Date:Sunday May 16 2010
Pompey fell at the final hurdle yesterday, people talk of our cup run as 'fairytale', well if it was, it was more Shrek than Cinderella.
This is a match report where I won't have to regale you with minute by minute blows of action, yesterday was more about the closings of an era, what will pass and what lies in store.
Pompey sprang few surprises in team selection, Boateng made the team like I predicted, while it was the steady old heads that started with the likes of Vanden Borre and Belhadj sat on the bench.
The pitch was suspect again, this time looking too dry, but to me in the stand it didn't seem to cut up as badly as last month.
Chelsea would of dominated possesion, that is for sure, the stats will point to the woodwork being struck 5 times in the first half, what won't be evident though is twice the ball was pushed onto the posts by great saves from James, Kalou missing a sitter and Drogba clipping the base of a post with James having the goal covered.
Petr Cech pulled off a save he should never of been near on about 20 minutes, Boateng volleying goalwards with Piquionne deflecting the effort towards Cech to flick away, it was the sort of chance you know a 20 goals a season striker would of buried.
Anyway, Pompey made to halfway on level terms still, our luck was in for sure, but Mokoena ans Rocha were mountains once more and that should not be overlooked.
Second half and Pompey had the big chance they craved, you can get no better chance than a dead ball from 12 yards, but as I have pleaded for so often this season, when you have to beat just the 'keeper from the spot, BELT IT!! Boateng scored in the semi just like that, but this time he tried to send Cech the wrong way and ended up only poking it against his legs with little power, Pompey's luck was starting to deflate before us.
Drogba was the man who made the difference once more, he struck home a great free-kick from the edge of the area, James went full stretch but was still agonisingly short as the ball crept in, Boateng showed his dismay by burying his head in his shirt.
It seems Boateng's last act as a Pompey player would of been that miss, he was subbed shortly after, he was distraught and was now lost on the pitch, shame that a man who could of been a Pompey great will be remembered not for his talent but a petulant display at Manchester united and passing up the chance to be a hero.
Pompey huffed for an equaliser but it never looked like coming, Belhadj sent in a couple of quality crosses, but our strikers don't have the goalden touch when it is really needed and they went to waste.
The whistle blew and that was it, the players trudged up for their losers medal, while the crowd sang on, Pompey as a club right now are on life support, the fans though will keep providing transfusions until a cash donor is found to breathe new life into our mortally wounded club.
As the players went round to clap the fans, it was hard to try and picture any of them being here next season, the loanees will all depart, Boateng will be sold to try and harness his undoubted talent at another club, Belhadj will be firing in crosses for someone else next season and Utaka can flatter to decieve back in Ligue 1.
James waved goodbye, he has alledgedly been offered a new contract on recuced terms, after this display he will have plenty of suitors in the top flight still, he has a World cup to play in and could raise his stock higher still, he obviously doesn't need to be motivated by money, but can the Championship provide the career motivation he needs?
O'Hara walked out of our lives but not our hearts, while the crocked Wilson shuffled around in his suit in the knowledge his talent will have been noted.
Last of all was Avram, he is in love with our club, but can he face another season of being seduced then betrayed by broken promises? West Ham are calling, in my opinion he will be sidestepping into another chalice dripping in poison, but it felt like goodbye, not au revoir.
And still the fans sang on.....................
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Date:Sunday May 16 2010
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