Defoe penalty earns Pompey win
Pompey win keeps them on course for European spot
By Laura Slatcher. Last Updated: 23/02/08 9:50pm
Defoe: Slotted home penalty
A penalty from Jermain Defoe was enough for Portsmouth to take all three points against Sunderland at Fratton Park on Saturday.
Niko Kranjcar evaded one challenge before tripping over Phillip Bardsley's foot, handing Portsmouth the penalty after 69 minutes and Defoe confidently stepped up to bury the spot-kick in the left of Craig Gordon's goal.
Portsmouth had chances to go ahead in the first half but failed to capitalise on their set pieces. Sulley Muntari's left-footed effort came the closest to opening the scoring after 23 minutes but his powerful shot flew over the crossbar.
Sunderland, who have not scored away from home since before Christmas, had a penalty appeal waved away by referee Phil Dowd in the 33rd minute, the visiting attack claiming Sol Campbell had handled the ball.
The Black Cats' best chance of the first half came just before the interval when Andy Reid's free-kick drifted wide of David James' post.
Although Dickson Etuhu could easily have added to his first Sunderland goal two weeks ago in the opening minutes, a desultory first half was notable only for a series of spectacular collisions.
With a touch of anticipation, Etuhu, who scored in the 2-0 win over Wigan, would have headed in a second-minute free-kick by the returning Grant Leadbitter which caught Pompey sleeping.
But soon afterwards, team-mate Bardsley had to go off for treatment after colliding with keeper Gordon in his own area.
Later, a crashing three-way shunt in midfield between Kranjcar, Papa Bouba Diop and Sunderland skipper Dean Whitehead amazingly produced no serious casualties.
Defoe badly scuffed a chance wide for Pompey after a good ball in by Glen Johnson and was probably relieved to see an offside flag waving. Then Muntari, having made a mess of one free-kick, fired another from 25 yards just over the top.
Darryl Murphy's shot was blocked by Campbell and although there were the odd optimistic shouts for handball, referee Dowd was not interested.
Hermann Hreidarsson also headed wide but the first half was summed up by a yellow card for Pompey's Johnson who simply refused to stop arguing with the referee over being pulled up for a foul.
Coach Joe Jordan also seemed to get involved with the fourth official and was sent from the technical area by Dowd.
Defoe finally tested Gordon with a leaping half-volley to connect with Muntari's cross after the Ghanaian had motored down the right in the 51st minute.
Johnson, despite his first half tantrum, was a lively force for Pompey and his low shot had Gordon diving again.
Sunderland looked set to save a point but just when Pompey looked like running out of ideas, Kranjcar cut in from the left on his right foot and fell over the luckless Bardsley's outstretched boot.
Dowd, perfectly placed, pointed emphatically to the spot.
Defoe made no bones about stepping up to score his second goal in successive home games, drilling in from the spot with Gordon diving the wrong way.
Defoe could have added two more before the end, going close with right-foot shots, one of which he claimed hit a hand.
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||0|
|6||Shots off Target||2|
Barclays Premier League
|10||West Ham United||28||31|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||28||25|