Preston North End 1-0 Portsmouth
Pompey's season flickered on with a trip to Deepdale to take on a Preston side who found themselves without a point from the opening two fixtures. On a day when David Nugent returned to the ground where his goals earned him an England call up he must have dreamed about abolishing his goalless start to the season and making the headlines. But this was far from reality as he was kept at bay for most the afternoon by a stern backline combined with a midfield that easily outplayed The Blues.
The most recent memory of Deepdale was from the famous FA Cup run in 2008, when Portsmouth scraped a 1-0 win thanks to an own goal with the very last kick of the game, but how times have changed since then as none of the players who played that day were in the squad this time around.
Pompey made two changes from the side which drew at Reading a week ago; Tommy Smith returning from injury to replace the freshly injured John Utaka, and Matt Ritchie making way for Aaron Mokoena, a move which saw Marc Wilson move into midfield. Once again, Pompey were 3 subs short of a full bench.
Pompey had chances in the opening exchanges, when Brown found the ball at his feet but failed to convert and the prodigal Nugent blazing over from outside the box, but it was the hosts who opened the scoring when Paul Hayes capitalised on a miscued clearance from Mokoena.
Preston ran the game from thereon, dominating in possession and looking very comfortable on the ball. The visitors struggled to move the ball as well as they did in the opening two games and made sloppy defensive errors all afternoon.
In could have been more as Ashdown had to be on hand to keep out efforts from Matty James and Manchester United loanee Josh King, who was impressive all afternoon. In the closing stages the best Pompey could muster up was a strike from Carl Dickinson, which was charged down by the solid Preston defence.
So 3 games in and Pompey find themselves in familiar territory, in the relegation zone, only this time it's in the second tier. In previous games there were positives to take from our performance, but it's going to be a long season for the Blue side from Hampshire if the squad remains so depleted.
Preston North End 1 - 0 Portsmouth
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