Southampton 2 Portsmouth 0
James Beattie was the toast of Southampton tonight after bagging both goals as Saints dumped bitter rivals Portsmouth out of the Carling Cup in a fiery showdown at St Mary’s.
The England striker tapped home after 32 minutes and converted an injury-time penalty to clinch victory in the first south-coast derby for eight years.
The late spot-kick was awarded by referee Graham Poll when Arjan de eeuw clipped Beattie’s heels – an offence which earned the defender a red card and completed Pompey’s misery.
There was drama before kick-off, with the Pompey team coach narrowly avoiding the 14-vehicle pile-up on the M27 which caused severe congestion and forced kick-off to be delayed by 15 minutes.
Harry Redknapp said his players were shaken up by the incident.
The atmosphere outside the ground before kick-off was tense, with 300 police officers – many in riot gear – on duty for the clash between two clubs with a strong mutual dislike.
And the atmosphere inside St Mary’s was simply thunderous as the game got under way.
Pompey fans angered the home faithful by failing to respect a minute’s silence for the late Southampton president Ted Bates, who died last week.
There were numerous chants of “Blue Army” from the 4,250 travelling fans and the supposed silence ended in a crescendo of boos by Saints supporters directed at their counterparts from across the Solent.
Early on, Pompey debutant Pavel Srnicek, playing because of Shaka Hislop’s injury, saved desperately on his goalline from Claus Lundekvam.
Brett Oremerod’s 27th-minute ’goal’ was ruled out for offside but Saints did score five minutes later.
Boris Zivkovic lost the ball in the Pompey midfield, Ormerod fed Chris Marsden and Beattie touched home to end his side’s four-game goal drought.
Pompey’s best chances fell to Yakubu Ayegbini but he often lost possession in the final third.
This contest was far from a classic – but local derbies rarely are – and Saints fans will not care after Beattie wrapped up victory with his late spot-kick.
Pompey boss Redknapp had recalled Senegalese midfielder Amdy Faye after his month-long knee injury lay-off, while Southampton were without Kevin Phillips, laid low with a virus.
The fiery atmosphere in the stands translated to the pitch in an all-action start to the game.
Saints centre-back Lundekvam was in the thick of the action, first making a crucial block when Teddy Sheringham shot from Patrik Berger’s cross and then almost bagging the opener at the other end.
Lundekvam nodded a loose ball goalwards but Srnicek seized the ball right on his line.
The visitors threatened again when Yakubu’s effort was deflected and spun just wide.
Saints had the ball in the net with 27 minutes on the clock but Ormerod, who slotted home, was offside when he received Beattie’s pass.
But Gordon Strachan’s men hit the net for real five minutes later to spark wild celebrations among the red majority of the crowd.
Zivkovic lost the ball to Ormerod, who fed for Chris Marsden to send the ball across the six-yard box.
Beattie beat Srnicek to the ball and clipped home from four yards for his ninth strike of the season.
The England striker celebrated with a stationary pose, his hand cupped to his ear, in front of the massed ranks of Pompey fans behind the goal.
Saints keeper Antti Niemi saved from Zivkovic on the stroke of half-time.
Portsmouth pressed for an equaliser after the break but failed to build any truly incisive attacks.
At the other end, Beattie got only the faintest of touches to a fine Fabrice Fernandes cross when any more significant contact would have tested Srnicek.
Redknapp’s side had an opportunity to draw level when a cross was only half-cleared by the Saints defence. However, Berger’s shot was deflected wide.
Pompey’s misery was complete when de Zeeuw caught Beattie’s heels in stoppage time and ref Poll awarded a penalty and sent him off. Beattie slotted home to complete the win.