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Portsmouth 0-0 Bristol City

Niko Kranjcar
Midfielder Niko Kranjcar (centre) was in lively form for Pompey

Portsmouth began their defence of the FA Cup with a lively goalless draw with Bristol City in their third-round tie.

Despite the lack of goals there was plenty of goalmouth action with both sides creating a hatful of chances.

David Nugent and Peter Crouch went close for the hosts, while defender Sylvain Distin forced Adriano Basso into a fine save after half an hour.

Bradley Orr was denied after a fine save from David James as the battling Robins claimed a fully deserved replay.

That match will take place at Ashton Gate on Tuesday, 13 January.

Pompey, who have lost their last four Premier League games, were desperate for a morale-boosting victory but could not find a way through City's defence.

Nugent was given a rare start thanks to the absence of want-away striker Jermain Defoe, apparently because of a bout of flu, while right-back Glen Johnson - another player to have been linked with a move away from Fratton Park - was also absent.

The home side made the brighter start and, as well as creating chances for Nugent, Crouch they went close when Marc Wilson's effort was cleared off the line by Peter Styvar before Distin's follow-up was hacked over the bar by Jamie McCombe.

After the break, Niko Kranjcar headed wide when it looked easier to score and fired straight at Basso soon afterwards.

While defending admirably, City had created nothing of note until Orr met Stern John's cross with 20 minutes to go and forced a flying save out of James.

Portsmouth manager Tony Adams:
"I take plenty of positives from this game because the important thing for me was a clean sheet.

"We've been committing suicide in matches recently, getting beaten three and four one because we have bombed forward trying to win them.

"Today was about us staying resilient, staying strong and we got it right at the back again this time. We are still in the competition, we are still the Cup holders and I'm positive about the replay."

Bristol City manager Gary Johnson:
"I'm very proud of the lads for the way they competed at this level. We didn't come here believing all the publicity surrounding Portsmouth.

"Whatever Pompey's problems might be we still faced a side containing some world-class players and we matched them man-for-man all over the pitch.

"You come into the FA Cup with the opportunity to enhance your side's reputation by getting results like this and I think all of them did a great job."

Portsmouth: James, Wilson, Distin, Campbell, Belhadj, Cranie (Pamarot 82), Nugent, Mvuemba, Davis, Kranjcar, Crouch.
Subs Not Used: Begovic, Little, Kanu, Lauren, Hreidarsson, Armand Traore.

Booked: Belhadj.

Bristol City: Basso, Orr, McCombe, Carey, Fontaine, Skuse, Elliott, Johnson, Sproule (Williams 64), Styvar (McAllister 83), John (Adebola 62).
Subs Not Used: Henderson, Noble, Akinde.

Booked: John.

Att: 14,446.

Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

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see also
FA Cup photos
03 Jan 09 |  FA Cup

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