Date: 30th August 2008 at 4:57pm
Written by:

Crisis, what Crisis??

Firstly I need to get this off my chest, as for the last hour and a half I’ve been stuck on a train with Everton fans glaring at me, “Yippee”. What a game!!!

As the match started I immediately noted the somewhat different formation that we adapted. To me it seemed that we have 3 at the back, with Traore, (who should be signed NOW), and Glen as wingbacks. Then Diarra, Davis and Papa in the middle, with Defoe and Crouch upfront.

After seeing how we played today, I think this team could gel and the formation kept. Traore is just what Harry’s been banging on about, someone with pace who can get past players. Credit to Glen as well who supported the midfield well, and did his job at the back.

We started off reasonably well, nice touches on the ball, and not too many hoofs up field. As this was my first game of the season, I noticed that Crouch, for all his height, isn’t the player to play that ball anyway, he got beaten too many times by Lescott in the first half, however the ref was oblivious to the fact Lescott had handfuls of his shirt!!!

The crowd at this point was rather subdued, and I was wondering whether the “suits” had invaded the away games, but my fears were vanished when Defoe got his opener.

Crouch flicked the ball over to Defoe, who seemed to have the ball stuck to his feet as he twisted and turned, to then let fly a sweet low drive past Howard. The stadium at that time was stunned, I actually thought it was wide, silly me!! But after seeing the Pompey players celebrate, I joined in!!
My elation seemed to wither however as Everton took control, with Superman making the save of the season. Yakubu on the right of the penalty area got past Papa and Johnson far too easily to cut the ball across and into the path of Arteta, who volleyed it right into the path of……Jamo!!! Couldn’t believe it myself! It was one of those moments where your heart drops, fearing the worst, only to see the magnificent hand of Sir James, to parry it against the post and collect in both hands. The chants of England’s No.1, were accepted with a thumbs up from the Pompey keeper.

The Everton wave of attack was still not over however as it was time for Kaboul to show his worth, a long ball over into the box, was missed by Jamo, and he had to hopelessly watch, as the ball was flicked passed him, going straight towards the Yaks head. However, it was Kaboul’s turn to act saviour as he came in with an almost acrobatic kick to deny Everton the equaliser.

At this point I just want to comment on Kaboul. I think he has potential, bags of the stuff, but he seemed nervous, and it made me nervous watching him at times. It also seemed apparent to the Pompey players as he got a barking off Sol a few times as well. Playing time is a priority, for him to become a solid figure like Sylvain.

Everton continued to attack, and at this time I was continuously looking up at the clock hoping for halftime to arrive when a swift Pompey counterattack lead to our second. In the 40th minute Johnson collected the ball ran to the right of the Everton area, did a simple one two’s with Defoe, which lead to a clear shot on goal, which he converted coolly. This was again an example of how both Traore who also made some nice runs and Johnson had an effect on the game; both were really good, and maybe the answer to our width options?

Interval, time for a coke….

The second half started with a disaster, 2 minutes in and we concede a penalty. This probably was the pivotal moment of the game as Johnson hauled down an Everton player, and as a result the penalty was rewarded. This was the second time in which my heart dropped, as who would bet against the Yak? Well three thousand Pompey fans in full voice 10 seconds later would have as Superman again denied a probable goal with a leap to his right to parry the ball away. What a legend!!!

After this the wind went out of Everton’s sails and the game died down slightly. We continued to have a few attempts and so did Everton until finally we sealed a fine performance with a sublime finish. Now in the first half Defoe attempted the same chip, which also hit the bar, but he was offside. The build up for this goal was class as Davis to Traore on the left, back to Davis who back heeled it to Defoe who magnificently chipped it over Howard’s head, hitting the underside of the bar to go in. I actually thought Crouch scored as the ball bounced up after hitting the ground, and he headed in. But who cares right?? We WON 3-0 AT GOODISON PARK!!

Harry seemed happy giving us a couple of waves, the crowd in full voice. Mr Portsmouth amongst us. Players seemed very happy when the fulltime whistle went, so I ask Crisis? What Crisis? Proud to be a Pompey Fan!!!