Pompey come out of the darkness with a point
Fratton (by night)
Pompey finally gained their first point of the new year, three weeks into mind, and against the last team we managed to earn a point off of.
Pompey gave a home debut to Ritchie de Laet, he stayed at right back with Halford replacing the banned and woefully out of form Mokoena in the centre.
Otherwise that was it as far as team changes, Kanu had another run out up front, a weeks rest giving our veteran striker the chance to do so.
Pompey almost took the lead in the first ten minutes, Halford rising to meet a pin point Lawrence corner, his header however found the crossbar and bounced over. Lawrences' dead balls were looking threatening, Halford twice more connecting with his head, but not finding the direction.
Utaka and Nugent both fired in from distance, the latters shot finding Priory road, even that great retreiver Barry Harris being beaten by this task!
Pompey made the breakthrough on 26 minutes, the goal came as Lawrence jinked away on the left, he layaid the ball back and Ward hit a sweet strike into the bottom corner, Cotterill may not be totally convinced by the Emsworth lad, but the Fratton crowd have taken him to their hearts for his 100% displays.
Now then, I very rarely abuse referee's that much, on paper or from the crowd, but the bloke running the line in front of the south stand had an absolute shocker, when he wasn't dropping his red and yellow cards on the floor, he contrived to miss the most simplest of decisions, Kanu played a ball down that took a massive deflection, Nugent ran the ball out for a corner, the prat missed it, one Leeds player almost managed to get himself inside a Pompey shirt he was pulling it that much, he missed it, from another corner the ball was heading out for another deadball, out came an arm to keep it in play, he missed it, this looked obvious enopugh to us Southstanders, but to get a text from the Leeds end stating 'nailed on penalty' made it so much worse. More was to come from this useless flag waver in the second half.
Anyway back to the on-pitch stuff, Utaka almost gave Pompey a two goal lead, he cut in from the left and smashed towards goal, an arm of Danish descent turning the ball narrowly over. Leeds threatened little in the first half and Pompey looked well on top, the one goal lead however was looking fragile with our suspect defence to protect it.
Half time and it was back over to our friend in black, leed regained parity straight away, this time lino spotted handball by Dickinson for the set piece that would give Becchio an equaliser, what griped was the miss of the foul on a blue shirt seconds before.
Leeds were in the ascendency now, but it was Pompey who regained the lead, Kanu flicking on for Utaka to bundle his way through and slide under Schmeichel, the goal celebration was more roly-poly than Lua Lua though!
Leeds bought on Somma and in doing so equalised instantly, his first touch was to smash home from the edge of the area, end to end not really doing the game justice.
15 minutes were to play when the lights decided to go completely out, the timing ws all wrong as Utaka was homing in on goal at the time, but the ref blew up and we sat and waited why 'engineers' tried to solve the problem that we were assured was external.
Quite contaradictedly the Leeds fans sang 'pay up Pompey', I found this amusing from the pioneers of chasing the dream, their fall from grace was even more spectacular than ours!!
The lights came back on, but the sting seemed to have been drawn from the game, Leeds tested Ashdown once more but this time he got down well to turn Howson's shot around the post.
More more flicker of the lights and it was points shared, fair result really, Pompey were the better side in the first half, but Leeds had the better of the second, a point is on the board for 2011 however, now to build on it!