Date:Saturday January 15 2011
Pompey went into the game at The City Ground against a team that can say that they play at a 'fortress', and Forest can say this and quite literally mean it as a play-off defeat aside they had not lost at home since late 2009, and that remained the case today when they came from behind to secure a late, late 2-1 win as Pompey's woes continued...
Now, I have to say that this report is being written with just the benefit of radio commentary to guide me, although that gives you enough, right?
From the sounds of it the opening half, at least the opening half of the half, was not that 'entertaining' to say the least. It seemed that Forest had the better of the opening exchanges though but Pompey did grow into the game and following a break from Dave Nugent the veteran, and I use the term loosely, Kanu kept his composure to score when it seemed the chance had passed.
1-0 Pompey, who would have thought it!
Forest looked to get back into the game, and a few heart stopping moments - with the wind causing havoc - were overcome without Jamie Ashdown really having to pull off any spectacular saves. In fact had it not been for one by Forest's Lee Camp we would have gone in 2-0 up at half time. His fantastic save kept out Liam Lawrence's top corner bound free kick.
Against all the odds, in all honesty, Pompey had that half time lead but in order to make sure we kept it we had to pretty much play the way we had in the 1st half, and we did all in all for the opening stages of the 2nd half, which was my worry we would not.
As you would expect it was Forest that were pushing on although a mixture of a failure to find the end product or a little fortune at times or even, to be fair despite not always being comfortable at the back, the likes of Aaron Mokoena - who will sit out the next 2 games following his 10th booking of the season - Ibrahima Sonko, Carl Dickinson and the seemingly impressive debutant Ritchie de Laet we held firm. In face had our own end product been better at times with a pass picked out, instead of opting to go solo, we 'could' and maybe 'should' have had another to give us breathing space.
Having been saved by the woodwork you would have thought, or at least hoped, we would have appreciated our lucky escape, but alas we did not and our defensive frailties cost us dear...
The longer the game went on the deeper we dropped, and this was something that I feared would happen but KNEW we could not look to do this too much as we would, as we did, be punished. My heart sank when The Herminator came on as that was when I knew we would drop even deeper than we were already starting to, and in my heart of hearts I knew then - not that I am blaming him for this of course - we would only get a point, if that.
With 3 minutes to play Sonko was the unfortunate man as he put through his own net to bring Forest level - until I see the goal I cannot really be too critical of him, can I?
Fine, disappointed as I was, I think there are not many of us that would not have taken that point then but we shot ourselves in the foot again. Having already escaped when de Laet cleared off the line that deep line of defence, and a failure to clear, saw Forest debutant Marcus Tudgay head home an injury time winner with virtually the last kick of the game...
Few would have expected much from this, so in many ways will not be 'that disappointed' in a way, although having come so close this is so frustrating - even more so when I really do feel that so much could have been avoided had we not gone as negative as we did and dropped so deep. Even from my home in Devon I could see this deep line would punish us, and we were. This is not a one off is it, and Steve Cotterill MUST start to learn that he has to ensure that he gets his defenders to push up more and not try and sit back simply to hold what we have. Quite clearly we are not defensively strong enough to do this.
Yep, this was frustrating although it was a million times better than the Brighton debacle last weekend and we can take some pluses from this, but most importantly some harsh lessons, that should be learned - and really taken on board this time, must be.
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Date:Saturday January 15 2011
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