Pompey 0-1 Fulham
Sun 11-05-08, 3pm
Preparations for the FA cup were complete with another defeat, this time to Fulham - who secured their top flight status with a 1-0 victory.
Not quite wholesale changes, but there were still a fair few as the FA cup took centre stage with players protected ahead of next weeks final. Sol Campbell, Papa Bouba Diop, Sulley Muntari and Milan Baros all sat out with Noe Pamarot, Pedro Mendes, John Utaka and Kanu all coming in.
Fulham needed to win to stay up, and they got the win thanks to Danny Murphy - congratulations to Fulham, we will see you again next year as FA cup holders!
On a baking hot day in Pompey having already run all over the shop from Waterlooville, The Newcombe Arms and finally the Milton/Brewers to collect various tickets for the days game and also the cup final after a brief meet up with some Vital Pompey members, including a first time meeting with Paultsmouth - sorry it was so brief mate! - I took my seat with pentonpompey and his lovely better half - although it was cheaper, maybe the Milton was not the best choice as their was no shade whatsoever, my face feel lobsterfied now...
We looked decent enough in the 1st half, fashioned a couple of chances but never really threatened Kasey Keller - with Niko Kranjcar looking as likely as anyone to make the breakthrough, forcing a couple of half chances from him.
At the other end Fulham did not really look that threatening at all, but their fans were in good voice.
To be honest I cannot really remember anyone making a serious save in 1st half? Hang on, tell a lie Jamie Ashdown did make one fantastic save low down, turning it away before it was cleared to safety.
Towards the end of the half Glen Johnson went on a blistering run, maybe he could have kept going himself but unselfishly he put Jermain Defoe through, although his effort to beat the out rushing Keller cleared the bar.
As for the 2nd half, well what can you say I honestly, really cannot remember any chances for either side apart from the goal that Danny Murphy was practically gifted by the absence of the defence...
We put in the effort in the 2nd half but just did not look like scoring at all but we will rectify this over the summer I am sure.
It was good to see Pedro Mendes get a standing ovation on what will almost certainly be his last Pompey appearance, well at least at Fratton Park - the same could be said for Sean Davis who came on to replace him?
Congratulations to Fulham, they have a good bunch of supporters who kept going for the full 90, part of me wanted them to go because of Diomansy Kamara and his I am going to a better team than Pompey, but although they did not create hardly anything they probably deserved it.
I enjoyed the lap of honour, the words spoken by the manager have restored any lingering doubts that I might have had that we might screw it up, we should and will beat Cardiff next weekend guys!
I know the cup final is the most important thing but I am so disappointed to see us lose another game, 4 in a row now guys not ideal preparations at all is it Cardiff must be quacking in their boots at the moment...
On the other hand, it could have been a hell of a lot worse this season, so after some reflection - and I was not amused when we lost, but I hate losing at the best of times even though I am used to it - it is hard to be too ungrateful as we have just had our best league season for 50 years, but it could and should have been even better and it would have been with half an ounce of professionalism over the past 4 or 5 weeks! But lets be thankful for what we do have eh, as would you rather be fighting relegation battle or be where we are...
Full focus on the cup final now, if we win that it will be an absolutely fantastic season and will justify the sacrifice to the league we have made.
We should aim high, but we also have to keep things in check, it has been a very, very good season, a few arrivals in the summer, particularly in a creative player(s) and wide areas with someone alongside Jermain Defoe that can do the business, most probably Peter Crouch and we will be laughing.
Harry Redknapp was fantastic at the end when he said his bit, he got to the point then went off, no histrionics, no big song and dance, he made a point of addressing the crowd and saying we will bring home the cup and went - it is just a shame that so many left, and many before the final whistle even!
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Fulham 1 - Danny Murphy 76
Pedro Mendes (Sean Davis 73)
Lassana Diarra (Sulley Muntari 83)
Kanu (Milan Baros 73)
Substitutes Not Used