Bournemouth 1-4 Pompey
Mon 21-07-08, 7.45pm
The traditional fixture with Bournemouth took place tonight - with another taking place in Dorchester as well - as a strong Pompey side took on a team with all sorts of problems. Injuries and lack of funds due to their recent administration meant that once again putting together a team was difficult with plenty of trialist's in their side, striker Lee Bradbury, a Pompey old boy, was used as a right back! It was hard going at times, but eventually we came through to win 4-1.
Pompey started with Jamie Ashdown in goal, Glen Johnson on the right, Sol Campbell and Noe Pamarot in the heart of defence with Hermann Hreidarsson completing the back line. Glen Little played on the right with Papa Bouba Diop and Pedro Mendes in central midfield and Sulley Muntari starting on the left. The much anticipated pairing of Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe started up top together for the first time.
The first real chance came to Pompey as you would expect given the greater experience and quality that we have, with Muntari putting Defoe away. One on one you would expect him to score but trialist keeper Shwan Jalal saved well to deny him.
Listening to a game is always difficult, and some of the 'text' being read out were winding me up a bit, but no doubt plenty of what I write winds people up likewise! ... things such as 'Sunderland and Hull spending more than us and getting more players!' I know it might be slightly frustrating, but we have signed 3 good players, 1 exceptional in Crouch. Maybe the expectations - myself included perhaps - have risen due to comments made, but those types of teams need to sign more players than we do, as they are lacking in a lot of quality that we are not... Anyway, enough of answering texts back to the game... Bournemouth broke away when Pamarot saw a header saved and Ashdown was forced into making a save from Brett Pitman.
Pompey took the lead on 23 minutes, shortly after Darren Anderton had robbed Campbell and burst through committing players forward we managed to counter. Crouch knocked the ball down to Defoe who played Muntari through who made no mistake.
Some lacklustre play, particularly some poor defending from Campbell and Pamarot towards the end of the half and to be fair some good stuff from Bournemouth saw them come back into the game towards the end of the half, having the better or it in fact.
The disappointing sight of Little picking up an injury before the break, a thigh problem, saw him have to go off - Lauren came on to replace him.
After a Johnson surge won us a free kick, following this Bournemouth broke away again, going through our unorganised defence with Pitman getting away but Ashdown again saved well.
Half time: Bournemouth 0-1 Pompey.
There were no changes at half time and 2 minutes into the 2nd half it was 2-0 to Pompey. A scuffed shot from Defoe found its way to Crouch, who 6 yards out got the ball out from under his feet to score.
Defoe was denied his 3rd of pre-season and our 3rd of the night when a good link-up between Mendes and Defoe saw the striker denied by the keeper. From the resulting corner Mendes' delivery was spot on for Crouch and he scored his 2nd of the night to make it 3-0.
With Pompey having stepped up the tempo in the 2nd half more good play from Mendes saw another one on one for Defoe. Having already missed one you would put money on him putting this one away... but again he missed, not by much but he missed. On came Dave Nugent for Hreidarsson, which saw a switch in the back line.
Finally Defoe got his goal, linking-up with Crouch to beat Jalal on 70 minutes. They again linked up shortly after but sadly a goal could not come of it this time.
Pamarot was replaced by youngster Joel Ward, who slotted in at the back before Marvin Bartley went close for Bournemouth.
Another youngster Matt Ritchie also came on as did Christophe, who impressed on trial last season, but I lost track of who they came on for...
Finally Bournemouth got the consolation they deserved towards the end of the game. Poor defending from Campbell again allowed Pitman in and he lobbed Ashdown to score.
A lack of concentration again from Campbell saw Bournemouth in but Ashdown did well to deny sub Josh Mahar.
Full time: Bournemouth 1- Brett Pitman
Pompey 4 - Sulley Muntari, Peter Crouch 2, Jermain Defoe
From the sounds of it Sulley Muntari was lacking a bit of discipline in the 1st half by constantly coming inside when he was asked to play out on the left, which seemed to cause some problems and against a better side could have cost us. That said he will be the man this season I am sure, he will know what the premier league is about and will do the job. Speaking of the Ghanaian, 'apparently' Inter are chasing both him and Noe Pamarot, with a 'reported' 20m euros - around £15m I think - being lined up... I do not believe it myself.
Defensively we were not that good, but how much of this was down to lack of concentration and feet being taken off the gas and lack of quality? I am not so sure it had much to so with lack of quality to be honest!
The Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe partnership has started very well, some might say 'it was only Bournemouth' but you can only beat what is in front of you and we did that and they seemed to be very good and this has left me even more excited by it.
Some players need to up it, but it is another game towards full match fitness, and a first full 90 minutes for a few. The real draw back was the injury to Glen Little - hopefully this will not be that bad, as he would have more of a part to play than many might think this season... if fit of course...
PLAY UP POMPEY!