Portsmouth - Pompey slip up again
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Pompey 0 - Villa 1


27/01/09 20:00


Pompey slip up again

Just like to say I am writing this report straight from the game, no replays have been witnessed and I haven't heard either managers opinions, this is how I saw it.

Pompey took to the field with a 4-4-2 formation, my initial reaction was good, only doubt I had was whether either forwrd would have the pace to get in behind a solid Aston Villa defence, the score of our last premiership goal, or any goal for that matter was glued to the bench.
Mullins made his debut alongside Davis, and Pompeys very own thorn Heskey made his debut the other end.

Pompey and Villa started the game very sinmilarly, both knocking it about, but neither side testing either 'keeper. Mullins looked tidy, and pennant was working hard and getting forward well, the only problem seemed to be both Belhadj and Davis' radars were awry, since this was half our midfield, it was a concern.
Villa were having concerns too, Curtis davies seeming to slice everything that came at him.
first chance of the game fell to Mullins, his shot deflecting narrowly wide of the upright and Pompey had the first of what was to be about 100 corners.
On about 20 mins and Villa scored out of the blue, Friedel punted up the pitch, from I was Agbonlahor gave Distin and nudge and Heskey was left untracked by Campbell to bury into the bottom corner from the edge of the area, that familiar feeling was back in my guts.
Pompey had a few half-chances, Friedel saving well from one Pennant effort, and then Agbonlahor was clean through only to put a horrible poke wide.
Just before half-time and belhadj showed why he is no longer trusted at left-back, he was twice contrived to lose possesion to Gardner, and then in a show of Gavin Maguire like petulance just hacked the man down, yellow was flashed but another day could easily have been red. So half-time was here, we had most of the ball, fired umpteen corners for the bloke at the near post to head away, and generally huffed a bit.

During the restart I fully expected Belhadj to be dragged off and Traore to be on, not only was he lucky to still be on, but was also playing crap. The only change was Campbell coming off for Kaboul, no complaints from me there, Campbell is either solid or flaky these days, today was a Cadburys day.
The match slipped into the same routine, Pompey pushed forward, forced a corner (back post this time) and Villa relied on the breakaways, from my position aided by the slowest linesman i have ever seen, he waved play on even though he was on the halfway line nearly every time, no doubt having a chat with the ever so chatty Mr O'Neill. Referee Walton was not really eluding himself to the home support either, Pennant seemed to be wiped out totally by Barry as he burst forward, but Pompey were denied the chance to miss another penalty as he waved all appeals away.
With about 20 minutes to go, Belhadj really done himself proud, the blind, slow and clueless linesman missed a blatant hanball by Cuellar as Belhadj tried to juggle over his head, he indicated Villas way and Belhadj no doubt forgetting his yellow, first decided to have a slanging match and then belted the ball a full 4 yards away, out popped the red like a dogs lipstick, and off he marched, Pompey 1 down and down to 10 men, great.

The sending-off never really changed things, we again forced corner after corner, Villa again headed them away. Utaka came on for Kanu, much to the crowds and Nugent's dibelief, but for once the Nigerian looked up for it, one run took him past 3 defenders, but he overhit the ball and then realised if he were to shoot with his left foot he would have nothing to stand on and Friedel smothered.
Time ticked on and Davis summed everything up with the last kick of the game, a tired limp shot that was nearer the KFC behind the ground than Friedel.
We came, we saw, we left home defeated and deflated again.

Pompey had the effort tonight, but we resembled a fat middle aged man with a lovely headband going for a jog, all effort, but never looked like getting anywhere.

Star Player

Jermaine Pennant was our stand out man, he provided anything that was goog about us, and Villa saw fit to take him out every time he got the ball second half, tells its own story.

Manager Rating

Biggest mistake was leaving Belhadj on at half-time, he had one life and wasted it.

Opponent Rating

Lovely fella, always chatting to the ref and 4th official.

what next?

Pompey need a Mendes moment to kick start our season again, thing is, who will provide it?

The Journalist

Writer: paultsmouth Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 27 2009

Time: 11:23PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Where is the next point coming from? Yes we did ok, but I can't see a goal on the horizon
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27/01/2009 23:28:00

oh Rug now you've put me off my exercise.
plymouth graham
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27/01/2009 23:31:00

No luck and atrocious refereeing cost us the point we really deserved.
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27/01/2009 23:34:00

sounds fair to me i thought we did ok but we had nothing up front. Kanu was running around in the first half laying off balls into empty spaces for players to run into, but the players did not see what he saw. Belhadj was a disgrace, but the rest did well
plymouth graham
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27/01/2009 23:36:00

Not enough quality through the middle for me. Thats what cost us the game, not the ref.
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27/01/2009 23:40:00

Pennant was good, and I thought Mullins was pretty decent too. Can't imagine why TA didn't take Belhadj off at half time. Hell, he had Traore on the bench, so it would have been a straight swap! For the life of me I couldn't see the sense in picking Kanu over Nugent. Kanu would have made sense at the weekend, but not against Villa, and not with the rest of the lineup.
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27/01/2009 23:56:00

TA should have taken bekhadj off at half time!! Villa were lucky and we were unlucky. That's the way it's going this season! TA should get 2 or 3 games to win or at least score !!
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28/01/2009 00:05:00

played well Pompey, just no finish... though Adams would of took Belhadj off, petulant player, cant be juggling it about like that, and then kick an opponent just cos he lost the ball! On that performance if you do it consitently, should be ok ...
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28/01/2009 00:06:00

Well I don't know but I thought this was a very good performance from us. We dominated Villa and any team to do that should take pride from that accomplishment. While they are probably the luckiest team in the league right now I would honestly say I have rarely seen a team as unlucky as we were today.
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28/01/2009 03:49:00

Great start by Pennant, great link up play with Johnson. Wasted corners by taking them too early, we have enough big players, to send the ball in the box? Sean Davis needs a new pair of shoes as he cant seem to stay on his feet! and as ive said many times Campbell is slow, was releaved to see Kaboul start the second Second half was much more promising, played higher up the pitch and with more confidence then Belhadj goes and screws it all up..
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28/01/2009 06:10:00

Yep, got to admit it was a spirted performance except for the 15 mins after they ecored when we went ot pieces. Belhadj naive and although it's easy to say he should have come off at half time I would have expected Tony to just have tried to calm hin down (maybe he tried) The problem is we need to score and Crouch doesn't look like scoring at the mo - Take him (and Defoe) out of the equation and our next highest goalscorer is Belhadj... with TWO. We've been banging on about a Playmaker as a top priority but tonight we did create chances but could not put them away.. I think a finisher is the priority.. If we at least score we have a chance of winning a game -
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28/01/2009 06:26:00

I was astounded by Belhadj - since when did he turn into Jack Charlton - what next - fishing in the Test? Deeply unhelpful stuff. Do you remember in the 1970s that Malcolm Allison was convinced he'd been cursed by a gypsy and that's why his career was going down the khazi? Well, I wonder if TA has upset someone recently - luck is not a word you can use at FP without being preceded by the words "no f***ing". HOWEVER, I thought the spirit of the team (apart from NB throwing the toys out the pram) was at least more committed and given that there are basiclaly two new players and Herman trying to fit into a team he's never played with, there may be glimmers of hope. Not as if Fulham have been having a great time recently. But L'pool will shaft us though...
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28/01/2009 07:42:00

headless doesn't have any quality and Belhadj had an off day. No strike threat and my hero Sol has lost it; and we look decidedley frail. I saw effort but not enough quality to climb on last nights performance; I suspect a nervy end of this season and if things dont improve markedly possibly a new manager end of next month; cheap manager or not Pompey can't afford relegation..
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28/01/2009 07:44:00

You think TA will last that long?
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28/01/2009 08:05:00

If we repeat that performance, Belhadj excepted naturally, we'll get three points on Saturday
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28/01/2009 08:08:00

At least you feel that with NB out we can bring in Traore who isn't exactly a second rate winger. If anyone was going to get the red card, NB is the most replaceable.
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28/01/2009 08:28:00

Sorry to say it but couldn't bear to watch the match, poor team, awful manager, club in a right state. No wonder the attendances are going down. Storrie/Gaydamak do the honourable thing!
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28/01/2009 08:51:00

What i witnessed last night was great football all apart from the fact we did not score. How can anyone complain about the fact that we had over 70% possession against Villa, with 14 shots to their four and 9 on target to their 1. We need to work on corners as you would expect at least a couple of attempts to be on target from 18 corners!
Belhadj was stupid last night, but the linesman was a disgrace. We all know which one will get punished.
If we play that hard for the rest of the season I know that we will not go down. Maybe we should just pray for another striker to arrive before the weekend.
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28/01/2009 08:55:00

Hey hey! The papers reckon our saviour could be...Wait for it.............................Marlon Harewood!!...............................Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha, April the first has come early this year!!!!!!!!!!!
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28/01/2009 09:22:00

Please please tell me it ain't so, Amdy Faye AND Marlon Harewood! If that doesn't smack of desperation and fizzy pop then i don't know what does! As for last night, we didn't sound too bad, although I don't think we would have scored if we played till the summer.
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28/01/2009 09:27:00

bluedr how long have you been supporting pompey? To say we have an awful team and an awful manager tells me you didn't see us in the first Division much! Yeah we're not that same side without Diarra, Mendes, Muntari but this is still a very good team. Crouch needs some confidence, Nugget needs some games up front along side him and hopefully he can regain some confidence he got from the spurs games. Saviola in, with the same commitment and chances we created last night and we will stay in this league easy. What is a disgrace is those people who aren't turning up to games...I have never stopped supporting Portsmouth, I was there when we were battling relegation in the First Division season after season after season (now that was an awful team), and I'll be here supporting my team as we battle against relegation this season. If there's one thing Pompey are good at...it's avoiding relegation! Great performance from the guys last night, I thoroughly believe we'll stay up if we continue to perform like that :)
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28/01/2009 09:37:00

Well guys - Nugent deserves a chance like everyone else and although he took his goal well at Spuds he still missed an absolute sitter - do Premiership strikers miss these sorts of chances? Honestly not really. Again though, I'd like to see him have a chance up front. Glad he played 4-4-2 at least, although I think osing 1-0 and playing well against a Villa side who are 3rd and looking very tasty for a Champions League spot isn't so much a BAD result. More of an UNWANTED result! We need a striker who can adequately replace Defoe, and we need one now (Saviola I hope you're reading this! I hear he logs onto Vital). We will be okay as long as TA sticks with the 4-4-2, gets a striker in, and tells Belhadj to pack it in and stop throwing wobblies! Villa were closing us down, it was aas if they had 22 players on their team alone, so to limit them to only 1-0 and create chances ourselves should be seen as a positive, and not a negative.
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28/01/2009 09:49:00

bluedr - I disagree. Last night was a much better performance, abeit we were still a little predictable, lacked pace through the middle and still have an inability to put away our chances. That said, I reckon we would win more than we lose playing like that. Get behind the team and the manager.
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28/01/2009 10:38:00

The stat that got me was we had 17 corners & none come to anything. What the fck do they do in traing session, play ping pong?
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28/01/2009 12:31:00

I'm beginning to wonder if the next time we do finally score, I'll remember what to do! But a huge improvement on the Swansea game. I must keep my gob shut though I said 'is Heskey playing' 5 mins before he scored, and 'if Belhadj doesn't watch himself, he'll get sent off'. Nugent should have played instead of Kanu - I thought he was getting a chance, now he's not? Chuffed with Pennant - he's class. I was heartened at the end, some fans booed, then a rousing chorus of support rang out. That's the support we need, we're all in this together, fans and players.
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28/01/2009 12:41:00

We need some perspective on this match - its one we probably would not have expected to win under the man from Sandbanks either. If it hadn't been from a mistake from Sol - and we had loads of chances, pity we can't finish at the moment. But we do have Crouchie in our side, he will always be a goalscorer, I think when he starts hitting the net again, he'll have a few stored up there and there'll be no stopping him. Hope its soon.
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28/01/2009 13:31:00

agree with a lot of this but I took a lot of positives from this game.... Penant was one of them! and that they are a top 4 team and we dominated...... Main concern is we have a tall squad and not to trouble from 18 corners really really concerns me!!!! Training ground stuff
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28/01/2009 13:57:00

PFCGino have you forgotten the number of sitters that Defoe missed last season, Defoe has always wasted good chances but nobody said a thing as long as he scored or we won. Defoe was a good striker but his conversion ratio of chances to goals was not that great. Nugent needs a run in the team and it will result in a better ratio of goals to chances. As for an adequate replacement for Defoe not a chance in hell on our budget, Saviola still sounds like pie in the sky to me but i hope i'm wrong. Belhadj was stupid to get sent off but i think it had a great deal to do with frustration at bad decisions constantly going against him and the rest of the team. I'm not defending him for either booking but when you get a constant stream of one way refereeing it causes players to get frustrated and angry.
Steve C
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28/01/2009 14:17:00

don't look like were gonna get saviola anyway looks like hes gonna go to PSV does look like where gonna get sunny though parently having a medical as i speak lol but on the game we pld alright and deserved something but as many have said we are missing that creativity in the middle and a cutting edge but creativity could be solved with sunny and a cutting edge well i say give nugent a dam try it was stupid and unfair on him not to play him against villa UNLESS he had a slight knock we didn't know about but i really don't think campell will be here in the summer and if he is it should be as a coach.
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28/01/2009 15:18:00

totally agree m@ I can't see Sol here come the summer. He's on massive wages and just doesn't have the pace anymore. I feel much more confident with Kaboul in there along side Distin... Radoi in the summer anyone? I read the article about Saviola and PSV too.... will be a shame if we can't get him, but again Nugget should be given a chance
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28/01/2009 16:21:00

Fair point SteveC. I did say that Nugent does deserve a chance. I am not Nugent's biggest fan, but he has played v well on the right and also took his goal well against Spurs so I'm all for giving him a bit of a run. Either way, 1 up front is a big mistake and as soon as TA canged to a 4-4-2 we suddenly play with confidence but lady luck just wasn't shining.
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28/01/2009 16:50:00

Can we all be honest for a change readers, Villa put out a far from first choice side and snatch a win. Despite all our possession and pressure they were always cool under pressure and an example of how to keep making progress. A good manager backed by the board, now thay are reaping the rewards. We defended far too deep again, lacked any invention or guile in midfield, and the two strikers were bloody rubbish. Tony is not the man, it is not about luck, it is about the team having attributes we have not currently got and it will cost us our premiership place. Belhadj and his performance were a disgrace to the shirt, Kanu was so poor and off the pace, and his replacement no no no. Davis is a championship midfielder and is out of his depth in these type of games, and Barry bossed the game with Petrov. I fear for the rest of our season, my Pompey are looking so bedraggled and lost.
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28/01/2009 19:02:00


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