Bolton 0-1 Pompey
Sat 09-02-08, 3pm
Another 3 points on the road, but the performance was much to be desired.
We were out of sorts in the first half, understandable perhaps with Distin still out and Diop coming back in, but we didn't get things moving at all. Bolton played like they always do, long balls up all day long, which caused our defence all sorts of problems. Hermann was having difficulties with Davies and things looked to become worse, with Noe coming off. I'm not 100% sure, but the first half performance can be summed up with the fact that we didn't have any corners, or any shots on goal!!! Bolton however, had a fantastic opportunity, when a ball was flashed in the box, and somehow Taylor missed from 3 yards out!! That was the highlight of the 1st half, with the atmosphere worse then a funeral. We overall were quite simply boring!!
Second half started the same as before, with Bolton using the long ball technique, towards the ever-tiring Hermann, who just couldn't handle Davies. Taylor again missed a glorious opportunity 6 yards out, which he put wide, and the worst player on the pitch, the Herminator, made up for his shocking display, with a clearance off the line.
The game then became scrappy, and with 20 minutes remaining I couldn't see a goal. The inclusion of Utaka for Kranjcar did however lift our performance, and a goal came from a mistake from O'Brien, which bounced to Diarra, who lashed it in.
From then, we looked nervy, with the fans in full voice Bolton pressed and nearly found the goal. Poor defending again from Hermann, led to a ball being passed to a Bolton player, whose shot was either deflected by Lauren over, or James made a wonder save? If it was James, who saved the point range effort, that is the best save I have ever witnessed. Bolton didn't threaten after that. And we passed the ball around nicely, until the whistle finally blew.
We played poor today, and if that was a top four team or even a mid table team, we could of easily lost. Credit to Diarra, who I thought was fantastic, world class, and Jamo, who yet again showed why he's the best keeper in the country, worth staying up to watch his save if he did make it!! Two other pluses, Diop played well and Aubey making his debut after Noe got injured really impressed me and he could be our permanent left back with performances like that.
The negatives did however outdo the positives, with Hermann having a shocker, Hughes a bystander for most of the game and Niko not involved at all. Defoe didn't look up for it, and wasn't involved. And Baros, well he tried but he couldn't get passed Cahill, who I thought was Bolton's best player.
MOM: James and Diarra
Substitute of the Match: Kanu, what a difference he makes :)