Brighton & Hove Albion 3 Portsmouth 1
By Tim Hodges at Withdean
The magnificent Albion steam train charges, appearing to run down everything in its path.
This was Albion’s first test against higher opposition this season and Portsmouth were duly dispatched in the same vein as Peterborough, Charlton and Leyton Orient.
It was obvious from the kick-off that Pompey were going to try to rattle their opponents early on.
However, it was last season’s FA Cup runners up who were soon rattled.
From a Portsmouth corner Albion’s player of the season elect Adam Al Ebd had a shoving match with Pompey’s .
Not content with this and in full view of the referee, Dave Kitson then slugged Al Abd with a right hook that Chris Eubank could only dream of.
Kitson then had endure the longest of long walks from the east end penalty area to the dressing room.
The Albion then seized the initiative with 22 feet and soon after had a goal disallowed for offside.
Elliott Bennett was first to try, forcing a great save from Portsmouth keeper Jamie Ashdown with a fierce 25-yard drive.
Then as Albion maintained possession Mauricio Tarrico floated in a great cross which on loan Chris Wood smashed home for 1-0.
Portsmouth looked rattled – and they were rattled again from another Tarrico cross to Ashley Barnes who hit the crossbar with a great header.
Then from out of nowhere Matt Sparrow unleashed a spectacular dipping volley, which Ashdown did well to turn over the bar.
At the other end David Nugent and Nwankwo Kanu were being well marshalled by El Abd and Tommy Elphick, with Kanu becoming increasingly frustrated.
In a two-minute period Portsmouth appeared to have Liam Lawrence, Kanu and Nugent all booked.
Then from a Sparrow free-kick Ibrahima Sonko almost punched the ball clear.
As Gus Poyet hid behind the home dugout not daring to look, Barnes made it 2-0 with a perfect penalty right on half time.
The second half saw the introduction of Portsmouth’s Icelandic international Hermann Hreidarsson, who had an interesting second-half battle with Barnes.
The Albion went in search of a third goal in the second period and to their credit Pompey, mainly in the form of Nugent, created a few chances.
Portsmouth used three of their four substitutes and Fran Sandaza and Chris Holroyd replaced Glenn Murray and Chris Wood for the Albion.
It was Portsmouth substitute Tom Kilbey who gave Albion a scare as he netted with two minutes left.
But it was super sub Sandaza, with two bites at a Barnes cross, who restored Albion’s two-goal cushion at the very end, to round off Albion’s first and last FA Cup 3rd round win at Withdean.
Albion: Brezovan; Taricco, Elphick, El-Abd, Painter; Kishishev, Sparrow, Bennett; Murray, Wood, Barnes. Subs: Poke, Dicker, Holroyd, Sandaza, Smith, Bridcutt, Dunk.
Portsmouth: Ashdown; Ward, Mokoena, Sonko, Dickinson; Nugent, Lawrence, Mullins, Utaka; Kitson, Kanu. Subs: Flahavan, Ciftci, Hreidarsson, Kilbey.
Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)
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