A big win was expected today for Aston Villa but Portsmouth had other things on their minds, they are already relegated and assured bottom place in the League but they have an FA Cup Final to look forward to at the end of the season and had plenty of players fighting for a place in that game today.
Villa exploded out of the blocks and looked to get at Pompy straight away but it was Portsmouth who grabbed the first goal when Brown placed a cooly struck shot past Friedel. Villa came back and just moments after Carew missed a great chance – striking a shot straight at the ‘keeper James from three yards – he redeemed himself by slipping through the Pompy defense and cracking in the equalizer.
Carew was up against James again before halftime when Aston Villa were handed a penalty and the Norwegian stepped up. He smashed the ball but didn’t get much direction behind it and James was there to push it away.
Aston Villa pushed for a winner and a much needed three points for their campaign for fourth, but they struggled for much of this game. Agbonlahor missed a fantastic chance on fifty-five minutes when a pointblank header was aimed straight at James, and Milner also tested the Pompy ‘keeper with a twenty-five yard strike on the hour mark.
With just ten minutes to play Villa finally found the goal they needed and it came from the foot of substituted Delfouneso who hadn’t even been on the pitch for two minutes. The ball was whipped into the box, flicked on by Heskey’s head, and the young striker was there at the back post to tap the ball in.
Villa saw the game out and celebrated a 2-1 win which pushes them above Liverpool and leaves them battling Tottenham and Manchester City for that fourth spot.
The sound bet of the game here was on a Villa win with just fifteen minutes to go when the prices were trading around 3/1. Portsmouth were visibly tired towards the end and although Villa seemed to lack that final touch, they were pushing for the goal and had the talent to get it.