Pompey 1-0 Barnsley: King Kanu crowns Pompey another crucial three pointsBy: Mark | February 19th, 2011
Greg Halford’s free-kick was headed home by Kanu, who had come on as a substitute for Joel Ward after 70 minutes.
And the goal means that the Blues’ second crucial win in as many weeks sees them leap to 16th in the Championship table, and are now nine points clear of the relegation zone after more favourable results were recorded by the teams around them.
The visitors were restricted to just three efforts on goal, all of which were off target, as Pompey enjoyed a slight majority in possession.
Steve Cotterill started with new loan signing and namesake David Cotterill in midfield and Aaron Mokoena on the bench despite his work permit being renewed before the game.
The visitors also handed their new boy a debut with Paul McShane, on loan from Hull, at centre back. And it was they who started brighter with Danny Haynes flashing a shot over the bar.
A response was soon forthcoming from Pompey though as Luke Steele was forced to tip David Nugent’s shot around the post.
Dave Kitson also threatened, having previosuly been tipped by his manager to get back amongst the goals soon, his shot wide of the left hand post followed by a headed effort sent over the bar showed that may be coming true after his brave headed goal last week.
Haynes tried his luck again to no avail, before Pompey were forced to withdraw Liam Lawrence on 40 minutes, replacing him with Mokoena and changing the Blues’ shape.
Frank Nouble nodded wide for Barnsley and Mokoena shot over before referee Roger Easy blew for half-time.
Mr East was a far busier man in the second half as the game became very scrappy with both sides in need of three points.
McShane and Haynes both went into the book before the hour mark as Kitson again forced Steele into action.
Hermann Hreidarsson joined the Barnsley duo in the referee’s notebook as Cotterill continued a regular supply of crosses, without any team mates finding a finish.
And as Barnsley boss Mark Robins made a double change as Kanu was introduced by Steve Cotterill in an attempt to break the deadlock.
Pompey had to withstand a spell of pressure from the visitors though with Keiran Trippier sending in deliveries from the wing which were dealt with by Jamie Ashdown and Ricardo Rocha as both Ritchie De Laet and Kitson were both booked.
But with 83 minutes on the clock Mokoena was fouled by Jacob Butterfield, and Halford’s delivery was met by super-sub Kanu and Pompey had the lead.
The Blues admirably tried to make sure of the win by pressing home their advantage and Kitson then Hreidarsson both called Steele into action once more.
And as the home crowd grew hopeful of a first home win in eight matches Dave Nugent almost put icing on the cake but he rolled his one-on-one chance wide.
The win is a vital one though, with Preston and Scunthorpe drawing and Sheffield United losing out to Crystal Palace Pompey have pulled further clear of the bottom three.
And today’s three points coupled with Bristol City’s defeat to Leicester on Friday night and Derby and Doncaster’s inability to win today means Pompey are now in 16th place, and six points off the top half of the table.