Pompey 0-1 Spurs
Sat 15-12-07, 3pm
We returned to the Fortress today hoping to finally end the baron run of three straight 0-0 league draws, as struggling Spurs came to town, but they went away with all 3 points after a 1-0 win.
Sean Davis was fit but had to settle for a place on the bench as Pedro Mendes kept his place after a fine showing against Villa. Jamie Ashdown returned to the bench so took over from Asmir Begovic as backup keeper - there was no place for Kanu.
We were poor, we never got going and although they did not have to be great Spurs got the win that they deserved as Dimitar Berbatov ended our 9 month unbeaten home run and this seasons 11 game unbeaten run.
John Utaka started brightly, a good run saw him threaten and then from a Pedro Mendes pass he could not quite make the most of it, but early signs were promising from him after disappointing performances recently - that was a false dawn, we carried him once again... it is time for him to have 'a rest'.
On the whole it was a quiet opening 15 minutes or so, but Spurs probably started slightly the brighter and Darren Bent went close with a curling effort from the edge of the area. Spurs then took the lead when Steed Malbranque touched home after David James had saved from Kevin Prince Boateng - but this was ruled out by the assistants flag for offside.
Pompey looked like they might have been woken up by this - but it was a false dawn - and a good move saw Glen Johnson deliver a fine ball into the box that Niko Kranjcar ran onto but he could not get his head to it.
Dimitar Berbatov lead a Spurs break and then got on the end of the break too with his effort coming back off the bar, but again the flag was already up as he was offside.
We were finding it difficult to get going, with the midfield struggling to get into the game in the opening 30 minutes with Papa Bouba Diop's effort summing thing up... what a woeful effort it was!
With Benjani waiting in the middle, again Utaka went on a good run but unfortunately he could not pull the ball back to the waiting striker and the chance passed, with Spurs then breaking away with Berbatov eventually denied by a last ditch challenge by Sol Campbell.
As the final 5 minutes of the half approached Spurs had a great opportunity with a free kick on the edge of the area after a foul by Mendes but this was defended well at the expense of a Spurs corner and the danger was cleared.
'Disappointment' was all that could I could say sum up the 1st half showing from Pompey with so many flattering to deceive - but the plus was we were still level at the break and were fairly comfortable at the back. 4-4-2 was needed in the 2nd half was my thinking, but would Harry Redknapp make this change at the break...
A change was made a half time, a striker was not brought on though as Sean Davis came on for Mendes but a switch to 4-4-2 was made nevertheless as Utaka pushed up alongside Benjani.
We were flat again in the opening 10 minutes of the 2nd half with Spurs looking more promising and were looking the better side - Spurs needed to be put under more pressure at the back, afterall it was thought that they were suspect at the back...
The second change that was desperately needed was made 20 minutes into the 2nd half as Dave Nugent came on for Sulley Muntari, who found it very difficult to get into this game.
After Spurs had broke quickly and Berbatov went round James we were able to scrape it clear and then broke ourselves and won a corner, from this corner Nugent got his head to the ball, but he could not hit the target - but it was a good effort nonetheless.
Much like he had been in the meeting last season Noe Pamarot was forced off with an injury, this injury saw Hermann Hreidarsson come on for the final 17 minutes - with this being his first outing since his own injury some weeks ago.
10 minutes from time a break involving Jamie O'Hara and Aaron Lennon ended with Berbatov finishing to give Spurs the lead - a lead that they did deserve.
You could not see anyway back from this... and O'Hara almost added a second, but his effort was deflected away for a corner. Then as the 3 minutes of injury time were announced Jermain Defoe struck the woodwork.
We were very poor today and got what we deserved, Spurs were the better side and did deserve to win.
This is a very disappointing result, and with all respect to Spurs this is an unacceptable result as my thinking is that we should not be accepting defeats to anyone at home, but if we cannot score - which we are not doing - at home the best we will do is draw...
But we have to keep positive, yep we lost at home to the mighty Spurs - who proved their 'superiority' over us and will no doubt tell us this again ;-) - but lets not get all doom and gloom, we are going to lose how we react to it will be the key.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Spurs 1 - Dimitar Berbatov 80
Noe Pamarot (Hermann Hreidarsson 73)
Pedro Mendes (Sean Davis 45)
Sulley Muntari (David Nugent 65)
Papa Bouba Diop
Substitutes Not Used
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