Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Monday January 21 2008
Rams rocked by Benjani treble
The Rams dismal away form continued after Pompey came from behind to beat them 1-3, and the impressive Benjani`s hat-trick ended the home sides six-match goal drought at Fratton Park.
The Rams had shocked the majority of the crowd at Fratton Park when 19-year-old defender Lewin Nyatanga stabbing home on five minutes.
But Benjani's powerful shot and precise header gave Pompey the lead just before half time and he coolly finished off a swift counter-attack on 55 minutes putting the game beyond the Rams.
Paul Jewell made three changes to the side that lost 0-1 at home to Wigan last time out. Darren Moore and Nyatanga came in to the back line to replace the injured Tyrone Mears and Claude Davis. Kenny Miller recovered from injury to take his pace up front with Giles Barnes dropping to the bench.
Portsmouth made three changes to the side that lost 0-2 at Sunderland last week, Sol Campbell missed due to injury he was replace by Glen Johnson. Also coming into the side was Lauren and new signing Lassana Diarra, with Arnold Mvuemba and Richard Hughes dropping to the bench.
The Rams cheered on by 1,500 travelling supporters started brightly and were ahead on five minutes. Former Portsmouth winger Laurent Robert whipped in a trademark free-kick to the back post and Moore headed back across goal and Craig Fagan`s header was tipped on to the bar by David James, but he could do nothing with the rebound, Nyatanga prodded home from six-yards for his first Premier League goal on his Premier League debut.
It should have been 2-0 moments later; Miller raced clear of a static Pompey back line but his shot was well smothered by James and the chance was lost.
Pompey boss Harry Redknapp looked worried on the side lines but his side settled, with new recruit Diarra running the midfield; he fed David Nugent who volleyed over from eight-yards.
It was end to end football and the pace was frenetic, both sides were guilty off giving the ball away cheaply, but a ten-minute spell just before half time changed the course of the match.
First the Rams right back curse continued with Danny Mills limping off on 32 minutes, and with no defender on the bench Eddie Lewis went to left back, with Nyatanga moving to the centre with Todd moving to right back.
Then four minutes later Pompey's first goal arrived, Sylvian Distin crossed for Nugent and Pedro Mendes to work an opening for Benjani, and with his back to goal, the Zimbabwean international wasted no time in turning his marker, Nyatanga, and smashing the ball into the top corner from six-yards.
The fans had only just got back in their seats when he doubled his tally, giving Pompey the lead. The Rams failed to clear a corner and with Moore out of position a cross from Hermann Hreidarsson found the unmarked Benjani who headed past Lewis Price.
It was harsh on the Rams but they have to learn to defend better, and ten minutes after the break Pompey made it 3-1. Again Moore was out of position and Benjani and Mendes played a one-two as they raced clear on the counter-attack and the African striker finished clinically past into the far corner of the goal.
Barnes replaced Robert as the Rams looked to get back into the game and Fagan`s snap shot from 10-yards flashed inches wide.
Pompey`s Croatian international Nico Kranjcar, impressive throughout, went close with a couple of decent shots as the game drifted to its inevitable conclusion.
Barnes had a late chance for the Rams, when he was sent clear by a great ball from Hossam Ghally, but the youngster had more time than he thought and his shot was deflected wide by James.
Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Pamarot, Distin, Hreidarsson, Lauren, Diarra (Hughes 81), Pedro Mendes, Kranjcar, Mwaruwari (Mvuemba 89), Nugent.
Subs Not Used: Begovic, Aubey, Songo'o.
Derby: Price, Mills (Lewis 32), Todd, Moore, Nyatanga, Fagan (Teale 68), Savage, Ghaly, Robert (Barnes 56), Villa, Miller.
Subs Not Used: Hinchliffe, Earnshaw.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral).
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Date:Monday January 21 2008
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