Vital Football

Reflecting on Cardiff defeat

Reflecting on Cardiff defeat
Expectations weren't high as an injury-ridden, suspension-affected Pompey side struggling for goals went to high-flying Cardiff.

The game started badly for Pompey in my opinion. Cardiff had all the energy and most importantly, all of the ball. I'd love to know what the possession stats were for the first 35 mins - it wouldn't have been pretty.

Pompey seemed to lack shape and were wanting for pace. On a number of occasions Cardiff beat our full-backs for pace and it was only for the heroics of Henderson that we weren't out of the game.

The Cardiff goal wasn't a surprise, albeit it was well taken given a tight angle. At that point thoughts started to turn to "how many??" However, football is "a funny old game" and a Pompey side that really wasn't in the game pounced on sloppy handling by Cardiff Keeper Marshall. Futacs showed that he really does know where the goal is and took the chance. It wasn't pretty, and frankly it wasn't even deserved, but from nowhere Pompey were back in the game. The final 5 or 6 minutes of the first half was then all Pompey. We started to boss a game of which we were previously spectators. We really could have gone in at the turn up, but it wasn't to be. It is amazing what a goal can do for a team's confidence.

The second half started well and within the first 5 minutes the unthinkable happened and Pompey took the lead. Halford took his goal well and at that time a win was looking likely. We looked well into the game and Cardiff looked in disarray. I'm pretty sure they weren't expecting to be losing against little old Pompey.

Pompey's magnificent away support parked in the corner of the new, generally characterless Cardiff City Stadium, were making all the noise despite a biggish crowd. At this time the song was "We're winning away! We're winning away! How s*** must you be? We're winning away!" If Pompey don't pull through this latest crisis, then the Football League will be losing some of the very best supporters in the land. They really do deserve things to come good.

As the game went on, Pompey started to sit deeper and deeper, trying to protect their narrow lead. Cardiff again began to dominate the possession and it was really a matter of time before they scored. There was an occasional break away for Pompey who were now only playing counter-attack football (or if it was Steve Cotterill in charge we would have called it "hoof ball"). Erik found himself with a great break-away chance, but his legs deserted him and he was quickly chased down.

The introduction of Benjani for Etuhu didn't really do a lot. It is a shame that Benji just hasn't done it since his return. Etuhu looked quite rusty, which is understandable given the amount of time he has out of the game. He looked keen, but just well short of match fitness. It'll be interesting to see how he develops over the upcoming weeks.

Cardiff scored on 69 minutes and by now were looking like the only team in it. The timing of Cardiff's winner was cruel, but in my opinion the 3-2 scoreline was a fair reflection of the balance of play.

Pompey looked off the pace for a lot of the game. We did have some good chances, but Cardiff looked like a team justifiably in 3rd place for most of it.

My man of the match was Henderson. I think that without a number of key saves, we could have been out of the game before we really got going.

I wouldn't be too disheartened though. Cardiff are a good side and we were away from home. We didn't have our full-strength side either. There were periods of the game where we were the better side, so we need to build on that. It'd be great if we could start these games at full-pace, and not need to wait until we are 1 down to step our game up.

Play up Pompey!

Written by Pompeytim.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

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Writer:Pompeytim
Date:Sunday January 22 2012
Time: 9:25AM

Comments

0
A good assessment Tim! Despite the result being inevitable, the Benjani sub was a little strange, when you're 2-1 up, why bring on a 4th striker and move Futacs (our most dangerous player) to right wing?! No doubt our squad is threadbare but we had both Rocha and Williams on the bench, plus Etuhu (who clearly wasn't match fit) was still providing more cover than Futacs. I'm a massive fan of Appleton but those decisions were game-changers. Ah well, the 'away' atmosphere was great, and at least scum will soon be dropping like a stone. Let's get a buyer in asap so we can start focusing on the football!
pompey88
22/01/2012 09:56:00
0
A good assessment Tim! Despite the result being inevitable, the Benjani sub was a little strange, when you're 2-1 up, why bring on a 4th striker and move Futacs (our most dangerous player) to right wing?! No doubt our squad is threadbare but we had both Rocha and Williams on the bench, plus Etuhu (who clearly wasn't match fit) was still providing more cover than Futacs. I'm a massive fan of Appleton but those decisions were game-changers. Ah well, the 'away' atmosphere was great, and at least scum will soon be dropping like a stone. Let's get a buyer in asap so we can start focusing on the football!
pompey88
22/01/2012 10:05:00
0
Tbh, I thought the loss was inevitable as our defence looked decidedly shambolic, im really not sure about Halford- a goal every six games for a defender is pretty good in my book, it's just he's a poor defender; we really need that defensive coach if only for the sake of the youngsters. As for the rest of the match - again too many failed chances - but I thought it was a creditable performance; odd substitution though. Benji seemed bemused himself with the decision. Futacs is looking real good - not a natural hoal scorer- not the right atitude ? oh mr Cotterille you have a lot to explain. I do fear that he will be gone fairly soon as goal scorers are rare and worth money .
Russellm
22/01/2012 14:56:00
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