Crouch settles Hampshire derby
By Richard Jolly. Last Updated: 29/01/05 2:20pm
Southampton triumphed in a tale of two penalties to give Harry Redknapp a happy reunion with his former club Portsmouth.
An injury-time spot kick from the former Pompey striker Peter Crouch took Southampton through to the fifth round of the FA Cup and spared Redknapp an unwanted replay at Fratton Park.
Portsmouth had profited from referee Steve Bennett's earlier, dubious decision to award a penalty, converted by Yakubu Aiyegbeni to cancel out Matthew Oakley's opener.
Bennett lost his place in the visiting fans' affections when he dismissed Diomansy Kamara, who won Portsmouth's penalty, for deliberate handball even before David Prutton's cross struck Matthew Taylor.
Shoulder or arm? The Carling Cup final official and his assistant referee Mike Tingey decided it was the latter and the gangly Crouch's scuffed spot kick sent Pompey keeper Kostas Chalkias the wrong way.
The visitors were furious. Arjan de Zeeuw, Aliou Cisse and Dejan Stankovic - all signed for Portsmouth by Redknapp - completed a half-dozen of Pompey players cautioned by the busy official.
Short tempers and high tension were expected when the South Coast rivals were paired, but not in evidence in a first half of greater torpor than drama.
Southampton were most culpable, leaving Crouch isolated in attack while their five-man midfield were outmanoeuvred by Portsmouth, neater in possession and pacier in attack.
Kamara, linking up well with lone striker Yakubu, twice found himself in promising positions, but wayward shooting and a fine Claus Lundekvam block respectively spared Southampton. The two Africans combined for Yakubu to beat Antti Niemi, but the Nigerian was offside.
Patrik Berger, with a brace of dipping shots from distance, showed more intent than most and Southampton's lack of ambition was especially puzzling. Their reluctance to test Portsmouth's debutant goalkeeper Chalkias seemed even stranger in the second half as the Greek came and missed a succession of crosses.
But he was unoccupied until Paul Telfer's speculative 30-yard shot a minute before the interval and motionless when Oakley's rasping shot found the top corner nine minutes after the break.
Southampton were still celebrating when Lundekvam was adjudged to have fouled Kamara and Yakubu levelled within 120 seconds.
With a sense of injustice, Southampton finally subjected Portsmouth to an aerial bombardment. With Chalkias floundering, Crouch had a header cleared off the line by Taylor and an offside Danny Higginbotham thought he had scored a spectacular goal.
It was disallowed, and Redknapp is as likely to have a second spell in charge of Portsmouth as Higginbotham is to score with an overhead kick again.
Redknapp may be unpopular in Portsmouth, but Kamara's antics had hardly endeared him to the home crowd. They were altogether happier when the Senegalese striker's deliberate handball brought him a second yellow card.
Substitute Kenwyne Jones then came close with a hat-trick of attempts for Southampton while Berger and Ricardo Fuller almost snatched a goal on the counter-attack for Portsmouth.
They were expecting a rematch at Fratton Park; to Redknapp's relief, Crouch ensured that Southampton's sizeable former Portsmouth contingent do not have to return down the M27 until April.
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The FA Cup
Sat 29th Jan - Fourth Round
So'ton2 - 1Portsmth
Derby1 - 1Fulham
Everton3 - 0S'land
W Brom1 - 1Tottenham
Burnley2 - 0B'mouth
Reading1 - 2Leicester
Blackburn3 - 0Colchester
West Ham1 - 1Sheff Utd
Newcastle3 - 1Coventry
Arsenal2 - 0Wolves
Brentford0 - 0Hartlepool
N Forest1 - 0Peterboro
Charlton3 - 2Yeovil
Man Utd3 - 0M'boro