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Page last updated at 07:55 GMT, Sunday, 18 May 2008 08:55 UK

McPhail laments cruel Cup defeat

By Peter Shuttleworth

Stephen McPhail shows his disappointment after Cardiff's FA Cup final loss
McPhail shows his disappointment after Cardiff's FA Cup final loss

Captain Stephen McPhail has bemoaned the footballing gods as Cardiff lost the FA Cup final to Portsmouth.

Cardiff became the only non-English club to win the FA Cup in 1927 after Arsenal goalkeeper Dan Lewis blundered.

Back at Wembley on Saturday, an error from Cardiff stopper Peter Enckelman gifted Kanu the winner to earn Pompey their first cup win for 69 years.

"It's amazing how things always even themselves out in life, football is a funny old game," admitted McPhail.

Enckelman's mistake in the 37th minute proved the difference as brave Championship side Cardiff contributed to their own downfall.

"I've heard all about the Arsenal goalkeeper's mistake from Hughie Ferguson's effort to win Cardiff the cup in 1927," said McPhail.

"And it is unfortunate that things have come back around and now we're the ones that are hurting."

Pete has not got to apologise to his team-mates because no-one blames him for our defeat

Cardiff captain Stephen McPhail

The Finnish 'keeper has an unfortunate back catalogue of clangers, most notably playing for Aston Villa in the second city derby at Birmingham City in 2002, but his howler to hand Pompey victory will live long in the memory.

Enckelman's suspect handling was exposed when he failed to hold John Utaka's low right-wing cross and striker Kanu capitalised.

But skipper McPhail leapt to his beleaguered goalie's defence.

"Pete has been magnificent for us since he joined us on loan from Blackburn in January," said the Republic of Ireland midfielder.

"His saves and clean-sheets have kept us in many games, so Pete has not got to apologise to his team-mates because no-one blames him for our defeat.

"It was a poor goal to concede but we live as a team and we die as a team.

"Everyone makes mistakes but often when goalkeepers make errors, they're exposed more harshly.

"It's unfortunate but Pete is big and strong enough to put the mistake behind him and bounce back."

England goalkeeper David James spared a thought for his opposite number as he enjoyed "the highlight of his career".


The Pompey stopper appreciates Enckelman's heartache more than most, as the man once known as 'Calamity James' has bitter first-hand experience of high-profile bloopers.

"I know Pete well from our days together at Aston Villa and he is a top 'keeper," said James.

"The way in which they lost will hurt but I'm sure Pete will get over it.

"When Villa got to the FA Cup final in 2000 his performance ensured we remained in the competition that day.

"I spoke to Pete after the game to give him my best wishes because he is my friend. The unfortunate thing is that people are talking about a goalkeeping error rather than a momentous day for Portsmouth.

"But I don't care how it happened - we're FA Cup winners."

Enckelman has accepted responsibility for his error and Cardiff defender Roger Johnson admitted: "It's more disappointing to lose by conceding such a sloppy goal.

"Peter will obviously be disappointed with himself and acknowledge he should have done better but it's just one of those things."

see also
Portsmouth 1-0 Cardiff
17 May 08 |  FA Cup
Jones proud of beaten Bluebirds
17 May 08 |  FA Cup
BBC pundits on the FA Cup final
17 May 08 |  Premier League
Fans enjoy rare FA Cup magic
17 May 08 |  FA Cup
FA Cup final photos
17 May 08 |  FA Cup
FA Cup final as it happened
17 May 08 |  FA Cup

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