Date: 4th August 2008 at 10:06pm
Written by:

Our penultimate pre-season friendly saw us go to Oxford tonight, with a fairly strong starting 11 sent out – most of which you would expect to start the charity shield, if not the opening game of the season. It was a decent run out and we came away with a fairly comfortable 2-1 win.

The Match
Our starting 11 was:

David James
Martin Craine
Sylvain Distin
Djimi Traore
Pedro Mendes
Niko Kranjcar
Papa Bouba Diop
Peter Crouch
Jermain Defoe

After starting sluggishly we then came into the game, but not before Oxford went close themselves with us then having several chances with Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch both testing the Oxford keeper Ben Hinchcliffe. Then Papa Bouba Diop got in behind the defence but he could not take his chance.

The deadlock was broken on 30 minutes when a couple of unlikely sources combined. Djimi Traore put in a fine cross – which in fairness he had a few times already – with this met by Bouba Diop who made no mistake to finish very well, yep the Senegalese man scored!

We took a while to get going, and did not have it all our own way but we sounded ok in the 1st half and looked to be going in 1-0 up at half time until a late goal from Defoe when he finished really well following what sounded like a fantastic surge through midfield by Lassana Diarra, so 2-0 Pompey at half time.

Oxford made plenty of changes at the break, 9 in fact with Pompey bringing 1 of the 4 that were named on the bench on as Jean Francois Christophe came on for Lauren.

The 2nd half did not really see much goalmouth action although David James did have to make a decent save around midway through the half.

Cramp got the better of Diarra, at least it was hoped it was only cramp, which saw trialist Manuel Rodriguez brought on to play in defence, which from the sounds of it he did not impress at all…

It was not really much of a spectacle in the 2nd half although Niko Kranjcar did go close, with Defoe quite lucky to get away with not being sent off as he took a swing at an Oxford player who had caught him late. Sensible referring saw him stay on the pitch.

Bouba Diop could, and maybe should have scored a second in the final 10 minutes after another good move got him in but his effort was saved by Jake Coles.

Oxford got a consolation in the last minute with poor defending from Rodriguez with him losing his man and Alex Fisher made no mistake.

Pompey 2 – Papa Bouba Diop 30, Jermain Defoe 44
Oxford 1 – Alex Fisher 90

Match Summary
It is difficult to judge too much on this game as I was only able to listen to it, besides you cannot get that much from pre-season, which is mainly to build up fitness levels and get prepared for the season.

Djimi Traore, who still has no name on his shirt on squad number sounded as though he did ok though which he must be given great credit for – but it is probably far too late for him to have any future with Pompey although you never know…

Only a few days now and we have the charity shield, this is when we know the season really is here!


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