Yakubu nudges Pompey home

Last updated at 08:41 19 October 2004

Aiyegbeni Yakubu trumped Tottenham with a 62nd minute header for his fifth goal of the season to take away Jacques Santini's side's tag of meanest away side in the Barclays Premiership.

The Nigerian's header was only the second against Spurs on their travels this season and it came after Pompey manager Harry Redknapp gambled on fielding three strikers at Fratton Park.

He moved Lomana LuaLua out to the right wing to accommodate substitute Ricardo Fuller as Yakubu's sidekick in the middle.

And the former Newcastle player's cross paved the way for the goal with Yakubu out-jumping the big Spurs defenders.

Tottenham would have climbed to fourth in the table with a win but their functional style did not provide enough scoring chances until the closing minutes when they in tossed Fredi Kanoute and Michael Carrick into the mix.

For Pompey it was their third win of the campaign, having taken just one point from the previous three games, and their greater sense of adventure merited victory.

Even a goal to the good, boss Redknapp brought on a fourth striker in record signing Diomansy Kamara for the last phase of the game.

Spurs were calmly in control early on when the lively Pedro Mendes shot over from 20 yards after setting up Simon Davies to strike a low shot that Shaka Hislop comfortably saved.

Then Davies made a clever run to meet a Mendes chip forward and headed not far over the bar under pressure but it was Portsmouth who carved out the best chances before the break.

Pompey pressure

England goalkeeper Paul Robinson made a brave save to deny Yakubu after Patrik Berger's pass put the Nigerian through in the 11th minute although the striker should have done better with his shot.

Robinson pushed it far enough away to make a follow-up chance difficult and Eyal Berkovic blazed it over the top.

Yakubu had another opportunity 10 minutes later when Anthony Gardner, filling in for injured Erik Edman, was caught out at left-back and LuaLua slipped the ball through, but under challenge from Noe Pamarot the striker tripped over his own feet.

Berger, who scored twice when Spurs last visited Fratton Park on Boxing Day, and Berkovic were the main creative forces for Pompey.

Spurs continued to have the edge in possession but there was yet another opening on 24 minutes for the home side when Yakubu pulled the ball back from the left and Berger, with little space to work in, fired a cracker from 10 yards.

Television replays showed Robinson got an important touch that turned it over the bar but he was also indebted to some full-stretch defending which kept out LuaLua and Nigel Quashie before the break.

Spurs had to wait for chances

It was not until a minute before the break that Spurs created a real chance when England striker Jermain Defoe took a fresh-air shot at Robbie Keane's pass eight yards out.

The irony for Santini's side was that they came unstuck after upping the tempo at the start of the second half.

Defoe, who had been barely noticed before the interval, tested Hislop with a fierce shot and then drove just over before Gardner's header from a Michael Brown free-kick came back off a post.

But Pompey went for broke by sending on sub Fuller to form a three-pronged attack with Yakubu and LuaLua and the newcomer almost immediately set up a goal for Berger who made space from the Jamaican's clever touch but fired wide.

In the 62nd minute LuaLua, despite his admitted dislike for a wide role, provided the perfect cross for Yakubu to out-jump the big Tottenham defenders and head home his fifth goal of the season.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery and Santini carbon-copied Redknapp's ploy by sending on Kanoute to partner Defoe and Robbie Keane in attack for the last eight minutes.

He also brought on Carrick for his Spurs debut - to the inevitable sound of jeers after he turned down Pompey to sign for Spurs.

But the Pompey boss had another potential trump to play, sending on Diomansy Kamara for Yakubu and the Senegalese striker almost put his name on the scoresheet with a shot on the turn that slipped just wide.