'Billy' bags late goal to sink Pompey

09 May 2010 06:42
Everton's Diniyar Bilyaletdinov fired home a stunning injury-time winner to send Portsmouth out of the Premier League as gallant 1-0 losers.[LNB] The Russian substitute struck from distance in the fourth minute of time added on, just as relegated Pompey looked to be bowing out of the top flight with a creditable draw.[LNB]Victory was no more than the Toffees deserved after they squandered a multitude of chances at Goodison Park but Pompey - who at least have the FA Cup final to look forward to at the end of a dismal season - could feel aggrieved.[LNB]Anthony Vanden Borre appeared to score a perfectly good goal in the second half only to have it ruled out for offside.[LNB]Until Bilyaletdinov's late intervention, Portsmouth's fans had cheered the loudest throughout the game.[LNB]Despite the sadness of their plight, the visiting supporters, some of them in fancy dress, turned up in the mood to party at the end of a seven-year spell in the top flight.[LNB]Their constant singing - tinged with gallows humour over their uncertain future - was a credit to the south coast club and they will at least get one last hurrah next weekend.[LNB]With this afternoon's result counting little for either side, Avram Grant used what reports claim could be his last league match in charge of Portsmouth to rest goalkeeper David James.[LNB]The England international was a notable omission as Grant made five changes, although a lengthy injury list limited him to just six substitutes.[LNB]The presence of the inspirational Jamie O'Hara on the bench, after four games out with a back injury, was at least a bonus.[LNB]Jamie Ashdown took James' place while Ricardo Rocha, Hayden Mullins, Papa Bouba Diop and Marc Wilson also came into the Pompey side.[LNB]Everton, who knew they would finish eighth regardless of the result, were without Tim Cahill due to a minor groin strain and Mikel Arteta replaced the injured Phil Neville as captain.[LNB]Steven Pienaar and Jack Rodwell, whose future remains the subject of speculation, both returned.[LNB]It soon seemed Pompey were in for a long afternoon as Everton, looking to finish with a flourish after falling short of a European place, carved out five chances within the opening six minutes.[LNB]Tony Hibbert got a sight of goal but Rocha managed to put behind and Arteta then had a dangerous cross headed to safety by Diop.[LNB]Louis Saha headed narrowly over from a Leighton Baines cross and Arteta shot tamely at Ashdown after being set up by Victor Anichebe.[LNB]Ashdown was in action again as Rodwell met a Hibbert cross but the keeper dealt comfortably with his header.[LNB]Pompey's first chance came against the run of play after 10 minutes as John Utaka curled a free-kick over.[LNB]The visitors went close again as Frederic Piquionne raced on to a Boateng through ball and got the better of Phil Jagielka but Tim Howard blocked as he cut inside to shoot.[LNB]Arteta then forced a good low save from Ashdown with a shot from the edge of the box and Rodwell side-footed wide from inside the area after a good run by Hibbert.[LNB]Piquionne had another chance after a quick break but shot straight at Howard from distance.[LNB]Anichebe burst into the box just before half-time after a neat turn on the 18-yard line but fired left-footed into the side-netting.[LNB]Ayegbeni Yakubu replaced Rodwell in the 54th minute and was immediately into the action, shooting straight at Ashdown from the edge of the area.[LNB]Portsmouth thought they had taken the lead just before the hour but saw the goal harshly ruled out for offside.[LNB]Piquionne took advantage of a slip from former Portsmouth defender Sylvain Distin to skip into the area and coolly take the ball around Howard.[LNB]Distin recovered to block his cross but the ball rebounded to substitute O'Hara and his scuffed shot was turned in by Vanden Borre at the far post.[LNB]Vanden Borre was clearly behind at least two Everton players but referee Peter Walton and his assistant remarkably thought differently.[LNB]Leon Osman found an opening for Everton with nine minutes remaining but his long-range effort was deflected over by Mullins.[LNB]Saha met the resulting corner with a firm header but Mullins was again on hand to clear off the line.[LNB]Everton continued to press to the end and Hibbert blasted just over and Saha was inches away from connecting with a cross.[LNB]Pompey looked to have weathered the storm, but with four minutes of injury time almost over, Bilyaletdinov curled in a superb left-footed winner from 30 yards.

Source: Team_Talk