United win down at Pompey

Manchester United record an unconvincing 1-0 win away at Portsmouth, their first Premier League win of the season.

Manchester United's Scottish midfielder Darren Fletcher celebrates scoring during their Premier League match against Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
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LONDON // Manchester United recorded an unconvincing 1-0 win away at Portsmouth, their first Premier League win of the season. The Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher scored for the second straight game to lift United to four points from two matches, two fewer than leaders Chelsea. While Arsenal's weekend defeat took some of the pressure off United following their opening day 1-1 draw with Newcastle, the defending champions went into the match needing a victory to not fall at least four points behind title contenders Chelsea and Liverpool. But United overcame a shaky performance and the continued absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, using Fletcher's 33rd-minute goal to climb level on points with Liverpool, Blackburn, Hull and Newcastle. Pompey midfielder Papa Bouba Diop almost put Portsmouth ahead after 15 seconds with a 25-yard shot that flew just wide of goal. The home side then appealed for a penalty shortly after when a cross by Sean Davis appeared to touch defender Nemanja Vidic's hand. Although United drew saves from goalkeeper David James with shots from Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes, Portsmouth had two chances in quick succession through striker Peter Crouch and defender Younes Kaboul. But Fletcher followed his equalising goal in last week's disappointing draw with Newcastle by forcing the ball over the line from close range after a left-wing cross from Patrice Evra. Anderson almost made it 2-0 early in the second half following a move engineered by Carlos Tevez and Rooney, and United almost paid for its miss when Pompey substitute Jerome Thomas hit a fierce shot that goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar only just managed to punch away. With Portsmouth going for an equaliser, United tried to make use of the space left and Paul Scholes and Vidic both had late chances to score. Portsmouth, who have been tipped by many observers to do well this season after winning the FA Cup last term, are now firmly rooted to the bottom of the league without a single point and no goals scored.

*AP