Vital Football

Pompey's bubbles go pop

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Attendance: 20,586


After the champagne and caviar of the last month, it was back to fish and chip suppers for Pompey, an average performance was compounded by another missed penalty at the death.

Pompey in fact started brightly, the first ten minutes looked like the steamroller would rumble on, Kranjcar tested Green with a trademark smack from his inside-left position, England's number 4 doing well to tip it over the bar. Then something happened, the ideas dried up, the midfield slackened off and West Ham had a couple of moments of their own.
Now Nobby Solano is no Peter Crouch in the air, but his lame attempt at heading in a cross right in front of the posts was a poor as an effort as I have seen, his eyes were shut, his shoulders hunched, and he missed by a yard, a major let-off for the Blues.
The rest of the half was a bit of a dirge to put it mildly, Green made one more smart save with his foot to prevent an own goal, and that was about it, neither side could get on top traded blows in midfield.

After a half-time break I felt sure Harry would have roused the troops and we would get our noses in front, but no, it was the same old routine, Benjani harrased and harried up front but no gaps appeared, Utaka was in George McCartneys pocket, and defensively West Ham were as much of a threat as we were.
Carlton Cole, the much maligned Carlton Cole nearly turned the game with a shot which crashed back off the bar, the ball landed right in front of that man Solano who only needed to tap it in, somehow though he outdone himself on his first half effort, he flung himself into a flying header, probably trying to prove he could head it, and the ball went further wide than last time!

The game was petering out into a text-book nil-niller, when Pompey surged forward in the 3rd minute of injury-time, out came Gabbidon's arm on the very edge of the area and Referee Walton blew his whistle in Pompey's favour for what seemed the first time all match.
We were poor on the day, but here was Willy Wonka's golden ticket, The Hammers were screaming blue-murder, the fans did their usual steal the ball routine, and Muntari and Kranjcar both made to take the spot-kick.
A hush settled and Benjani stuck in his case, the seven goal man clearly fancied making it eight, Captain Campbell said a couple of words and Benji had the kick.
Now, I'm no psychic, but as when Kanu took the ball against Liverpool last month, a confidence didn't settle around me, when Taylor lines up, or even when Muntari did against Reading, you knew the skin would be whacked off the ball and the thing would be whacked at 90mph. Benjani did the same as Kanu, a little John Aldridge shuffle and passed the ball toward goal for the keeper to smother.
In 2 home matches we have missed 2 Penalties now, 4 points dropped , and 2 teams off the hook.

Star Player

Hard one to call this week, Kranjcar was at the hub of most creativity, but all to rarely, defensively we were quite sound apart from one or two slips, Distin was my man again.

Player Ratings


To be fair he had little to do, rescued Campbel with a block tackle in the first half out of his area, and could do little with the Cole effort against the bar.


Back to solid defending after last weeks goal scoring exploits.


Spent the entire first-half squabbling with the Welsh maggot, even managing to get booked for being kicked!


Not at his best, but his bench-mark is very high, found the impressive Cole a handful.


Like chicken, supreme


Why oh why didn't he stand firm on the pen?


Some nice touches, but was lucky to escape a booking on more than one occasion.


Ran his socks off, even managed a one of his long-rangers which went just wide early on.


A different player to a year ago, he tracks back a lot more to cover his full-back, but was always looking for a killer a ball or to run at a the defence when possible.


Mainly anonymous, Paul McCartney could have kept him quiet on this showing.


The usual from Benji, shame about the one from 12 yards though.


One effort shaved the post, little time otherwise.

Manager Rating

Harry has to ascertain just who is the man with the penalty duties, if it was Muntari, why the hell did Benji take it?

Opponent Rating

Curbishley came with a game plan, and it worked, teams are coming to Fratton with the same ideals as they do at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, to stop us first, trouble is, its up to us to break them down!
Newcastle next, with the humbugs forced to atacking us at home, maybe our counter attack game will bear fruition once more, if not we have been found out!

Date:Sunday October 28 2007
Time: 8:49AM


28/10/2007 08:51:00
28/10/2007 09:48:00
teams now come to fratton park for the point and leaves us to do all the attacking, i dont care if we didnt derserve to win, thats 2 points weve dropped!! those 2 points could mean europe, like last season!
28/10/2007 09:49:00
But we didn't lose and it keeps the run going. Bound to have bad games now and then. Learn from mistakes and ensure penalty taker takes them - we have dropped four points now from pen failures.
28/10/2007 10:23:00
We were poor, and the penalty debacle made us look even worse, to see at least five players discussing/bickering about who was to take it was a disgrace, we are a Premiership team allegedly and should not debate important issues like penalties, we know that Muntari or Nico should have took it and they should have known who would take it before the game started let alone in the last minute.
28/10/2007 10:57:00
I don't think you can complain about Herman's booking, he was just carded for the wrong incident. He was far dirtier towards Bellamy than vice versa but the ref wouldn't give it. MotD only confirmed this. I don;t see how you can say the pen was the first decision the ref gave you either! Anyway good luck for the season, be sure to put the so called bigger clubs in their place (Newcastle, SPuds etc.)
filthy mullet
28/10/2007 11:13:00
I don't think we deserved to win & on another night we could have got beat. So it's a wake up call. We ain't top 4 material just yet. Lots of lessons to learn. Move on & let's get something next Saturday against the barcodes.
28/10/2007 13:10:00
Mullet I think you were watching in claret and blue tinted glasses! Bellamy is a antagonistic player at the best of times, today he came up against a bloke who won't stand for it!
28/10/2007 13:17:00
One point, France must have some absoloutely outstanding central defenders cos Distain doesnt even make the squad. I think the guy was awesome yesterday, and has been since signing for us. Could he be HR best value for money signing?....Free!
28/10/2007 13:26:00
Distin is real quality, and Sol had a bit of an off day yesterday didnt he, however Sylvain has not put a foot wrong and looks to be a great signing just as Harry predicted.
28/10/2007 18:34:00
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