Greening strike hurts plucky Pompey: Match Review

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Portsmouth's misery continued as Jonathan Greening's first goal for Fulham was enough to condemn the financially-stricken club to another defeat in their Barclays Premier League clash at Craven Cottage.

Pompey, adrift at the foot of the table, have lurched from one crisis to another this season, with players and staff again being paid late.

Manager Avram Grant has, though, vowed to stick with the beleaguered Fratton Park club.

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Indeed, Pompey had shown an improvement following the return of their African Nations Cup trio, and Kevin Prince Boateng had a couple of chances in the first half.

However, after a terrible miss from Fulham's on-loan Italian striker Stefano Okaka, making his debut, Fulham eventually got the breakthrough with 16 minutes left as Greening netted at the far post to secure a 1-0 win.

For Pompey, things are likely to get worse before they get better, as Grant must now rally his beleaguered troops for a trip to Manchester United on Saturday.

Even a win for Portsmouth - who have lost four from the last seven - would not have be enough to lift them off the foot of the table.

However, it was a bright start by the visitors, as Prince Boateng tested Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer with an angled drive.

Pompey continued to have the better of the opening exchanges.

Frederic Piquionne almost got on the end of a quick counter-attack as Fulham - who had lost the last five league games - failed to deal with the ball on what was fast becoming a skiddy surface.

The Portsmouth striker should have done better when sent clear on 12 minutes, but Schwarzer stood up well to make the save.

Prince Boateng caught hold of a loose ball 22 yards out, which flew just the wrong side of the keeper's right-hand post.

Fulham could not retain possession in midfield, and struggled to get out of their own half for long spells.

However, it needed a fine one-handed save from England keeper David James to deny Aaron Hughes as his header at the back post from a corner was creeping in.

Prince Boateng skipped into the Fulham box, and was unfortunate to see his shot take a deflection which allowed Schwarzer to make the save.

Okaka then somehow missed a glorious chance to score on his debut

A deep cross from the left was nodded back across goal by Greening, with the ball falling to Okaka at the far post.

However, no more than two yards out and with the goal at his mercy, the on-loan Italian inexplicably guided the ball wide.

Portsmouth almost took the lead on 52 minutes when Aruna Dindane's far-post header from a deep corner was beaten away by Schwarzer.

Damien Duff weaved into space for a shot from the edge of the Pompey penalty area, which was deflected behind.

Bobby Zamora could not get any power on his header at the back post as he meet a deep cross from the right flank.

The Fulham striker then glanced the ball wide as the home side pressed again.

Fulham finally got the breakthrough on 74 minutes when Greening converted at the far post after Duff dispossessed Nadir Belhadj and put the ball across the six-yard box.

To their credit, Pompey continued to go forwards, and Grant sent on former Arsenal striker Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, on loan from Spartak Moscow, for the closing stages.

However, Fulham saw out the remaining five minutes to end their losing streak and heap more woe on Pompey.

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Jonathan Greening
Premier League

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