Vital Football

Sunderland 1-2 Pompey

1 - 2

Stadium of Light

Sat 08-11-08, 3pm

Attendance: 37712


The dust seems to settle, then something or someone comes along to scuff it all up again. Today we went to Sunderland in search of something to desperately lift the flagging spirits. For a while it looked like things would get even worse, but from one down we came back to win it 2-1 with an injury time penalty.

The Match
Pompey started brightly, but were hit with a sucker punch - and something we knew we could not afford - as Djibril Cisse got in behind the defence to give Sunderland a dream start, and a nightmare one for Pompey after only 3 minutes. A second was only denied by the post as this came to our rescue in the opening 15 minutes to deny Kieran Richardson.

With heads down, the last thing that we needed at this point, Sunderland remained in control and Cisse was denied a second by David James who turned his effort away.

Sunderland remained in control for most of the opening 30 minutes as we struggled to get any foothold in the game. We kept giving the ball away and were not playing as a team and this helped allow Cisse get in again, with the defence nowhere to be seen, James again came to our rescue! Not only were heads down now, arguments were breaking out between players on the pitch - as we struggled...

As the half drew to a close we got better, but still did not threaten enough to look as though we were going to get anything from this game. Tony Adams had an important team talk to give at half time, but could his words inspire his players - did the players even care, those were the thoughts I had but could only hope they could!

Much like the 1st half we started the 2nd well, but went one better and got level with a cracker from Nadir Belhadj 5 minutes in. The heads were up, we were playing and suddenly believed - Jermain Defoe went close with a couple of other chances as we looked a completely different side...

The game opened up, but no real chances came after the early burst in the opening stages from us, although James did have to again save from Cisse - but he was offside - and Steed Malbranque. When the England keeper was finally beaten again fortunately the linesman had his flag up to rule out Cisse's header for offside.

With around 20 minutes to play Adams played his first card substitute wise with Kanu coming on to replace Peter Crouch. A few minutes later, and a few minutes of end to end football - but with no clear cut chances - the next change was made with John Utaka coming on for Kranjcar.

In the closing minutes it was getting a bit nerve wrecking, not so much as we were under pressure but because it was a point that would be a big one - losing again due to a late goal would have crushed confidence, but we looked the more likely. Lassana Diarra almost pulled off a fine ball through to Defoe, whereas Utaka put in a fantastic ball but no one could get on the end of it, then moments later with another great chance to deliver he showed the other side of his game with a very disappointing cross.

With the injury time board going up for 3 minutes our moment of glory - or potential glory arrived. A rash challenge from El Hadji 'the camel' Diouf gave us a penalty. Defoe stepped up and made no mistake to score and we went mad! He then went off with Richard Hughes coming on to see us through - and we did it!

Match Summary
A poor, poor 1st half looked as though our season was going from bad to worse - the self belief was gone, players were arguing and we looked shocking. Whatever was said at half time paid off as we were much better in the 2nd half and picked up a massive 3pts, which 'could' be the turning point of our season - we needed the luck and we got it today.

Building on this is essential now, avoiding defeat was a major thing - winning was a fantastic bonus, even more so from 1-0 down.

Kranjcar (Utaka 75)
Defoe (Hughes 90)
Crouch (Kanu 69)

Substitutes Not Used
A Traore


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Date:Saturday November 8 2008
Time: 4:57PM

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GET IN!!!!!.....sounds a bit lucky, but we deserve it after the Wigan game!!!!!.....well done Belhadj!!!!
08/11/2008 17:30:00
About time our luck changed, happy for Tony, & for us the fans, Love it.
08/11/2008 17:34:00
Changes the complexion of the whole week doesn't it!
08/11/2008 17:40:00
certainly does HSB!...who played right mid 2day???
08/11/2008 17:48:00
Charlie it was Kranjcar !... And although I didn't hear a lot of the first half (broken connection & had kids) it didn't sound like we had any control in the middle.. Not blaming Krunchie for that but we played better in the second half and from what I can gather Utaka did as much a Niko in the 15 minutes he played .. But as I said my take on the game might not be that accurrate.. except for the last ten .. The kids were told to sit down and be quiet while Daddy listens to Pompey win... It worked !
08/11/2008 17:58:00
I'd like to dedicate this victory to the Sunderland fan who texted the BBC from the Stadium of Light to suggest we were a good outside prospect for relegation as we were playing so badly. Not because he was wrong - we were playing badly - but because tempting fate as he did was just what we needed. Big Tony hasn't had a lot of luck since taking over, and he got a bit today, Cosmic balance restored a little after the Wigan game.
08/11/2008 18:02:00
utaka was good down the right (maybe it's just that he needs a new guy to impress every 4 weeks or so..?), niko wasn;t BAD down the right - at least not from what I heard. Listening to the radio, belhadj still managed to get caught going forwards too much - even though he was left midfield! You would never have thought he was a defender... I think that had they not scorred in the third minute, we would have destroyed them. We came out first half, and piled on the pressuer, before they scorred a flukey goal, and our heads dropped. Second half, we came out exactly the same as the first - but they didnt score - and we won the second half on merit. A bit lucky with the penalty - but hey, we had it coming!
08/11/2008 18:06:00
Didn't get to see the game but my Dad in Malta gets these things live (must sort out a webcam if he doesn't get too confused about how to operate it) and he said we were absolute sh** in the first half and Niko wasn't really worth the entrance fee and Diarra was a bit subdued. Is this GJ's first game with the the frizzy hair back again? I think this is some sort of omen and we need to stop him mucking about with his barnet.
08/11/2008 18:11:00
Watched it up the pub, Definate pen. Glad to see our luck changed this game. Tony Adams Blue and White army!!
08/11/2008 18:26:00
Hey congrats guys! Didn't watch but I'm happy for you. Give Big Tone time and he'll show what he's made of. Did Armand play btw?
08/11/2008 19:34:00
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