Hammers suceed in basement battle
Well, the Christmas wish we all wanted never deleivered, old Santa must of lost 20,000 letters from the South coast obviously sit unopened somewhere in Lapland.
I had a phone call from a mate of mine as he walked down Green st prior to the game, this particular mate is a West Ham fan, we had a little chat about the prospects and I told him Mullins was in for us, he actually said he would swap back Mullins for Kovac any day of the week, I wonder how he felt after the game?
Pompey were forced to leave Boateng on the bench as we was not deemed fit enough for a whole match after suffering from illness, the only other change was Yebda dropping to the bench in favour of Mullins who was to play wide right, Begovis retained his place in goal as James still hadn't 'recovered' from his 'calf injury'.
Pompey were first to have a sniff in the first minute, a corner whistled past Hreidarsson's head and an early goal was denied, but the match soon settled into a midfield battleground with tackles flying in and fouls conceded.
Dindane and Brown were both booked by the 20th minute, and to be fair Dindane could count himself lucky to stay on the pitch after half-time, his constant niggly fouls could well of earned a second yellow on another day.
If Pompey have had an achilles heel this season, it has been the fact that we concede stupid penalties at stupid times, cue Mullins to lunge in and take out Jiminez after only 22 minutes, up stepped Diamanti and Begovic couldn't reach his well struck shot.
One down and a mountain to climb, the Irons were bouyed by their gift and pressed for a killer second, Collison and Parker both going close. Pompey were struggling to threaten Green, O'Hara coming closest from range, although Piquionne was proving to be a thorn once more.
Boateng was stright on for Belhadj in the second half as Grant decided it was time for our talisman, but it was Begovic who showed his class first, clawing away Diamanti's deflected effort, if James has decided he wants to desert us, at least we have a more than able deputy.
Pompey finally decided to make a go of it attacking wise, Kanu replaced Dindane and almost found Piquionne straight away with a cute back-heel, Green getting there first though.
Boateng almost grabbed the equaliser, he flicked past Green who was dithering to gather, but he could only find the side netting from a wide angle, good chance went begging.
Pompey were pushing hard, but with 10 minutes to go the tables turned and West Ham decided to go for the throat, collison tried a curler which Begovic again did well to turn round the post, and then on 88 West Ham had a free-kick on the edge of the area. Jiminez found some quality with his boot, and Kovac rose highest to smack a header inside the post and kill off any lingering Pompey hopes.
Pompey were condemned to another reverse, and a second boxing day defeat by the Eastend boys in 2 years, not what we wanted.
Arsenal are up next and Pompey have yet to beat tham in the Prem, another defeat followed by the ANC exodus could mean a mass sell of as the owners look to consilodate their position, James is already making noises about slipping off, so has Belhadj, but with an embargo still in place we cannot replace them, crunch time has arrived.