Vital Football

Sunderland 2-0 Pompey

Sunderland
2 - 0
Pompey

Stadium of Light

13/1/08

Attendance: 37,369

Referee:

One word can sum up Pompey today, Bleeerghh.
Okay not very imaginative but get my drift.
Today was supposed to be the day that we showed we could cope without the 4 absent Africans, the day that we showed Harry Redknapp what he would be missing if he had left us for the Geordies. Instead we showed that we miss the Africans very much and that we well might struggle without them.

First Half
Pompey actually started the brighter of the two teams, from a free-kick Hreidarsson kept the ball alive with a header back across the box, and Benjani could only put the ball agonisingly wide of Gordons far post.
Niko Kranjcar was next to test Gordon, but his powerful shot off of his weaker left foot flew straight at Gordon.
Sunderland were making chances of their own and Stokes headed a Jones cross over the bar when he should maybe have hit the target.
The turning point came in the 33rd minute, Jones and Campbell tussled for a ball, Campbell ran into treacle and Jones was left free to square for Richardson to finish from 10 yards out. Sol had commited the sin of not playing to the whistle when he thought he had earned a free kick, this left Jones free to the damage.
Pompey huffed and puffed but showed little in the way of real attacking nous, Nugent was isolated upfront and Benjani wasted out wide.
Just before half-time came the defining moment, Benjani tried a flick in midfield and the ball was lost, the ball was squared again to Richardson who outstripped Hreidarsson and placed beyond James' right arm, 2-0 and effectively match over with 45 to play.

Second Half

Redknapp made no substitions but switched to a 4-4-2 formation, Benjani reverted to upfront and Kranjcar was given freedom to roam, obviously hoping he was the man with the keys to unlock a stoic Sunderland defence.
Pompey should have gained a foothold in the match when Benjani bustled through on the left, but instead of shooting himself, his unselfish ball across to Nugent lacked sufficient pace and was scrambled clear by a grateful defence.
On the hour Benjani again burst clear of on-loan Evans, but shot tamely straight at Gordon when you would have backed him to score. Seconds later and Richardson was a couple of inches from a hat-trick, his shot smacking off of James' bar.
The introduction of Franck Songo'o for the first time in nearly 2 years was just really evidence of Pompeys lack of depth in their squad, chances never really represented themselves and Sunderland had a fairly easy ride to 3 much needed points.

In summary Pompey emphasised how weak the squad is, the ANC has snatched a few yes, but with Johnson and Davis both absent also, the reserves aren't really of the same quality.

Star Player

Kenwyne Jones
He proved more than a handful for both Campbell and Distin, his strength and movement was too much for Pompey and ultimately proved our downfall.

Player Ratings


James

Was beaten twice by good finishes from Richardson, but must feel let down from his normally solid defence.

Pamarot

Battled manfully but was found missing when Jones and Campbell fought for the first goal

Hreidarsson

His lack of pace was highlighted for Richardsons' second, but to be fair he was far from Pompeys worst player, and spent more time trying to set up an attack rather than defend.

Campbell

Probably his worst game in a Pompey shirt, he was second best to Jones and was basically given the run around

Distin

Struggled to plug the gaps around him and gave the ball away more than usual

Kranjcar

Tried to unlock the defence, but had the wrong set of keys, one good shot but that was all

Mvuemba

Has begged for a chance and fought manfully, but you can see why Muntari and Dipp get in in front of him

Hughes

You know what you get from Hughes, he is all about work rate and little shovelled passes, but when you need a defence splitting pass he is not the man. One air shot will be replayed on Soccer AM no doubt

Mendes

Where oh where is the Mendes of last season? He wasn't the worst of Pompeys midfield, but his radar is broken in terms of shooting and doesn't drive forward as he used too.

Benjani

Battles and battles, but his purple patch has become grey and looks shot shy in front of goal

Nugent

His big chance has come, but with Pompeys midfield struggling to create openings, was an isolated figure upfront and a frustrated one in the second

Manager Rating

Harry has stayed, but Pompeys frailties have also, we look short of creativity and low on confidence, new faces or the return of some familiar ones are needed soon, he has obviously cut ties with Taylor, the line was he was injured, but that seemed a thin veil.

Opponent Rating

Roy Keane was obviously able to play his trump card in Jones, and it certainly worked, he and Richardson were the difference and both took Pompey apart.


Writer:paultsmouth
Date:Sunday January 13 2008
Time: 7:00PM

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Comments

0
The cracks have just got wider and the Euro dream further away, we a re turning into another Charlton, storming start, lacklustre finish
paultsmouth
13/01/2008 19:06:00
0
yes - and Nugent didnt score? You surprise me!
WalshWasGod
13/01/2008 19:08:00
0
FA cup here we come...i see it as our best chance of europe now!
pompeycarpet
13/01/2008 19:12:00
0
Kenwyne Jones, Kenwyne Jones,Kenwyne Jones, Kenwyne Jones. Better luck next time. Why do you thing that Wenger sold you all those that where at the african nations and started to by French. Arry Trotter didnt think of thet eh
Jesus_02
13/01/2008 19:14:00
0
May i be the first to say that "mr Pompey" Matty Taylor will be joining best pal Jim Bob beatie at Sheffield Unt
Jesus_02
13/01/2008 19:17:00
0
What the hell has Wenger got to do with it? Diop came from Fulham and Muntari was spotted by Harry over a year ago in Italy, Redknapp and Wenger don't have the best of relationships anyway, so I doubt he was giving tips
paultsmouth
13/01/2008 19:18:00
0
wenger tipped harry to buy benjani...i think that is the only connection with him, pompey, and african players...and benjani wasn't at the ACoN!
pompeycarpet
13/01/2008 19:24:00
0
a great great result for sunderland as for pompey not a good one to keep up the fight for a top 10 finish
ozanne park rangers
13/01/2008 19:30:00
0
Didn't listen to the comentary and haven't seen the match; based on everyone's comments, it seems I didn't miss much. Let's hope next Saturday isn't a diappointment as well.
UKTony
13/01/2008 19:51:00
0
at the end of the day. jesus, your still goin down!
Grey
13/01/2008 20:27:00
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