Date:Tuesday August 26 2008
As the two teams walked out on the pitch, I and the other Pompey fans at the ground had great expectations of a point or a win against man united. I was looking forward to seeing Armand Traore make his debut, with Kranjcar missing out through injury.
Pompey started the game brilliantly, with Diop seeing his hard low driven shot fizz past the post, with Edwin Van Der Sar well beaten. With the Fratton faithful responding to some terrific passing by Pompey, the game looked promising.
The solid defence of Johnson, Campbell, Kaboul and Distin looked like it would be hard to score against.
Some inconsistent refereeing by an obvious Red Devil fan, Chris Foy booked Diop for a tackle that barely warranted a foul, but decided to let john O'Shea hack down Defoe when the break was on, only to give a free kick and not a caution.
The Man United goal came in the 32nd minute when a Patrice Evra low cross was bundled in by Darren Fletcher, with a wicked deflection off Campbell and despite Distin's effort to stop the ball, it crossed the line. The Pompey fans responded quickly and urged their team forward, only for Pompey to struggle for the remainder of the half.
The incident with Pompey John at half time did not help Pompey in any way at all, with the pathetic actions of the stewards who banned him from playing his bugle and drum. Also, telling someone they will be ejected if they stand up in a game is wrong, as most fans stand up in excitement when something good happens.
Pompey didn't really get going in the 2nd half until the introduction of Jerome Thomas, replacing Traore. Thomas took a few minutes to get going but eventually did when his shot from 25 yards was well saved by the keeper. This was followed by a similar effort from Diop who had his shooting boots on when his effort was again well dealt with by the keeper.
The introduction of Utaka late on in the game did not help Pompey's cause or his own, with him barely touching the ball and making little impact.
All in all, some good midfield work by the likes of Diarra, Davis, Traore and Diop was undone by a lack of communication between Diop and Johnson when both let Evra run straight in behind them. Poor service to Crouch and Defoe meant they didn't get one decent chance between them all game.
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Date:Tuesday August 26 2008
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