Bournemouth battle back to see off spirited Portsmouth

Saturday 30 Jan 2016
Marc Pugh celebrates his winner for Bournemouth

Sub Marc Pugh spoiled Portsmouth's chances of blowing a massive hole in the 2016 Emirates FA Cup storyline with the 82nd-minute winner that earned Bournemouth a nerve-jangling 2-1 victory.

Pugh scrambled the ball home from close range to end a frenetic goalmouth melee and snatch a place in the fifth round, breaking gallant Portsmouth's hearts along the way.

Portsmouth 1-2 AFC Bournemouth

Emirates FA Cup
Fourth round
Fratton Park
Saturday 30 January 2016
Winning sides receive £90,000 from The FA prize fund

For until Josh King popped up with The Cherries' 70th-minute equaliser with a flicked header, their League Two opponents were the better team and well worthy of a 43rd-minute lead established by Gary Roberts. 

Bournemouth made 10 changes from the Premier League line-up at Sunderland – and how it showed.

In the end Eddie Howe's mid-second half changes did the trick with Pugh and Matt Ritchie introduced to produce much-needed class and guile.

Make no mistake – they were struggling until those vital substitutions clicked into place.

Gary Roberts taps home for Portsmouth against Bournemouth

Gary Roberts taps home for Portsmouth against Bournemouth

Roberts' strike, a belter of a shot from 10 yards, had Pompey fans first catching their breath as he maneuvered into position to convert Marc McNulty's cross from the right. 

The home contingent soon released their unbounded joy as Roberts wheeled away, thanking Ben Close and Kyle Bennett for their part in an astute build-up.

This was a deserved lead for Portsmouth, whose carpet football more than matched the Cherries' own bid to stroke the ball around.

Many had expected the League Two side to give Bournemouth, for whom Adam Smith was the only survivor from the draw at Sunderland, a decent game.

But maybe not this good. For Paul Cook's side were waving and certainly not drowning in this south coast derby.

McNulty got the ball rolling with a cracking 20-yarder after just seven minutes. His effort was wide but it finished a polished nine-man move and when Sylvain Distin's slip let in Roberts to supply a decent cross it was a sign of things to come in the first half.

Josh King second left watches his shot roll into the Portsmouth net

Adam Federici next expertly turned another McNulty drive to safety with a commendable 19th-minute save as the Pompey midfield engine continued to fire with Ben Close in full control.

Talk about a fall from grace – and a phoenix from the flames: Portsmouth, FA Cup winners in 2008, made Wembley again two years later only to lose to Chelsea while Bournemouth were securing promotion from League Two.

How the tables have turned.

Former Pompey man Distin was a rock at the back but little went right ahead of him with Juan Iturbe, on loan from Roma, having a poor time of it.

However, the Argentinian almost came good after 28 minutes with an 18-yard drive that Ryan Fulton, called into real action for the first time, pushed the ball on to his left-hand post. 

Pompey also made a smashing start to the second half with Roberts again in the thick of it in taking a bobbly pass from Bennett and shooting just wide on the angle.

The truth was, amid tremendous sympathy for the underdogs, Portsmouth were outstripping the Cherries with their infectious performing arts – way above the level normally expected of a lower league side.

Bournemouth's Lewis Grabban, struggling to make any impact alongside Glenn Murray, finally put a mini-mark on the game with a shot over the bar after the ineffective Murray had been replaced by Matt Ritchie.

But King did provide an answer to Pompey's dominance with a 70th-minute leveller from Eunan O'Kane's free kick. King rose above the home defence to flick the ball home in front of the massed away support.

And then Pugh had the final say.

The Cherries have not reached the fifth round since 1989 when they lost in a replay against Manchester United at Old Trafford. In fact, Bournemouth have only managed to reach the fifth round on two other occasions (1929 and 1957).

Maybe this is their year?

Portsmouth (4-2-3-1): Ryan Fulton; Ben Davies, Matt Clarke, Christian Burgess, Enda Stevens; Ben Close, Michael Doyle; Gary Roberts, Adam McGurk, Kyle Bennett; Marc McNulty.   

Substitutes: Gareth Evans for Roberts 61, Adam Webster for Burgess 61, Ben Tollitt for McGurk 75

Subs not used: Paul Jones, Karl Naismith, Conor Chaplin, Adam Barton

Goal: Roberts 43

Bournemouth (4-4-2): Adam Federici; Adam Smith, Tommy Elphick, Sylvain Distin, Baily Cargill; Juan Iturbe, Eunan O’Kane, Shaun MacDonald, Josh King; Lewis Grabban, Glenn Murray.  

Subs: Matt Ritchie for Murray 61, Marc Pugh for Iturbe 61, Simon Francis for Elphick 75.

Subs not used: Ryan Allsop, Matt Butcher, Jack Simpson, Josh Wakefield 

Referee: Mike Dean

Attendance: 18,901

Emirates FA Cup highlights: Portsmouth 1-2 AFC Bournemouth


By Geoff Sweet Reporter