League One side Southampton faced Premiership opposition in the form of local rivals Portsmouth as the biggest tie of this FA Cup fifth round kicked off early on Saturday afternoon.
With Portsmouth in financial disarray and struggling down at the bottom of the Premiership, Southampton would see this home tie as the ideal opportunity to get one over on their rivals and claim the bragging rights associated with all big derby games.
The game started brightly and as expected Southampton looked at ease against the Premier league opposition. The Saint’s tried to nick a quick goal early on as Lambert looked lively.
The first real chance fell to Southampton, with ten minutes gone Lambert found Waigo with a great cross but the forward failed to capitalize with a weak header. Utaka looked dangerous for Portsmouth upfront but the away team were creating few chances, not really testing the ‘keeper until twenty-three minutes when O’Hara struck a fierce shot from thirty yards which was pushed over the bar by Davis.
David James made an error from a corner on thirty-three minutes but Jaidi couldn’t take advantage of what was a great chance to open the scoring, the former England Goalkeeper made up for his mistake minutes later when a well constructed throw-in forced him into action to stop a Rickie Lambert header from finding its target.
Southampton ended the half on a high, coming close from a corner and looking impressive on the attack but they went in 0-0 at the break.
The second half began as the first ended and within minutes The Saints were testing David James again. A fantastic chance fell the way of Lallana who met an Antonio cross with a bullet header, but James saved well. Portsmouth were also looking to score though and moments later Dindane struck well from just outside the box, but his shot spun wide.
As the game heated up and that first goal became more important, Utaka tested Davis with a tame effort and Lallana tried an overhead kick which was saved easily at the other end. On the hour mark Lallana found himself with a chance in the box again but he couldn’t hit his shot strong enough and it rolled to James.
With twenty-five minutes to play the home crowd sunk when Portsmouth opened the scoring. Second half substitute Owusu-Abeyie neatly took a pass from Utaka and calmly curled the ball into the corner of the goal with a great deal of coolness and indifference. Southampton were certainly not going to sit back though and Saints Superstar Rickie Lambert equalized before the seventy-minute mark. He jumped well to meet a Hammond free-kick and the top goalscorer headed past David James to lift the roof off the stadium.
The goals kept on coming and with fifteen minutes left Portsmouth were back in front. Owusu-Abeyie slotted a through pass to Dindane who chipped the ball over Davis, it bounced off the Goalkeeper’s legs but found its way into the net, giving Pompy a 1-2 lead.
Barnard found the net with ten minutes to go but the celebrations were short, with the goal being rightly ruled as offside. With Southampton looking for the equalizer Portsmouth nipped up the field and made it 3-1. Belhadj was put clean through and the Algerian unsteadied Davis with a slight feint, before slipping the ball in for Pompy’s third.
The away side weren’t finished yet though and after another counterattack and a break down the left, a cross was knocked down by Owusu-Abeyie to O’Hara who smacked in the fourth.
A flattering result for Portsmouth in the end and one that didn’t reflect the game, one which could have easily gone the other way.