Premier League Era: The Top 25 (15-10)
The best matches, players and goals of Pompey's Premier League era. (15-11) Whilst Andrew Andronikou vents his spleen about a Ukrainian group supposedly pulling out of a deal to buy Pompey, let's remember happier times with numbers 15-10 of Pompey's greatest Premier League matches, players and goals.TOP 25 MATCHES (15-11)#15: West Bromwich Albion 2 Portsmouth 0 (15th May 2005)Yes, that's right, a defeat makes the top 15 of the best of Pompey's Premier League games. Why? Because you'll probably never see a more surreal atmosphere at a football match where a group of fans wants their team to lose!The scenario was set: Pompey were safe and had absolutely nothing to play for whilst Albion had to win and hope the three teams above them didn't to secure an unlikely Premiership survival.Having played second fiddle to Southampton to years, Pompey fans were desperate to see the Scummers relegated and a Pompey defeat would force the Saints to beat Manchester United at home, which they failed to do anyway.Geoff Horsfield and Keiran Richardson got the goals in a 2-0 win for the Baggies and Southampton's relegation was confirmed, sparking the most astonishing celebrations on the pitch from both sets of supporters who shared the joy of Albion's success and Southampton's demise.#14: Portsmouth 2 Manchester City 1 (11th March 2006)This game will simply be remembered for two special strikes from a certain Miguel Pedro Mendes that sparked a revival of Pompey's fortunes and their own Great Escape from relegation.The game itself was a tense, nervy affair but Mendes blasted Pompey in front with a superb long range strike. However, the nerves would not settle and it looked like all hope was lost when Richard Dunne headed in an 83rd minute equaliser.Those who didn't give up hope stayed and got behind the team for one final roll of the dice. It looked all over until Mendes fired in another cracker of a goal from 30 yards to spark the most crazy celebrations around Fratton Park.You all know the rest....#13: Portsmouth 6 Leeds United 1 (8th November 2003)This match will be remembered for one of the most devastating displays of attacking football from a Pompey side that I had ever seen.Dejan Stefanovic put Pompey ahead after 17 minutes but Alan Smith equalised two minutes later and matched Pompey until Gary O'Neil's long range deflected shot regained the lead right before the break.Leeds fell apart in the second half as goals from Hayden Foxe, Patrik Berger, O'Neil and Yakubu sealed the most humiliating defeat in Leeds' Premier League history. Peter Reid resigned after the match, citing the second half as the worst half of football he has ever had in his career.#12: Portsmouth 2 Manchester United 0 (30th October 2004)United arrived at Fratton Park having just ended Arsenal's 49 game unbeaten run and were expected to put themselves back in the title race with a win over Pompey.Instead, after Sir Alex Ferguson's men had missed a whole host of chances, Rio Ferdinand's error led to Gabriel Heinze tripping Ricardo Fuller in the box. After Ferdinand's hissy fit, David Unsworth smashed in the penalty and Yakubu made the game safe with a late second goal.United were beaten at Fratton Park for the second time in a year and left Portsmouth with their tails between their legs once again.#11: Portsmouth 7 Reading 4 (27th September 2007)This game looked like it would be a rout after Benjani tapped in Utaka's cross and then scored again following a run through the Reading defence.Marcus Hahnemann made a top class save to stop Glen Johnson making it 3-0 and we had numerous other chances to be out of sight before half time. Instead, Reading pulled a scrappy goal back out of nowhere through Stephen Hunt and then right at the start of the second half David James came rushing out of his goal but got nowhere near Dave Kitson who passed him and slotted the ball into an empty net.Papa Bouba Diop's diving header would have gave us the lead again if he wasn't wrongly judged to be offside, but we did score again as Sylvain Distin ran down the left wing and crossed for Hermann Hreidarsson to head in his first goal for the club.But before the crowd could regain their breath Diop was penalised for handball in the box and Reading were given a penalty. David James saved Nicky Shorey's effort as the Pompey fans were in raptures and Matt Taylor was booked for dissent despite warming up as a substitute!Sulley Muntari then played a nice through ball to Benjani who took the ball past Hahnemann and put the ball in the net to complete his hat-trick. Niko Kranjcar then headed in Sean Davis' cross from close range to make the score 5-2 and kill Reading off........or so we thought but James Harper's volley deflected off of Shane Long to make the score 5-3. It was soon 6-3 after Sean Davis' strike deflected off Ivar Ingimarsson and then Kranjcar was tripped by Rosenior and Muntari rifled in the penalty to score the last home league goal for Pompey for the rest of 2007.It was Reading who had the final say as Nicky Shorey's drive came off of Sol Campbell and was diverted into the net in stoppage time. 7-4 it finished as all fans coming out of the ground couldn't believe what they had just seen! Pompey wouldn't score a home league again for the rest of the year.TOP 25 PLAYERS (15-11)#15: Steve StoneThe veteran may have had his injury problems but he gave the team natural width on the right of the pitch when he played. He could whip in a decent cross and scored a fair few important goals for us too. He was released after 04/05 season and we haven't managed to replace him since...#14: Arjan De ZeeuwGood old 'Arry became an instant hit at Fratton Park for his commitment and his dominant performances in the air. He was always willing to throw his body in front of any goalbound strikes and was sorely missed when he left for Wigan.He is now back in his homeland working for the regional Police force as an investigative detective, having had a change of heart from becoming a doctor.#13: Gary O'NeilGary always showed his promise as a youngster and began to fulfil his potential when Harry Redknapp left the club, taking his place in the first team and being the outstanding player in the side during the 05/06 season.Unfortunately his career never did hit the heights that some expected of him and he was sold to Middlesbrough in the summer of 2007, but he would surely be welcomed back here if the opportunity were to come about.#12: Hermann HreidarssonIf he does end up leaving, the crazy man from Iceland would have made his mark on the club after signing on a free transfer from Charlton.An underwhelming signing at the time, the Hermannator went to make the left back position his own added a solidarity to the back four. He also popped up with the odd goal here and there to further enhance his popularity with the Pompey fans. I hope he stays.#11: Lomana LuaLuaAt times he was extremely frustrating, but when he was on his game he was virtually unplayable thanks to his pace and trickery that had defences bamboozled.He will be remembered for his flamboyant celebrations but his performances were especially important during the great escape run of 2006 but his most memorable game is surely against Southampton where he scored twice before injuring himself.TOP 25 GOALS (15-11)#15: Pedro Mendes vs West Ham United (A) (18th March 2006)Having scored two belters against City the week before, Mendes had the audacity to try it again at Upton Park, and it worked. Jimmy Walker could only grasp thin air as the ball flew past him at high velocity and into the top corner of the net.#14: Sulley Muntari vs Aston Villa (A) (8th December 2007)The Villa defence made a huge mistake in deciding to stand off Muntari and let him come forward. The Ghanian found some space and curled in a screamer from 25 yards that stunned Villa Park. He would go on to score an even better goal later in the match.#13: Niko Kranjcar vs Birmingham City (A) (24th November 2007)You won't see a much sweeter free kick than this. Having been brought down at a difficult angle around 25 yards out, nobody at St. Andrews expected him to curl in a perfect free kick into the top corner of the net.They should have known better.#12: Pedro Mendes (1st Goal) vs Manchester City (H) (11th March 2006)Everyone has probably watched this goal 1,000 times over, everyone except David James that is. I wonder if Mendes ever reminded Jamo about this goal when he joined Pompey the following season?"Hey Dave, do you remember when I smashed that 30 yard screamer past you? Didn't expect me to do it again, did you!?"#11: Niko Kranjcar vs Fulham (A) (31st March 2007)This goal was simply beautiful. After taking one touch, the Croatian caught Antti Niemi off his line and curled in a spectacular goal, making the ex-Saints and Pompey 'keeper look foolish.Niko's first Pompey goal deserved to win the game but Ian Pearce ruined it with a deflected stoppage time equaliser.
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