Pompey win 11-goal thriller
Benjani helped himself to a hat-trick as Portsmouth beat Reading 7-4 in an 11-goal thriller.
Last Updated: 29/09/07 6:38pm
Benjani helped himself to a hat-trick as Portsmouth beat Reading 7-4 at Fratton Park in an 11-goal thriller.
The Zimbabwean striker put Pompey two-up before Liam Rosenior's close-range effort pulled one back on the stroke of half-time.
Dave Kitson capitalised on a moment of madness by David James to level matters within minutes of the restart.
Hermann Hreidarsson's header restored Pompey's lead, although Reading should have equalised again when Nicky Shorey saw his penalty saved by James.
The miss proved costly as Benjani added his third and Pompey's fourth with Niko Kranjcar making it 5-2 shortly after.
Shane Long pulled one back although Pompey scored again through Sean Davis and Sully Muntari with Shorey's injury-time strike finally ending the scoring.
Pompey took the lead on seven minutes when James Harper lost the ball to Papa Bouba Diop and Benjani, having sent John Utaka into a crossing position on the left, completed the move by dispatching his colleague's delivery to the back post from close range.
Reading goalkeeper Hahnemann had remained rooted to his line on that occasion but when he came out to claim Kranjcar's corner the American succeeded only in spilling it into Diop's path and was mightily relieved when the Senegal international could only hook the loose ball wide.
Diop's 30-yard shot forced Hahnemann into a diving save before Benjani made it 2-0 in the 37th minute.
Reading had been slow to react for the first goal and were caught out from their own attack this time as Diop's ball from inside his own half found the recalled front man.
Shorey and Ivar Ingimarsson were both unable to impede his progress before Hahnemann was beaten with a well-placed drive from just outside the box.
The lead was no more than Pompey had deserved and Hahnemann somehow deflected Glen Johnson's shot over after Benjani's header had set up the defender at point-blank range.
Davis sent a long-range shot just over but the last word of the half belonged to Reading who pulled a goal back in stoppage time.
Kitson's cross was prodded goalwards by Rosenior, and appeared to bounce over the line off the crossbar before Stephen Hunt followed up smartly to nod home and make sure.
Reading usually concede goals shortly after half-time but this time Kitson scored one, with James' rash rush out of his box allowing it to take place in the 48th minute.
The England goalkeeper never looked likely to reach Hunt's ball from his own half and Kitson, having taken it past him, located the empty net with a perfectly-placed shot from a tight angle on the left.
Pompey reacted strongly and Reading were fortunate to scramble the ball away after Utaka's cross had gone over Hahnemann.
Harper fired a good chance over at the other end but when Diop had a diving header ruled out for offside the reprieve was shortlived for the visitors as Hreidarsson made it 3-2 in the 55th minute.
Again Hahnemann appeared to be at fault, allowing the Pompey defender to beat him to Sylvain Distin's cross and head home from eight yards out.
James made amends for his earlier error by saving Shorey's penalty after Diop had needlessly controlled the ball with an arm in the box.
Benjani made sure the match ball was his with a fine solo clincher with 20 minutes remaining.
Muntari put him through and, with defenders trailing, he made the task of taking the ball round Hahnemann and finding the empty net look easy.
Kranjcar made it 5-2 with a headed conversion of a Davis cross but Long's reply - a deflection off a Harper shot with 10 minutes remaining - was quickly followed by Pompey's sixth from Davis.Muntari scored the seventh from the spot in stoppage time after Kranjcar had been fouled by Rosenior before Shorey fired home a deflected fourth before the final whistle ended the mayhem.
|2||1st Half Goals||1|
|12||Shots on Target||6|
|9||Shots off Target||4|