Date:Sunday January 15 2012
An unbeaten home record stretching back to the end of September 2011, spanning caretaker managers and the current one, finally came to an end with the controversial 1-0 defeat to West Ham.
Appy was not happy with the manner of the defeat, nor was he the sending off of Chuck: 'it was disappointing to lose in the manner that we did. I think it was a soft penalty. The West Ham fans behind that goal were shouting loud and I think the referee felt he had to give it.
'I thought the red card was harsh. David left the floor, but it wasn't a two-footed challenge. What disappointed me most was the speed with which the card came out of the referee's pocket.'
For me it was far from our worst performance of the season but it was also nowhere near our best.
We showed moments of promise in the 1st half where we strung together some nice passing movement, although as usual we created little. The 2nd half saw poor passing and needless wasting of the ball all to often and with little invention we struggled to put too much pressure on West Ham - although we pushed until the end.
All that said West Ham were not any better than us, really, were they...
The sending off of Chuck and injury to Aaron Mokoena, along with a calf concern for Hayden Mullins leaves us down to 'the bare bones' but even so Appy tries to take the positives from this.
He was happy with the 'endeavour' along with the 'enthusiasm' and is pretty sure we are close to being able to string together a run of wins.
Although he knows how much the suspension and latest injuries will hurt: 'it's difficult to go down to 10 men against a side that are riding high, but we did really well and in the last five or 10 minutes there was only one side that was going to score, and that was us. That's a credit to the players and the fans, who stuck right behind us.
'I was proud of the boys and told them if they continue to show the same endeavour and enthusiasm, we're not far from winning three or four games on the bounce.
Greg Halford was up all night being sick and had no energy left, Hayden has a sore calf, Aaron came off with a hamstring injury, and now we've lost David for three games, which is an absolute killer.
'We're down to our bare bones, but everyone has seen the honest endeavour here and I`m convinced that we can go on and win the next few games.'
It would be all too easy to blame our 'friend' the referee but Kevin Friend was once more far from a friend to us...
That said if a referee hardly seems to cut you some slack and is not 'consistent' in his decision making what can you do?
There was of course one plus from the afternoon, the debut of 17-year-old local lad Adam Webster.
He came on for a 15-minutes debut at the end in place of the ill Greg Halford and Appy was pleased with what he saw: 'Adam Webster has only been 17 a week, but he came on and did very well.
'He's got a fantastic temperament and a great future ahead of him. We just have to make sure we look after him in the right way.'
My only disappointment with his debut was that he was not given a better reception, it was very muted - not something I would have expected for a player making his debut, even more so a local lad at that...
Results at Fratton will determine the outcome of our season, probably, so a rare defeat was disappointing but this will happen of course so points here and there on the road are important now.
Cardiff next weekend 'might' have one eye of their league cup semi final so we need to capitalise on this if the opportunity arises...
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Date:Sunday January 15 2012
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