Date:Saturday March 24 2012
It was supposed to be the day Pompey hammered home their intentions to show the league they weren't going to disappear without a fight, but instead the Blues reverted to their recent ways (the Birmingham match excluded) and failed to find the goal when we needed to.
Pompey lined up unchanged for the 3rd match in a row, with new loan arrivals Scapuzzi and Rekik warming up the bench. Kelvin Etuhu also had to settle for a place on the bench, despite making a big impact on Tuesday night.
Coventry had drawn their last 4 games coming into this one, and during the first half it was visible as to why they were also involved in the relegation scrap, gifting a number of opportunities to the Royals. Chris Maguire was at the centre of most of Pompey's action, and created several half-chances which were dealt with well by Joe Murphy.
It wasn't all one way traffic though, as the Sky Blues also showed attacking spurts, with Jamie Ashdown on top form to keep out Clive Platt's header. The best chance of the half fell to Luke Varney, who found himself in plenty of space, but his header was just over and the teams went in at half time with the score at 0-0.
Coventry looked slightly more alert in the second half, and had already threatened to take the lead through Andy Keogh when moments later the breakthrough came. Chris Hussey took aim from distance but managed to miscue his shot right into the path of the fortunate Gary McSheffrey, who slotted past Ashdown to give the Sky Blues the lead.
If Michael Appleton was looking for a response, he got it as Pompey piled on the pressure, creating countless opportunities and dominating possession. The best of these chances was a free kick on the edge of the box, which Maguire cannoned off the inside of the post and away to safety.
With Pompey chasing the game there were many spaces to exploit, and with less than 15 minutes on the clock, Coventry obliged when Oliver Norwood rifled into the top of the net from close range after some poor defending. Pompey continued to fight but were unable to find a consolation as the game ended on a sour note for the 1,500 Pompey fans who made a right racket all day, putting the Ricoh regulars to shame.
With two massive home games coming up Pompey are teetering on the brink. 6 points from safety and not long left to close that gap. Some fans may think the writing is on the wall, but survival is still a possibility, and 6 points from our next two games could prove to be priceless. Anything less, and we may have to start planning our Johnstone's Paint Trophy journeys.
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Date:Saturday March 24 2012
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