Pompey held by Hammers
By Lewis Rutledge. Last Updated: 26/12/05 5:10pm
Harry Redknapp was denied victory against former side West Ham, as an entertaining clash at Fratton Park finished 1-1.
Portsmouth, fresh from their first home win of the season last week, will take heart from another improved performance, and The Hammers will be pleased with another point on their travels.
In an open start to the game, both sides had an opportunity to take the lead within the first three minutes. Dario Silva did well to make room for a shot inside the area, only to fire tamely at Roy Carroll, while at the other end a speculative effort from Marlon Harewood flew wide.
Pompey began to gain the ascendancy, with Laurent Robert, switching from wing to wing, tormenting the full backs.
It was no surprise that he played a part in the opening goal, after 17 minutes, latching onto a Tresor Lomana Lua Lua pass down the right and pulling the ball back to the unmarked Gary O'Neil in the centre of the box, whose scuffed shot into the bottom corner seemed to wrong-foot Carroll.
The home team refused to sit back though, and nearly doubled their advantage when The Hammers struggled to clear an inswinging Robert free kick.
There was also a lucky moment for Carroll, when he appeared to handle the ball outside the area when under pressure from Lua Lua.
West Ham, who have been involved in several high-scoring affairs in recent weeks, looked threatening in attack without creating much in the first half, but were always vulnerable when Portsmouth pressed forward.
Shaun Newton wasted the visitors' first good chance moments before half time, blazing over from 12 yards, and Redknapp's men deservedly went into the interval with their noses in front.
The Hammers came out stronger in the second half, and almost levelled the scores when substitute Christian Dailly headed over from close range.
By committing more men forward, they were inviting Portsmouth to try and hit them on the counter-attack, and Carroll had to be alert twice to deny Matthew Taylor and Lua Lua after Pompey had broken forward with speed.
West Ham's positive intent was rewarded though, when Anton Ferdinand rose highest at the far post to nod down Newton's free kick for James Collins, who lashed the ball through a crowd of players and into the net (56).
Both sides fought hard for possession, neither content to settle for a solitary point, and the game fluctuated from end to end.
Portsmouth played with a lot of energy and passion, but were restricted to a barrage of long shots, which were comfortably dealt with by Carroll.
The Hammers were fluent in their passing moves, although there was a lack of cutting edge in the final ball.
Robert was sent off for a second rash challenge late on, and West Ham started to look like the more likely victors.
Despite the high tempo, there were few clear opportunities in the last quarter, but Dailly will have been disappointed not to have at least found the target with a diving header in the dying seconds of the match.
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|Portsmouth||Team Statistics||West Ham United|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||3|
|2||Shots off Target||9|
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