Pomp and circumstance
Gavin Ward, heard of him? No, me neither until tonight, but what I have learned is that he is possibly the most aarogant referee I have witnessed in a long time. Not just because he upheld one of the harshest penalties you are likely to see, but I'm sure QPR fans will feel the same about his display, football is supposed to be about the 22 blokes on the pitch, not the parancing premadonna in the hi-viz ref shirt.
Pompey reverted to what was basically the team that finished at Derby, Kanu up front with Halford at right back and Lawrence back in front of him and Utaka on the left.
Pompey had a point to prove after saturday's capitulation, and how they went about it, QPR are siting pretty at the moment, but it was Pompey that made all the running and John Utaka in particular, the big Nigerian frustrates more often than not, but tonight he had the bit between his teeth and looked a willing runner, he carved the first real opportunity but was blocked out by solid defence.
QPR seemed most impressive on the wings, ex-blue Tommy Smith on one wing and Taarbat on the other, it was another ex-Pompey man to fire the first shot for Rangers however, Derry shooting from distance but only warming Ashdowns hands.
Kanu has a shot deflected towards the top of goal, Kenny saving comfortably though.
To emphasise his passion for this match, Utaka cut in from the left and thundered in a shot, Kenny was well beaten but the bar was smacked soundly and ball cleared.
Pompey lost Halford to what looked like a knock to his lower back, Joel Ward getting in some more valuable minutes on pitch.
Half-time came and it was goaless, Pompey were the better side but Rangers looked threatening on the break, all the drama was yet to come.
Pompey came out firing once more, Brown seeing a shot dip over early on, then Ashdown earned his dough once more, Gorkks headed downwards and the away fans rose to celebrate, Pompey's number 1 though was equal to it though, adding another impressive save to his recent portfolio.
Kitson should of done better from a Lawrence corner, he got to it alright, but his header was way off target.
He was involved minutes later, he was played in and as he looked to shoot, Connolly dragged him down and earned a straight red. Lawrence stepped up and saw his shot superbly saved by Kenny, Ward however had not been in the spotlight for 5 minutes and ordered a re-take which lawrence smashed down the middle, contensious maybe, but the lead was deserved.
Pompey had the lead and a numerical advantage in personnel, trouble is with Pompey when they have a narrow lead with time ticking they start to slip deeper and deeper toward their own box.
The nerves were showing, Sonko in particular with some wayward passing, to his credit he did recover each time.
If you want a dramatic finale though, Gavin Ward is your man, a cross was fired in, Lawrence blocked with his chest and then it happened. The lino placed his flag across his chest and a penalty was awarded, I was directly behind the said lino, I saw the ball smack Lawrence squarely below his right nipple, trouble is Ward and his a fellow derrier decided otherwise, Lawrence took umbrage and repeatedly pointed to the red mark where the ball smacked him, the cardhe recieved matched his war wound.
Tommy Smith stood up and placed the ball to Ashdowns right, Paddy was inches from reaching it but ultimately didn't.
So QPR kept their undefeated record intact, maybe not deservedly but intact. Tommy Smith would not have been eligible had this been in the top flight but the championship is fine, I was also like to ask him where he was last season when we couldn't get a decent penalty taker!