Date:Sunday August 30 2009
All new Pompey took to the field today to try and halt a dismal start to the season.
Michael Brown and Tommy Smith went straight into the side, Smith on the right in place of Utaka, and Brown took Mokoena's spot who in turn moved to centre-back in place of the now departed Distin.
Pompey started the game by driving forward, if we were expecting our team to get steam rollered, they were going all out to prove they could compete with the big earning Galacticos.
Piquionne had the first effort of note on 10 minutes, a long ball found the Frenchman, he controlled and smashed a shot past Given but into the side netting.
Next up and Ireland stole possesion from Brown and Hughes hacked him down to earn a card and a free-kick on the edge of the area for City. Tevez stepped up and his shot flew narrowly wide into the grateful Fratton end.
On 20 minutes Kranjcar got the chance to show off his free-kick prowress, but like against Fulham 2 weeks ago he didn't trouble the 'keeper and smashed a shot straight into the wall.
Pompey were working the channels with some success, but everytime they sent a ball into the box it was comfortably dealt with and cleared, City were doing much the same, but Belhadj was looking solid and Vanden Borre had really upped his game.
On the half hour though the inevitable happened, Barry sent over another corner, Adebayor leapt like a demented salmon and powered home a header, Pompey needed to be the first team to score against City's expensively assembled defence to get anything out this game.
Pompey huffed and puffed, but Given was not really troubled again first half, Begovic could claim likewise, although Richards had one disallowed for offside after Bellamy sent in a fine cross.
Second half and Pompey came out of the hutch the quickest, Brown first had a long ranger blocked by ireland, and then he won a tackle in midfield, got to his feet and blocked the next clearance and had a run at goal, he netted, but Howard webb was having none of it and ruled it out for handball, you can bet if it was Rooney it would have been legit.
City had a strong 20 minutes now, pushing hard for a second, but Pompey held firm and Begovic gathered well when required.
Time was ticking and Utaka who was on for Smith, cut in from the right and unleashed a fierce drive with his left boot, it looked like it was going to nestle in the top corner, but whistled narrowly past the post.
Adebayor was resorting to stumbling every time he had the slightest contact, Webb was buying it though and infuriated the home crowd by repeatedly blowing everytime he went down, really weak refereeing.
With 10 left the ball broke to Hughes on the edge of the area, but he used he goal ratio up on Tuesday and hit high and wide.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, on came Nugent and he showed his value once again(considerably less than we paid for him), he did the first part well, turned his man and from 8 yards just had to put it either side of Given, but with all the aplomb of a concrete elephant scuffed his shot into the ground and straight at Given, a Golden chance gone and with it you fear Nugent's Pompey career.
The whistle went and Pompey were 4 games down and pointless, 1 goal in 4 games tells the story.
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Date:Sunday August 30 2009
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