Leicester 1-3 Pompey
Sat 04-08-07, 3pm
The final pre season match before the new season kicked off saw Pompey off to Milan Mandaric's Leicester City, as an unbeaten pre season record was defended in our new white away strip.
Injuries to Niko Kranjcar, Gary O'Neil, Benjani and John Utaka - with the latter a possible doubt for Derby - saw them out of contention.
The likely starting back five against Derby next week of David James, Lauren, Sol Campbell, Sylvain Distin and Hermann Hreidarsson started. The midfield resembled the majority of what next week will probably be in Pedro Mendes and Sulley Muntari, although Sean Davis - who was expected to be out injured for a number of weeks - and Arnold Mvuemba came in, but would not be likely starters. David Nugent and Lomana LuaLua started up front, which may possibly be the starting pair next week?
Goals from David Nugent, the excellent Lomana LuaLua and substitute Franck Songo'o saw us home, despite falling behind to an early goal from Iain Hume, 3-1.
Pompey flew out of the traps with the first attack of the game yielding a chance. David Nugent crossed into the box, with this fine centre met by Sulley Muntari who was arriving from midfield but his left footed drive went over.
With the Pompey midfield breaking down a Leicester break, Nugent was put in but the first clear cut effort, with him through one on one, saw him finish poorly.
Leicester's first chance came through Iain Hume but he failed to threaten, although moments later he did threaten and more as Leicester took a 14th minute lead. Mark de Vries' ball caught out the Pompey defence square and Hume made no mistake when one on one with David James.
Pompey responded well with Nugent, coming under pressure from James Chambers, denied by a good save from Paul Henderson in the Leicester goal as he attempted a lob over him.
A superb move, heavily involving and created by Lomana LuaLua was the key factor in Pompey's 20th minute equaliser as a turn of pace with him running at the defence, following Sean Davis' pass, saw him picking out Arnold Mvuemba, who was arriving from midfield who in turn squared to Nugent who made no mistake from 7 yards.
This goal seemed to breed extra confidence as Mvuemba - a couple of times - and LuaLua had chances, with Pompey having most of possession for the next 15-20 minutes or so of the game, keeping the ball well with, playing it around nicely with some superb skill from Sulley Muntari and LuaLua included, culminating this period with Muntari curling towards goal, finishing narrowly over.
With half time approaching further good work and movement from Nugent saw him get himself into a position where could threaten, which he did, but his effort curled towards the corner narrowly missed the target.
The half time break saw three changes made, as Noe Pamarot, Djimi Traore and Matty Taylor came on for Lauren, Hreidarsson and Mendes
Immediately after the restart James made a fantastic save from Hume to deny him another goal. His strike was destined for the top corner but a brilliant save denied Leicester a second lead.
A move started by LuaLua with a clever flick was also finished by him as Pompey took the lead less than 5 minutes into the 2nd half. LuaLua found Nugent who put in a telling ball into the box which was expertly dummied by Muntari and LuaLua curled powerfully into the top corner for another superb goal.
Leicester were almost level themselves but James Wesolowski's crashing drive, which left James beaten, could not beat the bar, as this came to Pompey's aid. We then broke away and Pamarot's run was halted in the box with him going down looking for a penalty, but nothing was given.
Leicester then had a couple of more chances, the first to Bruno N'Gotty as he got his head to a corner, but this free header was wide of the post that was also being guarded by a defender. Soon after this Hume eventually capitalised on a slight mistake from Sylvain Distin to get a shot away, but this went wide.
Moments after DJ Campbell had came on he was in the action, getting in behind Campbell and Distin who again got caught ball watching, but his effort was comfortably saved by James, with another header from a corner by N'Gotty next for Leicester over the bar, followed by Stephen Clemence's and then De Vries' effort, but neither threatened the target.
Even though Leicester wee being more threatening, Pompey had taken the foot off the gas, which was understandable. With 15 minutes to play Franck Songo'o was given another opportunity to impress, as he came on for Lauren.
Just after being slightly caught in two minds, not knowing whether to come out to meet DJ Campbell or not James did enough to make a save before another brilliant save preserved our lead. His best of the day denied Shaun Newton on the volley.
83 minutes in and it was 3-1 to Pompey. Songo'o had previously made a good run to force a corner, then in the passage of play that followed this corner further brilliant play from LuaLua saw him skin his full back to find Songo'o who finished low into the corner for his third goal of pre season only a few minutes after coming on.
With 3 minutes to play further chances were made, with Distin, Muntari and LuaLua coming off as Andy O'Brien, Richard Hughes and Martin Cranie came on for a brief run out.
The toughest test we have faced during pre season, in this country anyway, will have proved ideal preparations for the seasons opener against Derby next week, as the majority that started today would have got another good shift under their belts in preparation for this match.
At times the defence switched off, which would cost us in the Premiership, but luckily we got away with this today but all in all the main thing was to come through this match with a positive result, positive showing and not picking up any injuries - with all the boxes ticked appropriately.
Lomana LuaLua appears to have been reborn, again looking very hungry and more than interested not to mention playing for the team, not just himself. The movement of David Nugent was again a massive bonus, which should see Pompey benefit immensely when he is a little less hesitant with what he is going to do.
The back five next week will be as it was today, the midfield will probably see Matty Taylor and Gary O'Neil come in for Sean Davis and Arnold Mvuemba, with Sulley Muntari moving into the middle and my thinking now is that David Nugent and Lomana LuaLua should and will be the fellas that start up front.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Leicester 1 - Iain Hume 14
Pompey 3 - David Nugent 20, Lomana LuaLua 47, Franck Songo'o 83
Lauren (Franck Songo'o 75)
Sylvain Distin (Andy O'Brien 87)
Hermann Hreidarsson (Djimi Traore 45)
Pedro Mendes (Noe Pamarot 45)
Sulley Muntari (Richard Hughes 87)
Arnold Mvuemba (Matty Taylor 45)
Lomana LuaLua (Martin Cranie 87)
Substitute not used
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