Pompey 4 Birmingham City 1

Marko Futacs celebrates wrapping up victory with Pompey's fourth goal over Birmingham Picture: Barry Zee
Marko Futacs celebrates wrapping up victory with Pompey's fourth goal over Birmingham Picture: Barry Zee
Molly Clark came into the Pompey Ladies side and scored against Luton. Picture: Jordan Hampton

Sadler: Pompey Ladies are stronger

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Elvis was singing, the gorilla was beating his chest, Fratton Park was in raptures.

Some fans had come in fancy dress more in hope than expectation of a Tuesday night party.

Those 12,186 present may not have brought a bottle, but there was plenty of alcohol consumed afterwards after they witnessed an improbable result.

For all Pompey’s wastefulness in front of goal against Bristol City on Saturday, they were lethal for the visit of promotion-hunting Birmingham.

The outcome was a rout – and with it sparking those survival hopes which appeared so unlikely just 72 hours earlier.

The writing appeared on the wall for Michael Appleton’s side after slipping behind to Nikola Zigic’s sublime finish on eight minutes.

It ensured the hosts headed in at the break 1-0 down following an uninspiring opening 45 minutes.

Then the goals flowed as Pompey picked up their first win in 10 long matches.

Chris Maguire levelled in the 54th minute, marking the first Pompey goal from open play at Fratton Park since January 2 against Watford.

David Murphy then saw red following a second bookable offence. And from the resulting free-kick, David Norris was teed up to rifle one in from just inside the box.

Substitute Kelvin Etuhu contributed to the emphatic scoreline in the 77th minute, spectacularly crashing the ball into the top corner.

It was left to fellow sub Marko Futacs to complete the rout in stoppage-time.

The result may not have been enough to lift Appleton’s men off the bottom of the Championship table.

Nonetheless, it signifies a start; a first chapter in the potential penning of the Great Escape.

Pompey fans have hope with nine matches remaining and a group of players who continue to scrap away.

Appleton’s men were unchanged for the visit of Birmingham as the Blues boss named the same XI which started against Bristol City.

The substitutes’ bench was also the same as Saturday, with local youngsters Adam Webster and Ashley Harris among the five on duty.

The match-day squad was once again without out-of-form Dave Kitson, who has failed to score in his past 19 matches.

Meanwhile, Kanu (back) and Aaron Mokoena (ankle) remained sidelined, the only two of Pompey’s 18-man squad unavailable for selection.

Before the match, a minute’s applause was held in honour of Pompey fan Tony Goodall and ex-Blues player Brian Bromley, both of whom died recently.

The reception was also aimed towards Fabrice Muamba, a former Birmingham City player, who is making encouraging progress from his heart attack at the weekend.

When the match got under way, the visitors took the lead after just eight minutes.

Zigic controlled a ball down the middle, slipped past the challenge of Ricardo Rocha and drove an angled shot past Jamie Ashdown.

It was a classy finish from the towering Serbian striker who had cut through the heart of Pompey’s defence with ease.

Just five minutes later, Zigic was unmarked at the far post and steered a shot which had Ashdown scrambling low down to grasp the ball on the line.

Yet a flag up for offside ensured there were no Birmingham appeals to plead that the ball had crossed the goalline. It was Joel Ward who had Pompey’s first attempt on goal in the 20th minute, a snap shot from just inside the box which bounced straight to Boaz Myhill.

The hosts were struggling to put pressure on Birmingham’s goal, but a good move down the middle saw Norris slide a ball through to Maguire, only for the linesman’s flag to rule offside.

At the other end, Zigic fired in a shot from just inside the area but it lacked power and trickled straight into the arms of Ashdown.

In the 36th minute, Norris played Luke Varney in down the left channel and he fizzed the ball across the face of goal and agonisingly out of reach for Maguire, who was sliding in at the far post.

A spell of sustained pressure on the Birmingham goal then resulted in Greg Halford crashing a long-range half-volley over the bar.

Pompey were looking threatening and Maguire drove in a right-foot shot from 25 yards which was pushed around the post by Myhill.

Ashdown produced a superb stop in the 51st minute to deny Marlon King from doubling the visitors’ advantage.

The striker twisted and turned his way inside the area to create space and unleashed a ferocious shot which the Pompey keeper somehow managed to block.

However, Appleton’s men did manage to equalise in the 54th minute.

Scott Allan touched a free-kick to Maguire who fired in an angled drive from outside the box which took a slight deflection on its way in at the far post.

Moments later, Tal Ben Haim had appeals for a penalty waved away after going down under a challenge from Stephen Caldwell.

The momentum was Pompey’s and they received another boost in the 59th minute when David Murphy was shown a second yellow card.

The left-back, who had been booked for a foul on Allan in the first half, felled Maguire and was given his marching orders.

The resulting free-kick was played into the unmarked Norris just inside the penalty area and he controlled the ball before swivelling and rifling a shot past Myhill.

Ashdown again came to Pompey’s rescue when he produced a magnificent near-post parry to beat out King’s ferocious volley.

Birmingham were left to rue that missed chance when, in the 77th minute, Maguire fed substitute Etuhu who crashed home a spectacular finish into the top corner.

The scoring was completed in stoppage-time when Halford crossed from the right and substitute Futacs slid home.

There was still time for Purbrook youngster Ashley Harris to enter for a cameo, prompting plenty of applause from the Fratton faithful.

Come the final whistle, chants of ‘We are staying up’ rang around the famous old ground.

The Great Escape has officially begun.