Date:Saturday January 5 2008
Sat 05-01-08, 3pm
The best day in the football calendar has arrived, FA cup 3rd round day and we travelled to Ipswich looking to avoid an upset... and we did, winning 1-0.
A few changes were made, there was no place in the squad for Sulley Muntari but fellow Africans Papa Bouba Diop, John Utaka and Kanu all started.
Arnold Mvuemba and Pedro Mendes came in Muntari and Richard Hughes. There was no place for Benjani in the squad - but surprise, surprise 'the golden boy' Kanu started up front with Dave Nugent on the bench, Matty Taylor is virtually nailed on to leave after his omission from the squad...
Ipswich were fantastic - and with 10 men for more than an hour - but we just about deserved to go through thanks to Dave Nugent, scoring only 5 minutes after coming on and thanks to several saves from David James.
After turning a corner at our end into a corner at the other end in a mater of moments Hermann Hreidarsson sent a header close against his former side.
A fantastic run from Glen Johnson saw him beat 3 men before putting in an effort that was turned away for a corner by Neil Alexander. From this corner we were almost caught ourselves, like we had almost caught Ipswich earlier when defending a corner of our own.
Then Papa Bouba Diop missed his 'traditional' chance, heading straight into the keepers hands from 6 yards... if he could finish he would be lethal!
Ipswich were looking threatening when they were breaking, with their pace being a worry, one such opportunity came when Kanu lost the ball and Pablo Counago was played in but Sylvain Distin managed to cover and clear for a corner.
Midway through the first half after a late challenge on Pedro Mendes by Liam Trotter a yellow card should have been issued but Mark Halsey - much to the understandable angry reaction from the home fans - showed him a red card, a very wrong decision in my opinion...
There was little real action after the sending off up until half time, but Ipswich were not looking like they had 10 men.
Bouba Diop skied another 'Quashie style' effort and after a good move John Utaka finished poorly - but then in injury time Ipswich should have been ahead but Billy Clarke missed from 2 yards, with the aid of Johnson, who got in a vital block.
I was surprised, but very, very happy to see Dave Nugent come on at half time. He emerged for the 2nd half in place of Pedro Mendes and immediately made an impact trying to get onto the end of a through-ball.
The first chance of the half fell to Ipswich, and but a brilliant save from David James when he turned away Danny Haynes' effort we would have been behind.
If you feed Nugent he will score... and he did exactly that. Sol Campbell's ball through found Nugent who took a fine touch before firing home in he 50th minute, so just 5 minutes after coming on!
Again Bouba Diop headed over and then Niko Kranjcar went close.
Nugent was making a difference - his movement was causing problems, and he almost had a second but his volley came back off the bar with the keeper beaten.
After the bright first half to the 2nd half we then seemed to ease off, and allowed Ipswich to bring the game to us, which is not what we needed or wanted - but the chances at either end were limited but amazingly with one chance Bouba Diop actually hit the target, but his header was straight at Alexander.
Miss of the season from Utaka saw him miss from only yards out... a good cross from Kranjcar left Utaka with the goal at his mercy, but somehow he allowed it to run under his foot and the chance went begging.
This miss very nearly cost us, as having not long been on the pitch - but already booked - Alan Lee got in a fine header but James produced a fantastic flying save to keep the ball out and keep our lead.
In injury time James again saved us, producing another fantastic save to deny Haynes again. Then we had 3 on 1 but blew it, but we did enough as we got through.
As said Ipswich were fantastic, even with 10 men but we did enough to get through - and did just about deserve this. The sending off was wrong, but only in terms of personnel did it make a difference.
Dave Nugent made a difference, his movement caused problems and showed why he should have started as too many others were 'passengers' today. He must have done enough to really be banging on that door now, particularly with 'the golden boy' Kanu now going away.
But what can you say David James again showed why he is England's no.1 making not 1, not 2 but 3 fantastic saves to make sure we went into the draw for round 4 - the FA cup dream lives on, even more so with so many top flight sides going out.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Pompey 1 - Dave Nugent 50
Papa Bouba Diop
Pedro Mendes (Dave Nugent 45)
Substitutes Not Used
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Date:Saturday January 5 2008
|16. Bristol Rovers||35||10||12||13||-2||42|
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