LONDON, February 4 – Cash-strapped Portsmouth remained rooted to the bottom of the English Premier League after Jonathan Greening scored the winner for Fulham in a 1-0 victory at Craven Cottage here on Wednesday to end the hosts run of five successive league defeats.
Portsmouth, as has been the case in recent matches, created several good chances but could not finish and they were made to pay the price when Greening scored his first goal for Fulham 16 minutes from time to nudge the visitors nearer relegation.
Now Pompey, who are battling off the field against a winding up order from British tax authorities and have paid their players late several times this season, travel to Old Trafford to play champions Manchester United on Saturday with the south coast side five points adrift at the foot of the table.
Kevin Prince Boateng got Pompey off to a bright start against Fulham, testing Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer with an angled drive.
Frederic Piquionne then threatened and had a fine chance in the 12th minute only for Schwarzer to make the save.
Prince Boateng then saw a shot from 20 yards fly just wide of Schwarzer’s right post.
But Pompey are not where they are for no reason and it needed a fine one-handed save from their England goalkeeper David James to prevent a header from Aaron Hughes crossing the line following a Fulham corner.
Stefano Okaka them missed a fine chance to score on his Fulham debut when the on-loan Italian somehow missed at the far post from Greening’s header back across goal.
In the second half, Pompey nearly took the lead when Ivory Coast international striker Aruna Dindane’s far-post header was turned away by Schwarzer.
Midfielder Greening, who made his name at Manchester United, finally ended the stalemate in the 74th minute when he turned in Damien Duff’s centre across the six-yard box after the winger had dispossessed Algerian international Nadir Belhadj.
Pompey kept pushing forward but the 2008 FA Cup winners could not equalise as they suffered their 16th defeat in 23 league games so far this season.