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Sunderland 2 - Pompey 0

Stadium of Light

13/1/08

Attendance: 37,369

Sunderland 2-0 Pompey

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.




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The Journalist

Writer: paultsmouth Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday January 13 2008

Time: 7:00PM

Your Comments

The cracks have just got wider and the Euro dream further away, we a re turning into another Charlton, storming start, lacklustre finish
paultsmouth
yes - and Nugent didnt score? You surprise me!
WalshWasGod
FA cup here we come...i see it as our best chance of europe now!
pompeycarpet
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
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
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
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
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
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
at the end of the day. jesus, your still goin down!
Grey
youŽve been asking for Benjani and Nugent up front this whole season, since Kanu didnt seem to be good enough for you, and today you had it. You cant be in the nigerian national team where there is a zillion amazing strickers (and you make the team in front of Yakubu, martins etc) if you are not an excellent player...maybe no good enough for portsmouth ? Please people stop moaning about who harry should be playing or not and lets try to encourage the team. Portsmouth has never been so good since the arrival of Kanu....youŽll miss him when heŽs gone, mark my words
bongosamy
Taylor will stay in the Prem o2, Sheffield are in div1
paultsmouth
bongo, would seem you are a kanu fan then! On here we do get behind the team, but surely you agree that we can all have an opinion? Thats part of being a fan, you will have an opinion onpersonnel and formations, otherwise what else would there be to discuss/debate on a fans forum such as this?
pompey4me
At the end of the day to win games you have to score goals, to score goals you need to create chances and we're not doing that. Our goal tally this season is just not good enough. Our away tactics succeed with the Africans because they've got pace and strength for a counter attack but today's team was barely good enough for the Championship. We're not down and out, just frustrated that such a good start could be in vain.
stillthewhizz
ill back harry with what he does - and i understand that nugent had previously not been playing well in training. Kanu is a great player - a legend perhaps, BUT he is also lazy, and does not run. he is great to come on in the last 20 minutes, and having watched him play for pompey, it is when he is brought n in the last 20 minutes that he has the greatest impact in a game. However, Pompey spent a lot of money on nugent in the summer, and we (pompey fans) have not seen him play very much at all - and when ever he has played, he has shown grit and determination. It is clear that his role is no suited towards playing as a lone striker, and he clearly prefers the 4-4-2 formation - along with a second striker - as this is when he has performed at his best. Harry clearly made the wrong decision today - as we lost - but how would he have known that it wouldnt work without trying it?
pompeycarpet
4-4-2 is needed now, every time we have reverted to it lately we look more comfortable, the 4-5-1 will have to wait for the absentees to return
paultsmouth
yes obviously I am a Kanu fan. and yes of course you have to have your own opinion. I have been reading this blog for a year and all I read is kanu here kanu there etc etc as if he is to blame for some bad performances. Kanu is a legend in Africa, why do you think benjani and adebayor wear shirt Nr.25, so to have him n the pitch is a stimulant for the other African, but if they feel that their hero is sitting on the bench and they feel the fans want him on the bench its going to have a reverse effect. I soend more then 6 months per year in Africa and I know what I am talking about. Anyway I am happy to be part of this blog, you maybe do not agree but it is still a very cool attitude, thanks for that guy. The future looks bright for portsmouth!!!
bongosamy
It very disappointing. When I saw who on the bench I nearly wept. Let's hope for something to happen before Saturday, otherwise an already relegated Derby will do to us what Charlton did exactly a year ago. 8 pts from 6 games looks a fantastic achievement!!!!
storagematt
Storagematt, honestly speaking I think for a team with sooo mayn new players portsmouth is doing very well. They might get a european place, but I doubt, but I wouldnt be surprise if next year the finish in the top 5....I have a feeling something is happening
bongosamy
something is happening - very quickly, assuming the current rate of improvement is sustained. the worrying thing, is aston villa, westham, and totenham are also improving (well, maybe not totenham..but they will do better next season). liverpool be warned, we are coming to get you! - but so are so many other clubs
pompeycarpet
bongo, thats just what we are like here, have your opinion, argue it with reason and there is no problems. Then we can all have a virtual beer, so to speak! I understand your perspective on kanu, but i think that current performance has to be the criteria for selection, not the fact that he has been great, or that he is a god to other african players.
pompey4me
A very dissapointing afternoon all round really fellas.. Did any player leave the pitch with any credit.. I can't think of one.... I saw the whole game on Sky but I can't work out if it was an Ok team who didn't perform or a really poor team who can't perform.. I think perhaps is is a mixture of the two because we know Sol, Dist and Jamo (and others) had less than average games and are normally so solid.. (although i do accept we had 6 first teamers out...) Are we really that weak (quality wise) in depth ?
Chix
Just look at the bench chix, I think, looking at it we are in a position where our first choice team is very,very good, but we have no depth when the acon or injuries or both take it's toll. Also Pedro picked up his 4th yellow, how many more are a booking away from a ban?
pompey4me
Which makes it even more ludicrous to be contemplating selling matty.
pompey4me
Thought you wouldve done the mackems today
worbo
So did we, another one of those days.
pompey4me
so i miss the game because im at work, purposefully avoid finding out the score, come home, watch the recording, see an abysmal display by portsmouth, waste of 2 hours watching it. but songo'o looked bright, probably our best player other than niko today. songo'o had a few good runs, we need more creative players, rather than sol and sylvain just booting the ball up the field, defence clearing it, them attacking, us retrieving, booting it up there.
jbaker
and harry said we arent selling matty until we find a replacement. 1. if u need to replace him, then obviously u shudnt be letting him go. 2. if u cant let him go yet, then u might as well play him!!! 3. had matty played today in a 442 with niko on the right, i think we would have won.
jbaker
Songo'o looked bright but he's lightweight. If he could turn all that pace into talent, he could be a star but it doesn't look like he can.
stillthewhizz
Is the game worth any comment at all? The players didn't turn up to play-not one of them, so why should we dignify them with any comments. Well done Sunderland!!
frattonaussie
A totally dull day. 9 hours of travel for that. Christ I should have learned by now. It was like being transported back into 1998-99 season. I even put a tenner on Pompey to win. It shows we have a good first eleven and a totally ordinary squad after them. Nugent got very little if any support from midfield and shouldn't take any blame for yesterday's result.
The Rabbi
songo'o didn't look bright from where I was sitting stillthewhizz just out of his depth.
The Rabbi
No one performed at all, awful game lets move on, I didnt even think that Sunderland played that well.... we were just that bad!
Sachas_Brother
terrible - i think that sums it up...
pompeyrug
welcome bongosamy, no one has ever doubted kanu's quality mate - the fella is fantastic, but he just cannot opertate in a lone striker role, get someone alongside him that will say pace and movement - in a 4-4-2 - and his genius could shine... think is weve rarely seen him used in a 4-4-2... in fairness to nuge and benji they only played alongside each other for the 2nd half didnt they and can we really judge that partnership on 45 minutes? as said we share opinions, and personally i dont think we are too anti-kanu - he just does now seem a tired player, and as i say when he plays up front on his own this really shows and makes him look almost 'washed-up' not that i am saying he is that just yet.
pompeyrug
need creativity, and need more effort. oh, and we need a goal scorer. and more cover. and...
pompeycarpet
Bleurgh sums it up. I agree with StillTheWhiz. We just lack some creativity in the middle at the moment. We're reverting to humping long balls too often. Niko's nealy there,but is too often to wide to be the one to provide it, and Pedro, sadly seems to have lost the knack he had of finding the right pass. I think we miss Sean Davis.
NorthStandDan
Those of you with long memories and strong stomaches will remember that I said we should buy Kenwyne Jones while he was with the scummers. You RABID anti scum fans should be eating your words right now.
Et_tu_Pompeii
 Those of you with long memories and strong stomaches will remember that I said we should buy Kenwyne Jones while he was with the scummers. You RABID anti scum fans should be eating your words right now.
Et_tu_Pompeii
Wow - RED!!!!!!
Et_tu_Pompeii
Jones is more useful than Kanu AND benjani
Et_tu_Pompeii
Poor performance and a bad result. Maybe the harry saga has taken it out on the players?
will it ever happen
 

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