Date: 19th August 2006 at 5:22pm
Written by:

Pompey handed starts to David James, Glen Johnson and Sol Campbell, as the season got underway at Fratton Park with a 3-0 win over Blackburn Rovers, to top the league, albeit briefly…

Svetoslav Todorov opened the scoring in the first half. Kanu, Todorov’s replacement, doubled the lead with a debut goal before Lucas Neill saw red for his second booking. Kanu wrapped up the game with his second and Pompey’s third, before having a late penalty saved as Andy Todd also received his marching orders.

Matty Taylor would have the first effort of the day fro Pompey, his 35-yard free kick drilled wide of Brad Friedel`s left hand post.

A few minutes later Robbie Savage would test David James with a free kick of his own, his 20-yard effort tipped wide for a Blackburn corner.

Just after the first booking of the afternoon, picked up by Taylor, Benjani, who was unexpected to be fit enough to play would have his first shot of the day, but would be unable to test Friedel.

Taylor would again be involved with the next effort Pompey would have on goal, his cross would find O`Neil who would unleash an effort that wouldn`t really trouble Friedel.

The moment the Fratton faithful had been waiting for arrived on 25 minutes. Benjani`s run down the right would end up with him pulling the ball back to strike partner Svetoslav Todorov who finished from six yards. The fans went wild!

A minute later Sol Campbell would have his first attempt at goal in a Pompey shirt, his header from a Sean Davis free-kick would be parried by the far busier of the two ‘keepers Friedel.

On the half hour a barrage of Pompey pressure would ensue. Firstly the head of Linvoy Primus would meet Davis` free kick, but Michael Gray would block his effort. The resulting corner would again see Campbell get another header on goal, which would be blocked again, this time by Lucas Neill for another corner. Savage would clear Taylor`s centre to safety.

Davis would have Pompey`s last effort on goal of the first half, but his long-range effort failed to trouble American Friedel. There would however be time enough for two Blackburn efforts, the first a header by Savage safely claimed by James, the second drawing a good challenge from Sol Campbell to deny Steven Reid.

Morten Gamst Pedersen`s header from a Steven Reid cross would provide the second half`s first chance, but James gathered comfortably.

The first of two Matty Taylor efforts in the opening 10 minutes of the second half would be a 30 yarder over the top, the second, from much closer saved easily by Friedel.

Todorov`s last involvement of the game before being replaced by Kanu`s for his debut, would see him caught offside

Almost immediately Kanu would start his Pompey career with a goal. Sean Davis` cross would find the head of the Nigerian who powered home a header.

Things got worse for Blackburn as a 63rd minute foul on Kanu saw Lucas Neill dismissed for his second bookable offence, seeing the visitors reduced to 10 men.

With the game effectively won half chances would come and go for Benjani and Mendes, but Friedel would prove to be hardly troubled by either.

Yet another Taylor effort would force Friedel to tip his effort round the post for a corner however as the final ten minutes approached.

Despite little real threat from Blackburn all afternoon, with ten minutes remaining any lingering doubts that victory was Pompey`s were quashed as Kanu would head his second, and Pompey`s third, again Davis providing the assist with his cross.

Benjani, who had a good game, would shot over the bar before being replaced by David Thompson, who would also now make his competitive debut for Pompey with time running out.

As the game entered injury time Blackburn captain Andy Todd would be dismissed for a professional foul on Kanu, giving the Nigerian the chance for a dream 30 minute debut hat trick! It wasn`t to be as Brad Friedel guessed correctly and saved the spot kick.

Blackburn surprisingly offered very little threat, but we will more than happily settle for that, and a win, 3-0 at that even better. The win represents our first over Rovers at Fratton in the Premiership.

My tip for player to watch Kanu, even though I expected him to start with Benjani reportedly out injured, didn`t let me down. Although I wasn`t at the game he clearly had an impact on it, and appeared to cause Blackburn problems after his arrival.

A great way to start the season, let`s hope for more, continuing at Manchester City on Wednesday night, PLAY UP POMPEY!!!

Goals
Pompey – Todorov 26, Kanu 62, 80 (Missed Pen 90)
Blackburn Rovers –

David James
Glen Johnson
Linvoy Primus
Sol Campbell
Dejan Stefanovic (c)
Gary O’Neil
Pedro Mendes
Sean Davis
Matty Taylor
Benjani (David Thompson 87)
Svetoslav Todorov (Kanu 59)


Substitutes Not Used
Nick Jordan
Richard Hughes
Noe Pamarot