Division One, April 15, 2003
Svetoslav Todorov was the man to score the goal that took Pompey to the promised land of the Premier League as Harry Redknapp’s side sealed promotion to the big time under the Fratton floodlights.
The Bulgarian striker netted his 20th goal of the season as he was in the right place at the right time to get on the end of Nigel Quashie’s low cross and bag the 73rd-minute winner to spark jubilant scenes at Fratton Park.
The victory meant Pompey had secured promotion with four games to go as they moved an unassailable 16 points clear of third-placed Sheffield United, who had five games left.
Blues skipper Paul Merson missed a chance to settle the nerves when he failed to convert an early penalty as he blasted against the underside of the crossbar.
And the tension continued to rise among a crowd of 19,221 when Lee Bradbury spurned two great opportunities just before half-time, firing one opportunity high over the crossbar with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Pompey turned up the heat again after the break, with Burnley keeper Nik Michopoulos in inspired form to deny Bradbury, Quashie and Todorov.
Burnley threatened to spoil the party in the 67th minute as striker Gareth Taylor fired narrowly wide of Shaka Hislop’s post from a good position.
But Redknapp’s men were not to be denied their night of celebrations with fans streaming on to the pitch at the final whistle after Todorov had lit the fuse on a famous night at Fratton Park.
POMPEY: Shaka Hislop, Linvoy Primus, Hayden Foxe, Arjan De Zeeuw, Gianluca Festa, Steve Stone, Tim Sherwood, Paul Merson, Nigel Quashie, Lee Bradbury (Vincent Pericard, 70), Svetoslav Todorov. Unused subs: Yoshi Kawaguchi, Gary O’Neill, Kevin Harper, Lassina Diabate.
BURNLEY: Nik Michopoulos, Dean West, Mark McGregor, Arthur Gnohere (Richard Chaplow, 82), Stephen Davis, Paul Weller, Robbie Blake, Graham Branch, Ian Moore, Dimitrios Papadopoulos (Bradley Maylett, 8. Matthew O’Neill, 53), Gareth Taylor. Unused subs: Gordon Armstrong, Joel Pilkington.