Yeovil 0-2 Pompey
Sat 14-07-07, 3pm
Pompey went to Somerset on Saturday, as we faced Yeovil to get our pre season programme underway with a 2-0 win.
New arrivals Sylvain Distin and Martin Craine, along with a mystery man - to me and many others at the time - Geovanni, at the club on trial, were new faces to start the match.
A match of typical pre season style was won by goals in either half from Lomana LuaLua and Geovanni.
The match was slow getting going but Sean Davis started lively, showing some nice touches and silky skills, but openings at either end were few and far between.
Driving runs from midfield from the also impressive duo of Niko Kranjcar and Pedro Mendes found Lomana LuaLua but poor finishing let him down on several occasions, with only the keeper to beat.
In between some of the missed chances from LuaLua - much to the obvious disgust from the fellas around us, who made their feelings on the fella blatantly obvious time and again! - Kranjcar struck the post with a header with the keeper well beaten. A scramble followed but we were unable to force the ball home.
Geovanni, who was showing some very nice touches, showed some more as his quick feet and vision released LuaLua who had all the time in the world when one on one with the keeper to slot home this time.
Not content to bide his time Sylvain Distin went on a surge from defence, going all the way before getting away a shot, but he could not trouble the keeper. He actually did this a couple of times.
The only half chances Yeovil were getting were coming from dead ball situations, which apart from one were David James came to claim and lost, we dealt with them comfortably enough.
The half time break saw David Nugent - latterly hilariously jokingly ridiculed by several Pompey fans, although this did get a bit old in the end! - receive a warm reception when he came out to warm up ahead of the 2nd half. He along with fellow new arrivals Sulley Muntari, Herman Hreidarsson and the returning to Pompey permanently after a loan Arnold Mvuemba a few of several players coming on.
Nugent and Muntari's first contributions were not favourable or memorable ones, as Nugent ended up face down on the turf as he lost his balance when running with the ball, while Muntari blazed high over to calls of 'Quashie, Quashie', as the 2nd half started like a comedy show, with passes misplaced, players losing their footing and slipping all over the place and team mates colliding with each other.
But despite this 'unusual' start to the half, it still looked more promising than the 1st, and as Nugent peeled away into acres of space Geovanni continued to run and run and run with the ball, eventually getting a shot away that was blocked by a blatant Yeovil hand, but nothing was given. The common conception was the reason Geovanni did not release Nugent was quite possible that the latter had strayed offside?
After a very well worked move down the right hand side with Noe Pamarot heavily involved - as he ventured forward - Pompey got a second. A crunching challenge from a Yeovil defender, I believe Scott Guyett on Pamarot saw him a touch unlucky as the ball broke to Geovanni who tapped home for the goal he deserved. The unfortunate Guyett picked up an injury and he had to come off.
Genuine chances were at a premium after that really, although the impressive Franck Songo'o might feel he could have done better after a good run, as he shot wide. While James reacted brilliantly when forced into his one and only real save after a shot took a wicked deflection off Andy O'Brien - who I thought was also impressive at the back after coming on.
The closest Nugent came to scoring was a lob that narrowly went over the bar, but he was already offside.
Not the greatest of matches in the world, but it was our first pre season game so what did we expect? It was a good run out nevertheless for many, if not all, with Niko Kranjcar, Pedro Mendes and trialist Geovanni all looking lively and dangerous, with Andy O'Brien looking very solid and commanding at the back when he came on and Frank Songo'o showing something tasty with his 2nd half performance, as he switched from right to left and everywhere in between.
Overall my thinking was this was a comfortable win and good workout against a decent opponent, which gave plenty of people a chance and has started the road to fitness well.
On a personal note it was really good to meet Plymouth Graham and his crew, a top bunch of fellas and for me and my posy to be able to be joined by russellm for the game, another top fella too.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Pompey 2 Lomana LuaLua, Geovanni
He was always looking for the ball, going to it, not waiting for it to come to him, showed good quick feet and skill and looked to have good vision, with his team mates appearing to be keen on him also.
This fella - who as is turns out is a player who's autograph I have on a signed Barcelona shirt I have, as he can claim them as a previous club, once signing for more than £10m - overshadowed Lomana LuaLua, who, as much as I do like him, had another disappointing match on the whole.