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Portsmouth hold off courageous Cardiff to win entertaining FA Cup

The Pompey chimes rang out around Wembley as Portsmouth narrowly defeated brave Cardiff 1-0 to win the FA Cup for the second time in their history

A first half goal by Kanu following an error by Cardiff goalkeeper Peter Enckelman, on loan from Blackburn Rovers, was to prove decisive.

For the first time in 17 years the FA Cup Final featured teams from outside the top seven of the Premiership.

Portsmouth were the sole Premier League survivors and Cardiff became the first non-Premier League outfit to reach the final since Millwall in 2004.

The Premiership outfit were made to look very ordinary in the first half-hour until a moment of quality by Kanu just before the break gave them a fortunate lead.

Pompey it was who an early set piece had easily saved by Enckelman but almost immediately Cardiff broke and David James had to be quick off his line to block Paul Parry's shot.

The Bluebirds continued to press and Joe Ledley's pass gave Parry another shooting chance but again James was Portsmouth's saviour.

The Premiership outfit finally relieved the pressure on their goal when a Glen Johnson free kick was fumbled by Enckelman but the ball was scrambled clear.

With Kanu as a lone striker Portsmouth were finding it difficult to retain possession. Peter Whittingham saw a shot deflected past the Pompey post and Roger Johnson headed just over.

Parry then should have done better as Pompey left him unmarked at a free kick.

But one moment of Premiership class almost gave Portsmouth the lead on 21 minutes.

Kanu received the ball just eight yards out. The Nigerian international wriggled clear of defender and keeper only to see his effort hit the outside of the post.

But the 31 year old was not to be denied and on 37 minutes he reacted first as Enckelman spilled John Utaka's hard, low cross to tap home.

Cardiff almost equalised when Parry crossed and Kevin McNaughton just failed to turn the ball goalwards.

Then on the stroke of half time the Welshman had a goal disallowed for handball against Glenn Loovens who had delicately lobbed two defenders on the line.

Just after the break Johnson saw his header hit the Portsmouth side netting with the fans thinking the ball had gone in.

But, in 21 games this season Portsmouth had never after lost after taking the lead and with their narrow advantage they began to keep possession hoping to catch Cardiff on the break as they pushed forward for an equaliser.

Sulley Muntari shot over the bar then substitute David Nugent saw his effort saved by Enckelman as Cardiff seemed to have run out of ideas.

In the end Pompey were indebted to their centre backs Sol Campbell and Sylvain Distin who held firm after a shaky first half as Cardiff enjoyed a period of dominance in the final fifteen minutes.

Last ditch tackles and desperate blocking of shots by Johnson and Distin plus the heading prowess of Campbell ensured Cardiff did not force extra time.

In fact had Distin finished off a fifty yard solo run with a goal then Pompey boss Harry Redknapp would not have had to endure a nervy four minutes of added time.

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Tribal Football Staff

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