How we threw it all away
Pompey did what Pompey do best once more this afternoon, we got in front, ended up against 10 men, then decided we had the best defenders in the World, so sat back and invited the pressure, like a well worn path the rest fell straight to type, Boro pushed on and forced an injury time equaliser, more predictable than an episode of Midsommer murders.
Pompey are masters of their own destiny we are told, well they must have suicidal tendencies, you are 1 up with 10 to go, your opponents are down to 10, what do you do?
Well, Pompey take off a striker, thus taking pressure up top off, Boro could play with 3 at the back, basically ignoring the fact they are a man down, and Pompey invite wave after wave of pressure until the Tsunami washes over them and cleans away the straw huts of a defence on the beach, and with it 2 valuable points.
Pompey went into the match with no surprises, Basinas and Gekas both slipped right off the radar in squad terms though, and Hughes returned to the bench.
Pompey started brighter than a Supernova, movement was good and Boro were on the back foot, Crouch poked wide from a Pennant centre, and Nugent was blocked out brilliantly by Huth just as he was about execute his shot.
Boro were offering little at this stage, Nugent being denied by a post after Crouch laid him off.
On the half hour though and Pompey got some just rewards, Middlesboro' gave away a cheap corner, and then slept as Johnson crossed for crouch to volley home, his duck was broken and Pompey had a priceless lead that their pressure deserved.
The home supporters were making their displeasure well heard, Nugent almost making it worse but headed only straight at Jones when maybe he should of worked him more.
Pennant was done for by now, he limped off to be replaced by Belhadj. Crouch should maybe have added a second on the whistle but he poked wide.
Second half and Pompey had the first effort of note, Kranjcar firing narrowly over from a free-kick, Boro were starting to show a bit more though and the half was much more of a contest.
Crouch had another gilt-edged opportunity when Huth misjudged a punt forward, but as he waited for the ball to sit up comfortably the Kraut got back at him and made up for his error.
On 70 minutes and Pompey made the change which possibly changed the match, they took off Nugent who was being a menace to the Boro defence, and bought on Hughes to bolster midfield. The message was clear, what we have we hold.
Bates then got himself sent off by getting booked trying to earn a penalty, Pompey had the goal and a man advantage now, surely 3 points were within reach?
Crouch had another chance with 10 minutes to go, but under no pressure he fired wide when he should really have put the game beyond doubt.
Pompey were sitting deeper and deeper now though, and Boro were trying to force one in through sheer brute force, and in the second minute of injury time they did just that, a corner turned into a scramble, and King forced home and Pompey's pack of cards collapsed.
Pompey in fact had David James to thank for a least one point, Alves found himself clean through with the fat lady about to burst into life, but Jamo spread himself and blocked the effort, 3 points nearly evaporated into none in the blink of an eye.