Pompey - Albion 2-2 (1-0) 08/09

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Struggling sides Portsmouth and West Brom shared the spoils following an entertaining encounter at Fratton Park.

The home side took the lead through Younes Kaboul who fired high into the net from 12 yards.

West Brom equalised after the break when Jonathan Greening placed his six-yard shot past a helpless David James.

The Baggies then took the lead when Chris Brunt smashed in a free-kick from 25 yards before Niko Kranjcar's 30-yard strike won Pompey a precious point.

For Paul Hart's men, who began the day three points off the relegation zone, the point will improve immensely valuable but bottom-of-the-table West Brom will feel they missed a huge chance to gain a priceless win.

There were chances galore on a rain-soaked afternoon at Fratton Park, thanks to a combination of great attacking verve and poor defending from both sides.

Kaboul gave a spirited display at right-back, foraging forward at any opportunity.

He gave the Baggies defence an early warning of his attacking intent when he fizzed in a low shot from the angle of the 18-yard box which flashed past the post.

But Portsmouth's defence like West Brom's has looked porous in recent months and during the game Pompey's backline was tested on several occasions by their opponents.

Both Robert Koren and James Morrison forced goalkeeper James into making good saves, although the England international could not get close to Brunt's low drive that shaved the post just before the break.

By that time Portsmouth had taken the lead when Kaboul collected a flick from Jermaine Pennant, nutmegged Greening, before smashing in a left-footed effort high past Scott Carson.

Despite going a goal down, West Brom, who started the day eight points from safety, showed enough potency in attack to suggest that they could come away from the south coast with at least a point.

And after Gianni Zuiverloon had stung James' palms with low shot, they finally found the net.

Zuiverloon's ball into the area deflected off a Portsmouth player goalwards towards James who deemed the ball to be a backpass.

His clearance fell to Morrison whose shot was palmed away by James but only as far as Greening who fired in from six yards.

West Brom, who had not won a match this season after going behind, then did the unimaginable - they went ahead.

It was former Sheffield Wednesday player Brunt who gave Tony Mowbray's side the lead, rifling in a 25-yard free-kick through the wall and past a rooted James.

But the Baggies conceded their 59th goal of the season a minute later, when Kranjcar curled in a delightful free-kick of his own from 30 yards.

Both sides pressed for a winner, with Portsmouth's Peter Crouch going closest with a shot well saved by Carson, but at the final whistle neither team were left no more certain of their Premier League futures.

 


Pompey boss Paul Hart:
"We didn't play well today and it would be wrong to say otherwise, but we've come out of it with a draw.

"We've moved up two places and 10 points from seven games is the best run we've had since October.

"We're not sprinting our way over the line, we're crawling. But if that's what we need to do then we'll crawl."

West Brom manager Tony Mowbray:
"We've been here for a long time. We need to win at Manchester City and get on with it.

"The fans deserve a team that is playing for them right until the death and I think they are getting that.

"The desire and the commitment of the players is clearly still there."

 


Portsmouth: James, Kaboul, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Pennant (Gekas 90), Mullins, Hughes, Nugent (Belhadj 64), Kranjcar, Crouch.
Subs Not Used: Begovic, Pamarot, Kanu, Utaka, Basinas.

Booked: Hreidarsson, Kranjcar, Kaboul.

Goals: Kaboul 33, Kranjcar 65.

West Brom: Carson, Zuiverloon (Hoefkens 77), Meite, Olsson, Robinson, Morrison (Chris Woods 75), Greening, Koren, Dorrans, Brunt (Mulumbu 81), Fortune.
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Menseguez, Borja Valero, Simpson.

Booked: Dorrans.

Goals: Greening 48, Brunt 62.

Att: 20,376

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).

 


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: West Brom's Graham Dorrans on 7.67 (on 90 minutes).