Pompey see off Burnley to boost relegation fight
PORTSMOUTH: Portsmouth lifted the gloom around Fratton Park and boosted their Premier League survival prospects with a 2-0 victory over Burnley on Saturday.
Avram Grant's side won for just the third time in the league this season thanks to second half goals from Iceland defender Hermann Hreidarsson and Ivory Coast striker Aruna Dindane, who had earlier missed a penalty.
This victory - which lifts Portsmouth off the bottom of the table ahead of Saturday's later fixtures - was perfectly timed after a week in which the club was forced to confirm that Grant's squad had not been paid for the second time in five months due to the financial crisis that continues to grip Fratton Park.
Burnley remain in mid-table but Owen Coyle's side have now lost seven of their eight away matches this season.
"All the players have stuck together, we haven't been moaning about it (the financial situation), so I think in a way it has got everyone together and made sure we got the points," Hreidarsson said.
Coyle added: "From our point of view, we had numerous chances to be in front, so we're disappointed.
"The margins are minimal, a little bit of quality finishing from us and we'd have seen the game off."
Kevin-Prince Boateng was the first to test Burnley keeper Brian Jensen after seven minutes, when he drove in a vicious shot from 25 yards that the Dane briefly fumbled.
Boateng then laid on a chance for Dindane, but the on-loan Lens striker couldn't convert his cross.
Steven Fletcher had an equally good opportunity to open the scoring for the Clarets three minutes later when Wade Elliott crossed from the right. Fletcher took the ball on his chest but his shot was scuffed tamely wide.
After a scrappy start from both sides, the game sparked into life as Portsmouth were awarded a controversial penalty in the 31st minute.
Tommy Smith's cross was controlled by Hreidarsson, who slipped under pressure from Elliott as he went to shoot.
Referee Phil Dowd pointed to the spot but it was Dindane who stepped forward instead of usual taker Boateng.
He hit a casual effort straight at Jensen, who parried it away. Dindane tried to capitalise on the rebound but could only direct his follow-up header back at the Burnley keeper.
Burnley came close to taking the lead after 54 minutes when Kevin McDonald's rasping shot from 25 yards was tipped over the bar by Asmir Begovic.
Fletcher came even closer to beating Begovic with a dipping long-range effort after 63 minutes.
But the Clarets were hit with a sucker punch in the 65th minute when Boateng found Nwankwo Kanu and the Nigerian's pass picked out Hreidarsson, who beat the offside trap and shot past Jensen.
Andre Bikey came close to heading Burnley level after 68 minutes, but crashed his effort over the crossbar.
Dindane gave Portsmouth the breathing space they desperately needed in the 83rd minute. He won a free-kick, which Jamie O'Hara swung in deep to the far post for Dindane to direct a powerful downward header past Jensen.