Bournemouth fight back to knock out Portsmouth

Date published: Saturday 30th January 2016 4:54

Josh King: Celebrates his equaliser for Bournemouth

Josh King: Celebrates his equaliser for Bournemouth

Joshua King and Marc Pugh saved Bournemouth’s blushes in scrambling a 2-1 FA Cup fourth-round victory at League Two side Portsmouth.

Boss Eddie Howe got away with making 10 changes from the 1-1 Premier League draw at Sunderland – but only just.

Gary Roberts’ strike put a dominant Portsmouth into a deserved 1-0 half-time lead, only for Howe’s re-jig on the hour to turn the tie on its head.

Howe sacrificed the ineffectual Glenn Murray and the inconsistent Juan Iturbe, and pushed King through the middle in a switch that sent Bournemouth into the fifth round for the first time since 1989.

The men from the bottom tier of the Football League – FA Cup winners during their Premier League days in 2008 – spent the first half dominating their top-flight foes. At that point they were moving the ball – and Bournemouth – around with ease.

The hosts coaxed and cajoled, kept the ball on the ground to build some attractive attacks, then converted their best opening just before the break.

The excellent Marc McNulty headed Kyle Bennett into space, and he returned the favour to ease McNulty into the Portsmouth area.

The Sheffield United loanee then slid a fine ball across the box to the lurking – and criminally unmarked – Roberts.

Roberts steadied amid the muddied turf, and after an apparent age, buried the opener past a helpless Adam Federici.


Gary Roberts Portsmouth v Bournemouth

Matt Clarke ought to have doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time, but was unable to contort himself to reach a smart left-wing cross.

Bournemouth had precious little to toast from a muddled half. Eunan O’Kane’s cross from a free-kick sailed past a packed box, but also just wide of statuesque Portsmouth goalkeeper Ryan Fulton’s far post.

Roma loan winger Iturbe seemed overawed by the early cup-tie blood and thunder, but settled and struck a post from a flicked 18-yard shot.

Liverpool loan goalkeeper Fulton gloved that effort onto the inside of his left post, a save deserving of the ball rebounding to safety.

Portsmouth opened the second half still buoyed by their 1-0 lead, Enda Stevens calling for a penalty despite in reality throwing himself to the turf.

Bennett’s slide-rule pass bobbled through to Roberts, as surprised as anyone to ghost clear, but the 31-year-old could only flash the ball across the face of goal with no team-mate in support.

Matt Ritchie injected immediate impetus into Bournemouth after replacing the struggling Murray, forcing Portsmouth replacement Adam Webster into a goal-saving block from King’s low cross.

Bournemouth’s new pace opened up the game, only for Lewis Grabban to fire high and wide from 18 yards despite no restrictions on space and time.

Portsmouth ignored the shots across the boughs, and Eddie Howe’s men duly equalised.

King nudged round the cover at the near post, and flicked O’Kane’s free-kick home to level the tie.

The ever-industrious forward claimed near-immediate profit from shifting to the point of Bournemouth’s attack after the sacrifice of former Crystal Palace striker Murray.

Cherries manager Howe’s changes then sealed the turnaround when substitute Pugh scrambled home the winner from a corner, after Grabban’s point-blank effort had been deflected behind.

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