League One leaders Pompey pull off injury-time upset to knock Norwich out of FA Cup
The FA Cup has come to an end in the third round for a sixth successive season for Norwich City, after an injury-time strike from Aston Villa loanee Andre Green snatched a win for League One leaders Portsmouth.
The Championship hosts played the majority of the game with 10 men after a much-changed team lost captain Grant Hanley to a red card in the 15th minute.
But it wasn’t until the fifth minute of added time that Pompey broke the deadlock, with Green firing in off the post to finish a slick counter as the Canaries had been chasing a winner – ending the prospect of a midweek replay which neither team wanted.
Daniel Farke opted for eight changes to his starting XI, including rare opportunities to impress for Felix Passlack, Ben Marshall and Dennis Srbeny, as well as Scotland internationals Hanley and Kenny McLean.
It was Hanley’s first start since the East Anglian derby draw at Portman Road in September, thanks to a thigh problem, and it soon became a nightmare return – as the defender was shown red.
Christoph Zimmermann was beaten in the air by Brett Pitman on the right and Hanley charged across, taking out Ronan Curtis with a clumsy tackle as the last man, and quickly being sent off.
Within two minutes Pompey went close, with former Ipswich striker Pitman heading over at the back post from a Jamal Lowe cross from the right, as City were still reorganising, with Ben Marshall dropping to left-back and Ben Godfrey into the centre.
Zimmermann lashed a spectacular shot just beyond the top-right corner from 25 yards after the ball sat up nicely for him in the 20th minute and it was the Canaries who still just about edged the first half.
Marshall bent a weak free-kick on target from 20 yards which Craig MacGillivray held easily in the 28th minute and Jack Whatmough slid in to stop Todd Cantwell playing Jordan Rhodes through on goal within 60 seconds.
McLean swung in a free-kick from the right in the 35th minute and Rhodes saw a shot blocked, before the visiting keeper held a low shot from Godfrey from near the penalty spot.
Tom Trybull felt the full force of a shot from Gareth Evans four minutes later, after a Tom Naylor corner from the left had deflected to the free man on the edge of the box, but the scorers were untroubled as the half-time whistle went.
The visitors went close twice in the early stages of the second half though, with Curtis nodding down a long ball and Pitman firing just beyond the top-right corner on the half-volley and Curtis heading beyond the far post after a whipped cross from the left from Dion Donohue.
City responded in the 58th minute as Cantwell took the bull by the horns, turning into space from a Tom Trybull pass and lashing a low shot just beyond the right-hand upright.
Within two minutes it was Cantwell the creator, putting Srbeny clean through with a delightful pass into the box, only for Pompey right-back Anton Walkes to make a goal-saving tackle as the forward was pulling the trigger.
Zimmermann matched the vital interception at the other end in the 78th minute after Michael McGovern had spilled a low right-footed blast from Donohue from the edge of the box.
The Northern Ireland international redeemed himself within two minutes to thrust out a strong right hand and turn a Lowe drive behind which was heading for his top-right corner.
Zimmermann again bailed out his keeper in the 83rd minute, hooking a dangerous low Lowe cross from the right away which had beaten the former Hamilton shot-stopper.
A double substitution followed, with Teemu Pukki and Onel Hernandez on for Srbeny and Passlack, as the Canaries went in search of a winner.
It was Portsmouth keeper MacGillivray’s turn in the 86th minute, sprawling to his right to keep a flicked Cantwell header out from a Rhodes cross from the right.
There was to be a late twist though, as Portsmouth broke from a City attack, with Donohue’s long ball kept alive by substitute Andre Green, on loan from Aston Villa, turning inside and firing in a low shot which went in off the post to spark wild celebrations for almost 2,500 travelling fans.
It was a disappointing way for the game to end for the higher-level hosts – and a second consecutive home loss – but did at least mean a midweek trip to the south coast for a replay was avoided.
The Canaries return to league action with a big Championship match at West Brom next Saturday, who trail the second-placed Canaries by three points.
Norwich: McGovern; Passlack (Hernandez 85), Zimmermann, Hanley (C), Godfrey; Trybull, McLean; Cantwell, Srbeny (Pukki 85), Marshall (Klose 78); Rhodes. Unused subs: Krul (GK), Pinto, Aarons, Vrancic
Sent off: Hanley (15)
Portsmouth: MacGillivray; Walkes, Clarke, Whatmough, Donohue; Thompson, Naylor; Lowe, Evans (Green 67), Curtis (Wheeler 90+1); Pitman (C). Unused subs: Bass (GK), Burgess, Haunstrup, Dennis, May
Goals: Green (90+5)
Booked: Lowe (foul on McLean, 55), Curtis (foul on Passlack, 70)
Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)
Attendance: 23,201 (2,493 away)