Portsmouth 0-1 Millwall
10th April 2012 - 7.45pm
It has been a reoccurring theme in the past month, after a great performance usually followed a disappointing one as Pompey failed to use the confidence and momentum to pull themselves out of the relegation zone. But after one too many dices with the drop, Pompey had a dismal evening ahead of them as Millwall came to town.
Unsurprisingly Appleton named an unchanged team from the XI that started on Saturday, as Benjani replaced Kitson on the bench. Kenny Jacket made one change for the visitors with Hamer Bouazza who was carrying a knock missing out in place of Scott Barron.
In a first half which saw few clear opportunities, it was Pompey who had the first chance 5 minutes in, with Northern Ireland 'keeper Maik Taylor doing very well to keep out Chris Maguire and Luke Varney shots in quick succession.
Pompey continued to carve half chances, and Greg Halford had a pair of opportunities to give the Blues the lead; first trying a speculative effort from distance which Taylor done well to get behind, followed by a header from a Scott Allen corner which the keeper had plenty of time to get underneath.
The breakthrough came 8 minutes before the break after the game had got noticeably scrappy, and it was the Lions who took it. On loan Spurs striker Harry Kane finished well from Andy Keogh's pass, striking low past Jamie Ashdown for his 7th goal since signing for Millwall at the start of the 2012.
Pompey looked a shadow of the team that had fought so hard for a point on Saturday and just before half time were forced into making a change, with Marco Futacs coming on for the injured Ricardo Rocha.
Pompey came out for the biggest second half of their season and after a shaky start started to create some chances, with Futacs and Allen both trying their luck but missing the target.
Michael Appleton tried urge his team forward, and had a succession of chances to get back into it, with Varney first shooting wide from outside the box, and having another chance minutes later but failing to control the ball after some neat play from Maguire.
As the game, and any hope of survival dwindled away with every opportunity that Pompey failed to convert, substitute Futacs forced a great save from Taylor and a Jason Pearce saw his header deflected over the crossbar.
In stoppage time Etuhu and Maguire had chances to salvage a point, but after numerous balls into the box and some stern defending the final whistle sounded and the 15,837 frustrated fans (minus the travelling contingent) left the ground in a series of murmurs and discontent as any chance of survival seems quashed.
Mathematically there is still 12 points to play for, but it would take a supreme optimist to think that Pompey will not be playing in the third tier come August. Once again, Pompey failed to pick up the points when it mattered most.