By William Wood | In Match Reports - Away Games
Micah, missing due to injury, could only watch from the touchlines as Manchester City’s poor away form continued, with Mark Hughes’ men losing out 2-0 to Portsmouth in their latest Premier League fixture.
The Eastlanders appeared to be finding a level of consistency as they travelled to the south coast on the back of four wins in their last six games, and Portsmouth looked to be the ideal candidates to collect a further three points from following the midweek dismissal of Tony Adams and a run of nine games without a win.
Micah missed out on the action due to a recurrence of the hamstring strain that saw him come off at half-time for England U21s in their game with Ecuador on Wednesday, and he was joined on the touchline by the suspended Shaun Wright-Phillips.
However, under the tutelage of caretaker manager Paul Hart, Portsmouth looked rejuvenated, and it was they who carved the first chance of the game after a fine run by Jermaine Pennant, but Peter Crouch’s subsequent shot was straight at Shay Given.
Soon after, Croatia international Niko Kranjcar sent David Nugent through on goal, but after being forced wide the Pompey striker’s tame shot went wide.
Despite the visitors struggling to get a solid string of passes together, Elano, who was replacing Wright-Phillips on the right, blasted the ball over from 20 yards to remind City’s opponents about the danger they could pose.
Similarly, Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bridge combined to create an opening for Robinho, but the Brazilian’s curling effort was always going over.
Nugent, though, remained a thorn in City’s side, and Given had to be alert as Glen Johnson chipped over a long pass to set the former Preston North End striker on his way, the Republic of Ireland goalkeeper racing from his line to intercept the ball.
The one-time England international also missed a header from inside the penalty area as Portsmouth continued to press for an opener, and it was much of the same after the break as he clipped a shot wide.
Strike partner Crouch missed with an effort of his own from 15 yards while Nugent continued to be frustrated, missing yet another half-chance with his head, but they finally found the back of the net as Johnson netted his third of the season.
The right-back stormed into City’s box and fired in a shot that was saved by Given, but he calmly collected the rebound and almost broke the net with a powerful follow up effort that handed Hart and his side the lead.
Towering defender Hermann Hreidarsson made sure of the victory for Pompey with an exquisite header minutes later, though they could have had three had Johnson converted a late chance, but as it was a carbon copy of his first goal was cleared off the line.
David James, on a record-breaking 536th Premier League appearance, was on hand to deny Ched Evans a consolation goal late on as Hughes and City once again fell short of what they are capable of on-the-road.