Pompey cope well under no pressure at Burnley
By Site reporter
Saturday 27 Feb 2010 17:56:00
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Predictable, really. The pressure is off – virtually – and Pompey go and win their second away Premier League game in 15 months with a 2-1 success at Burnley.

Freddie Piquionne and Hassan Yebda scored a goal in each half and the Blues could even afford to miss a penalty as they completed the double over a mediocre Clarets side.


It was a win many saw coming -despite Pompey’s poor away record and Burnley’s creditable home form – after a week which saw the inevitable arrive at Fratton in the form of administration.

The pressure that had seen the team fail to win a single league game since December 19 was gone, and an enterprising display which could have ended with a more comfortable scoreline was the result.

The 900 fans who made the trip were rewarded for their loyalty in adversity with a rare win on the road and the sight of manager Avram Grant coming over to embrace them after the whistle.

Relegation is still a near certainty – with the nine point deduction set to be imposed on Tuesday, this win leaves Grant’s men with a total of 10 – 25 short of what they would probably need to survive. But if they are going down, they look like they are doing so with plenty of passion and pride. And you can’t really ask for more.

Pompey were the better side in the opening quarter of the match and Danny Webber had dragged one effort wide berfore being judged marginally offside as he converted a left-wing cross from Nadir Belhadj.

Pompey were ahead on 25 minutes. Webber struck a shot that was heading two yards wide until Piquionne steered it home at the far post.

The lead lasted just six minutes: from a Brian Jensen goal-kick, Steven Fletcher appeared to faintly flick the ball on into the area and Martin Paterson superbly lifted it over David James, who was rooted to his six-yard line.

The men in white came on strong again and Jamie O'Hara was denied by a post as he beat Jensen from 20 yards. Webber walloped a half-volley towards goal but Danny Fox threw his body in the way.

O'Hara should have put Pompey back ahead in the 55th minute when Clarke Carlisle fouled Piquionne, who was running away from goal, leaving Mark Clattenburg to point to the spot.

O'Hara’s kick wasn’t a bad one but Jensen dived the right way and saved.

Five minutes later, Paterson crossed for Fletcher, who had to score – but didn’t, heading over from five yards.

Carlisle gave away a second penalty in the 75th minute, pulling back substitute John Utaka after he had lost the ball inside his own area, earning himself a booking.

Yebda stepped up to show O’Hara and Pompey’s other penalty failures this season how it’s done, sending Jensen the wrong way for his second goal for the club – he also scored in Pompey’s other away win this season, at Wolves in October.

The home side dominated the final stages and they were helped when Ricardo Rocha was sent for two bookable offences – is he the first Pompey player to have been sent off more often than he has not been sent off?

But despite sending cross after cross into the Pompey area, James was never seriously troubled and it was Pompey’s players and fans who, after another unimaginably-tough week, had cause to celebrate.

Pompey: James, Finnan, Rocha, Hreidarsson, Belhadj, Wilson, Webber (Diop 90), O'Hara (Brown 90), Yebda,Owusu-Abeyie (Utaka 39), Piquionne. Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Mullins, Dindane, Kanu.

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