Nugent off the mark as Pompey share the spoils
White Hart Lane
The big day arrived and the fans are waiting in anticipation. The pubs in Portsmouth are packed!! I am in one writing this report.
Tottenham Hotspur - Gomes, Corluka, Woodgate, King, Bale, Lennon, Zokora, O'Hara, Modric, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe. Subs: Alnwick, Bentley, Huddlestone, Bent, Campbell, Taarabt, Dawson.
Pompey - James; Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Belhadj; Kaboul, Davis; Nugent, Kranjcar, A.Traore; Crouch Subs: Begovic, Hreidarsson, Pamarot, Wilson, Little, Utaka, Kanu
The date of 18th of January had been ringed on the calendars of most Pompey fans for some time now and their team did not let them down as they put in a fighting performance on a ground where they usually have no luck. They ended up coming away with a point from a 1-1 draw and with a little luck could have taken all three!
The two managers walked out of the tunnel together into what was already a red hot atmosphere. Pompey kicked off and started brightly with a Traore run that eventually petered out. But after eight minutes a poor square ball from Belhadj let in Defoe whose left foot shot ended in the crowd when he should have scored.
Three minutes later Glen Johnson cut inside and let go a left foot shot which Gomes spilled and just recovered to prevent the onrushing Peter Crouch tap home. Traore was causing the Spurs defence all manner of problems and on seventeen minutes he burst through only to shoot into the side netting.
Spurs then enjoyed a spell of pressure with David James saving well from Aaron Lennon and then brilliantly tipping over a Defoe header from a Lennon cross. Immediately Pompey were back down the other end and Kaboul was thwarted by a great Corluka tackle.
The first booking of the game arrived on twenty seven minutes when Sean Davis brought down Pavlyuchenko. After lengthy treatment the russina was stretchered off to be replaced by Darren Bent. The half progressed with Kaboul having two chances which sandwiched another James save.
With Ledley King clearly limping Spurs appear to have another problem. Then Pompey have a golden chance when David Nugent breaks away on the right and cuts inside and with only the goalkeeper to beat insists on turning onto his right foot and Gomes saves with his left. Replays showed that Traore had made great ground and was placed for a tap in. Immediately after King is replaced by Michael Dawson.
Pompey are defending well but appear to be letting players cut inside and have free shots from the edge of the box. The half ends with Nugent blazing over from a narrow angle.
Half Time - Tottenham Hotspur 0 Pompey 0
During half time the Spurs groundstaff are watering the pitch for some reason, did not seem to need it for me. Both teams had their chances and scores level appears a fair score line.
There are no changes at half time and the second half starts with a long period of midfield exchange with no real opportunities until in the 58th minute Lennon cuts inside and his deflected shot is acrobatically saved by James who is alert and throws the ball to Belhadj. He makes ground down the left before feeding Traore who runs at the Spurs defence. When the challenge eventually comes on the edge of the box he squares to NUGENT who lashes his twenty yard shot off Bale and into the net past Gomes.
It was move of great pace and took just eighteen seconds from James' save to the ball settling in the home team's net. Can Pompey hang on is the question on everybody`s lips. For a while they seem in control and Crouch is unlucky with a header that drifts wide. On 68 minutes Spurs make their final change with Bentley replacing Bale. Bentley's first contribution is to bring down Johnson.
Then on seventy minutes the inevitable happened Defoe takes a square ball from Modric and hits a left foot shot through Campbell`s legs and passed an unsighted James. We fear the worst but Pompey recover and defend well with Krancjar clearing off the line from a Defoe header this time from a corner.
On eighty minutes comes the last and best chance of the game when Bent unmarked and only seven yards out heads a left wing cross wide. Both Distin and Campbell make great defensive tackles and Pompey replace Kaboul with Marc Wilson and Krancjar with Hreidarsson and clock runs down. The final action is when Bent has a shot straight at James after three minutes of time added on.
Full Time - Tottenham Hotspur 1 Pompey 1