Saturday 02 November 2013
Three goals in the opening 11 minutes helped Portsmouth stun Newcastle United and bring to an end their unbeaten home record.
Noe Pamarot gave the visitors the lead with a fierce strike in the eighth minute before John Utaka muscled past Claudio Capaca to score a second and Benjani Mwaruwari made it 3-0 at a bewildered St James’ Park.
Newcastle hit back on the quarter-hour mark when the ball deflected in off Sol Campbell after Michael Owen's shot had been saved, but Pompey added a fourth on 71 minutes when Niko Kranjcar's free-kick flew in via Steve Taylor's knee.
The victory was no more than Portsmouth deserved after producing an assured display, that was so effective in the frenetic opening stage that Magpies manager Sam Allardyce felt compelled to replace his Brazilian centre-back Capaca after only 18 minutes with David Rozehnal.
In truth there was little anyone could have done to prevent Pompey's opening strike as Newcastle had cleared the immediate threat of a corner only for Pamarot to return the ball from 25 yards into the top right corner at gathering pace
Within a minute, however, Cacapa's hesitation was punished and Benjani brushed him aside before curled in a sweet left-footed volley.
The home fans were still collecting themselves when, two minutes later, Utaka also muscled his way past Cacapa before rounding goalkeeper Steve Harper to make it 3-0.
Newcastle were handed a lifeline shortly after when a series of ricochets went their way and David James, after saving both Charles N'Zogbia's shot and Owen's follow-up, watched the ball rebound past him off Campbell's chest.
Newcastle might have even got themselves back in the game as Taylor forced a good save out of James at his near post, but Pompey weathered the storm, such as it was, and made sure of their first win at St James' Park since 1949 when Taylor deflected Kranjcar's free-kick past Harper.
In a memorable season for Portsmouth fans, Harry Redknapp's charges finished the season with an eighth-place finish and an FA Cup victory, while Allardyce's side concluded their campaign 14 points behind them in 12th place.