90 Minutes of Hull
It was 11 months ago when Pompey last travelled to the KC Stadium for a trip that no Pompey fan would ever forget. The club had announced that it was likely that the club would cease to exist in the following days. This despair soon turned to elation as The Blues put on a great performance and won 2-1, shortly followed by the news that Pompey had exited administration and for the first time in months looked 'secure'.
11 months on and the club have turned a corner, financially stable, a sizeable squad (by our standards) without any loan players, and a future that was a lot more promising than before. But despite this, this trip would prove to be one to forget for the 500-odd travelling supporters.
Joel Ward came into the midfield to replace the suspended Liam Lawrence, with David Norris donning the armband. Hull had won their previous 2 fixtures 1-0, and also had a change in captain, with Portsmouth born Jack Hobbs taking the armband off injured Ryan Bennett.
The match started brightly, with both teams creating opportunities. Benjani twice went close in the first 10 minutes, heading narrowly wide of either post after some good work from Mokoena and Huseklepp respectively.
However, it was the Tigers who would draw first blood. They had the ball in the net after 8 minutes, after a long range shot from the dangerous Robert Koren struck the post and Martyn Waghorn bundled home the rebound, but it was rightly disallowed for offside.
But Portsmouth failed to learn their lesson, as 3 minutes later Koren once again took aim from distance and struck a low drive past Jamie Ashdown. Questions could be asked about the Pompey shotstoppers positioning, but the warning signs had been there.
Clearly disheartened by the goal, Pompey failed to find their feet thereafter as Hull looked comfortable for the rest of the half, with Aaron Mclean, Robbie Brady and Liam Rosenior all posing a threat whilst Portsmouth were limited to a couple of set piece chances. Half time arrived with Hull looking good value for their 1 goal lead.
Portsmouth have a bit of a reputation for being stronger in the second half, but were still looking toothless after the restart as Ashdown was forced into making 2 decent saves from Tom Cairney and Aaron Brady.
It took the introduction of Kanu to liven things up for Pompey, and in their first decent spell of pressure created opportunities Benjani and Halford, but both failed to test the goalkeeper Adriano Basso as time ticked on.
The exclamation point on Portsmouth's performance came with 10 minutes remaining, as a innocuous looking Luke Varney challenge saw the referee reach for his pocket to show the winger a straight red card for a careless lunge on Rosenior. On initial reflections this looked harsh, but judging by Varney's protestations (or lack thereof) this may have been justified.
Ben Haim was next to get a talking to from the ref just minutes later, but escaped with a caution after an off the ball incident. Futacs and Willams had enter the fray to try and force an unlikely point, but Hull defended comfortably as the game fizzled to a finish.
A disappointing result, but more worrying a dismal performance by a lackluster Pompey side clearly lacking some quality. Steve Cotterill has taken positives from most performances this season, but I have a feeling he`ll struggle to take any from this game. With two winnable home games coming up this could prove to be a very crucial time for the Pompey boss.
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