Vital Football

Pompey 1-1 Reading

1 - 1


14-08-10, 3pm

Attendance: 16,497


Portsmouth 1-1 Reading
Ciftci (8), Kebe (87)

Fortress Fratton had an uncertain summer as to whether it would ever witness a game of football again, but at 2.55 on Saturday the 14th of August, Portsmouth returned to Fratton Park for their first competitive game since their 3-1 beating of Wolves 116 days ago. Now they were back with a different outlook on football, a much changed team and a different league to contend with, and with it a new set of problems.

Today's visitors were Reading, who'll fondly remember coming here last time around, scoring 4 times and still getting a beating. The 7-4 extravaganza last time around was the highest scoring match in Premier League history, and some fans would be hoping for a similar outcome today, however the defenders won't be. Only Jon Utaka remained for the Pompey team that played 3 years ago, and Gunnarsson was the sole survivor from the Reading side.

As for the team news, new signing Carl Dickinson came straight in and replaced Joel Ward as the only change from the team that beat Stevenage on Monday night. As for the atmosphere, it was as electric as ever as the teams emerged.

The opening exchanges were played at a fast pace, dictated by the Blues, and it wasn't long at all before the deadlock was broken. Nugent won a corner which was well worked by Ciftci and Ritchie, and the former of the two smashed a shot past Adam Federici, via a deflection to send the Fratton Faithful into hysterics. Nadir Ciftci claimed the goal which was his 2nd goal in as many games, this one coming right in front of the Linvoy Primus Community Stand.

Reading responded with some good movement and a series of dangerous crosses, but it was Portsmouth who nearly doubled their lead on the counter attack when Utaka broke free, but he was forced to pass to Ritchie who shot wide. The were question marks as to why Utaka pulled up, but these were soon answered when he was replaced by Joel Ward, a possible hamstring problem for the Nigerian. His replacement, Ward, seemingly instructed to play behind Nugent.

The visitors started to get back into the game, with Jimmy Kebe managing to get past Carl Dickinson a number of times, and Jobi McAnuff also giving the defence something to worry about.

On the half-hour, it should have been 2-0. A massive mistake from Gunnarsson gave David Nugent a dream chance to break his dry spell, but decided to take his shot first time when he had acres of space, and shanked it about 5 yards wide. 18 months without a goal for Portsmouth and counting.

The first half ended with chances for both sides, Kebe once again being a thorn in Portsmouth's side, and at the other end Nugent had a chance but overhit his pass to Joel Ward. Portsmouth would have been happier to hear the whistle as they were starting to lose their shape, and at half time it was Portsmouth 1 - 0 Reading.

The second half started how the first ended, with chances for both sides creating opportunities, and Reading looking slightly more dangerous. The Royals came within a posts width of equalising when a great free-kick from Gylfi Sigurdsson curled round the wall and off the post, with Ashdown well beaten.

Pompey continued to have opportunities though and another perfectly timed run from Nugent saw him go 1-on-1 with Federici, but once again Nugent showed his lack in confidence as he stroked the ball two yards wide.

In the final 10 minutes Reading started to press forwards more and more, in doing so taking off old Pompey boy Griffin, and replaced him with Rasiak, who got the appropriate response for someone who played for that lot down the road. Their breakthrough came in the cruellest of ways as a deep corner was scrambled goalwards by Kebe, and the goal was given despite the protestations from Portsmouth players that the ball never went in.

In stoppage time both sides pushed for a winner, and after a great save from Ashdown, Michael Brown had a great chance to win it, but Federici was equal to his shot and the game ended 1-1. Pompey led for 80 minutes and this will no doubt feel like 2 points lost than 1 point gained, but we're off the mark for the season and all in all a decent performance by a side that epitomises the phrase 'bare bones'.

A final word on the crowd, 16,497 is about what we were getting for most matches last season, and the noise they made today was as deafening as ever. Hopefully we can keep this up in the upcoming months as it makes a big difference to the teams morale.

  • Frippy's Virtual Bookies - latest update.

    Star Player

    Ibrahima Sonko. A toss up between him and Ciftci, but I though Sonko was the star man today. A no-nonsense defender who dealt with everything that came his way, nearly knocking out Hughsie in doing so.

    Join the Vital Pompey Debate


  • Writer:PompeyFrippy
    Date:Saturday August 14 2010
    Time: 7:01PM


    No radio or TV on-line so I had to watch the BBC 'live-text'. It seemed that every 5th entry or so was about Nugent making a foul tackle.
    14/08/2010 19:55:00
    or missing a sitter surely Blue? lol
    14/08/2010 19:57:00
    I said 1-1 and Reading score i was correct then Rug? by God what a prediction!!
    14/08/2010 20:47:00
    Nugent for not scoring & Ciftci for scoring are killing my prediction league hopes; don't these people have a conscious. Some positives to take and unlucky to lose Slaka but Cotterille cannot keep blaming fitness, that excuse is starting to look as lame as Slaka's hamstring. As is the no training we were on an airplane for two weeks! At least this time Nugent thought to put the ball past the keeper, ok it went past the post as well; but there is hope yet. Dicko didn't look good for a man that gas had Prem lg pre season but there were glimpses. It's good to get a point, something to build on for Predton and Trannete etc, if I'm honest my biggest worry is Cotterille is starting to sound like Ian Holoway!!!
    14/08/2010 22:13:00
    Worryingly our Steve has given different reasons to different media. Lack of Experience ( michael brown or even Wilson spring to mind), lack of subs to another, and the one I really struggle with - lack of fitness. Now in reality it's probably a touch of all three, although Stevie has had plenty of training time, but lots of us are wondering if he can live with this league and he needs to be consistent. I don't hold with that tripe that went on Solent criticising the manager; it's 2 games in administration for your gods sake. Come November he will need to be in a different place cos the current charge holder Chanrai will not tolerate faliure.
    14/08/2010 22:27:00
    Not that I'm annoyed about being 20 down on the league after 2 games; 10 up on the care less cup though.
    14/08/2010 22:30:00
    I thought despite the result we could take a lot - A LOT - of positives away from this game. Ciftci was my MOM tbh - showed fantastic potential, and Sonko kept clearing it at the last possible moment! Kept thinking he was gonna get tackled - but he was still awesome. Nugent had a great game today too, winning balls he shouldn't have done. If we play like this every week we won't get relegated.
    14/08/2010 23:32:00
    I thought it looked quite obvious that we ran out of legs towards the end and the lack of fitness showed. It's also quite reassuring that this is something that will improve, and in fact already is. I was quite reassured by Pompey's performance yesterday. Having watched the Stevenage game on line I had been quite worried how we'd do in the league, but I walked away from FP a lot more confident. And that's before we've strengthened. And lets's give Cotterill a chance FFS!
    15/08/2010 09:10:00
    stop moaning Blue, you could be sad like me, flown to Gran Canaria and still looking up vital!!
    15/08/2010 15:17:00
    Kebe absolutely anihilated dickinson and made a mockery of utakas supposed 'market value', apart from that with a lightweight squad we done ok, as most were flagging in the last 20min but that was understandable with no real replacements available. nugents composure and finishing is a joke, but then i can't be bothered going over old ground, and what 99% of us already knew. Ritchie was a definate highlight
    Super Bock 1898
    15/08/2010 15:37:00
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