Fulham edge out Pompey
A deflected effort early in the game was enough to see Fulham run out 1-0 winners over Portsmouth.
Last Updated: 15/08/09 6:07pm
A deflected effort early in the game was enough to see Fulham run out 1-0 winners over Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
Portsmouth made the better start to the match, but Fulham took the lead in the 13th minute when a speculative effort from Clint Dempsey took a big deflection from Bobby Zamora to elude David James.
The hosts then struggled to create chances as they looked to find a way back into the match and it was Andrew Johnson who had the best chance in the second half as he blazed a free shot wide of the posts.
Prospective new Pompey owner Sulaiman Al-Fahim was caught up in traffic but arrived in the stands just in time see the winning goal.
Portsmouth had been on the front foot at the start of the match, but Fulham took the lead inside a quarter of an hour with the first real incident of note.
Dempsey set his sights on goal from 25 yards, and his effort struck Zamora on the back before spinning past James and creeping inside the far post.
Things could have become worse for Pompey when Danny Murphy's free-kick found Zamora at the far post, but James - who had missed England's midweek friendly in Holland after undergoing shoulder surgery - tipped the header over the bar.
Pompey got back on top, though, and, when Nadir Belhadj fed debutant Frederic Piquionne, the Frenchman forced Mark Schwarzer into a low save with a drive from a tight angle.
Niko Kranjcar then lifted a free-kick over the bar from a dangerous position, and Belhadj should have levelled when Kranjcar's corner found him unmarked - but the left-back totally missed his header.
There was a bizarre incident when an eager ball boy ran on to the pitch to collect a slack Brede Hangeland pass before it had left the field, but Fulham sportingly gave the drop-ball straight back to James.
Pompey fashioned a chance to equalise early in the second half after work from Piquionne down the right flank. The ball was pulled back to Hayden Mullins, who picked out Younes Kaboul on the edge of the penalty area, but his finish was lifted over the bar.
While he struggled to provide an end product, Piquionne could not be faulted for effort - he raced down the left from Kranjcar's pass but when he crossed there was no support from the midfield.
Kranjcar had an attempt himself on the hour, but his drive was too high, and he was also inches away from a Belhadj cross.
But Pompey were always one step from self destruction, which was the case when Wilson missed a simple clearance from Zamora's cross.
Fortunately for the young centre-back, Andrew Johnson planted his finish wide when he had plenty of time.
Hart responded by bringing on Kanu, who has just signed a one-month deal at Pompey, but the veteran could not earn his side a point.Late on, Kaboul headed over the bar when Schwarzer looked vulnerable and substitute David Nugent, who was jeered by supporters after being disciplined by the club in pre-season, also lifted an effort over.
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|2||Shots on Target||2|
|11||Shots off Target||8|