Date:Sunday October 16 2011
Steve Cotterill left on friday, on saturday in came Rocha from the cold, with it a clean sheet and a much, much needed win at home.
I spoke in my preview about maybe Rocha returning to the side, he and Cotterill both claimed there was no problem between them, but as one left the other returned, and with it a return to a more solid defence.
Luke Varney made a welcome return to the side as well, coming straight in to a 4-4-2 formation with Benjani up front, on the bench was another return in Kitson, he would play a big role later on.
Barnsley came and it immeadiately looked to me like they came to stiffle, the most common tactic away from home is to soak up pressure and hit on the break, others may disagree but that looked the tactic to me.
For the first half hour the game bore little difference to any other I have seen this season, plenty of midfield action and the occasional burst into an opposition's box, Barnsley fired the first salvo, Butterfield firing at Henderson who parried comfortably away.
Hassell was next to threaten when he went on a long run and almost made it into a shooting position, Rocha mopping him up though.
Pompey had taken a little time to find their feet, Halford nodding a corner over and then producing the move of the match. Pompey moved the ball quickly along the deck, it was played to the feet of Norris who tried a delicate chip over Luke Steele, the 'keeper managing to get fingers to his shot however and the loose ball evading the incoming Benjani.
This moment seemed to trigger Pompey, all of a sudden the were a much better proposition, Lawrence started to probe and Norris became almost a 3rd forward.
Barnsley were again closest to breaking the deadlock though, Buutterbean striking form distance and his shot struck the outside of the post to safety.
Norris fired another one narrowly wide and Pompey finished the half looking the much stronger.
What happened at half-time was anyone's guess, a bit of 'good cop, bad cop' from the duo of Whittingham and Gray perhaps, but Pompey decided it was time to go for the throat.
Huseklepp looked to have made the breakthrough on the hour, is shot into the ground looked to have enough on it to cross the line but McNulty got back to hack clear as the Fratton end produced a collective breath to suck the ball home.
Pompey then turned the match in just over 60 seconds, Norris got the first, a square ball was flicked up and then carressed home to bulge the net.
The celebrations were still going on when it was 2, Kitson who had been on the pitsh a matter of minutes got the ball wide on the right, he swayed inside and crossed for the on-rushing Varney to convert for a well deserved goal.
Pompey never notched a 3rd, but controlled the game from there on in, the closest Barnsley got to a consolation was Butterbean firing a long ranger that ballooned into the air and almost looped in, Henderson back pedalling to tip over.
So, Pompey head to Suffolk on tuesday with some new belief, a slightly different formation and re-shuffled defence with them.
Date:Sunday October 16 2011
|7. Leyton Orient||18||8||5||5||5||29|
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