with a brilliant one-handed save.
The ball rebounded off the post and straight back to Arteta but James quickly smothered the ball to deny the Spaniard once again. Everton continued to press forward and shortly after the half-hour mark they fashioned two opportunities which almost led to goals.
In the 32nd minute left-back Leighton Baines swung in a deep cross which James missed and which James Vaughan headed back across the face of goal.
Yakubu somehow failed to connect with the ball and barely a minute later another teasing cross from Baines was missed by Vaughan with the goal at his mercy.
Pompey began to play on the counter-attack and they hit Everton with a devastating move which put them two goals ahead in the 40th minute.
Johnson, lurking on the right flank, cut infield and played a neat one-two with Defoe before stroking a low left-foot shot into the corner of the net.
Everton had an opportunity to cut the deficit two minutes after the restart when Johnson clumsily hauled Vaughan to the ground but James used his 6ft 5in frame to great effect with a fine save to his right to deny Yakubu from the penalty spot.
Portsmouth's third goal duly arrived in the 69th minute, again courtesy of Defoe, who chipped Howard with a brilliant lofted shot which bounced back off the crossbar and over the line.
|0||1st Half Goals||2|
|7||Shots on Target||7|
|12||Shots off Target||1|
Barclays Premier League
|10||West Bromwich Albion||6||8|
|13||West Ham United||6||7|
|18||Queens Park Rangers||6||4|