Date: 15th November 2008 at 4:58pm
Written by:

First thoughts, no Krunchie, Utaka, or Traore in the starting line up. Utaka as we all know has got the runs (for the first time in his Pompey career), but nothing reported on Krunchie in the last day or so. Well here we go 5 minutes to kick off. Time to play the Newcastle of two years Ago.

Pompey start unbeaten in the previous 6 premier league meetings between the two clubs. Both clubs are under relatively new managers in charge, British Grit against Italian Flair?

Just a thought Scott Parker is the same height as most of their Mascots. Then again so is JD and Fabio Capello in the stands watching yet another Pompey Game (yes, I think he is a fan).

Pompey to kick off:

First moment of the match comes about with Glen Johnson giving away a rather unnecessary corner in the 5th minute with Diop clearing the danger. Soon after, a lucky escape with Distin almost giving away a penalty. The ball clearly hit his arm. Huge slice of luck there. West Ham have started in a high tempo, looks like a 4-5-1 come 4-3-3.

The first real chance of the game though came after a lovely run from Johnson who crosses between the defender and Robert Green, Defoe latched on to the end of it, but his snap shot was sent wide. Well played though, Pompey had started coming in to the game at this point, but West Ham have been looking dangerous on the break.

In the 13th minute, Diarra went in for a lunging challenge and looked to be in considerable pain. He made it back on, but looked uncomfortable. He lasted a further 3 minutes before having to come off for Armand Traore, with Tony Adams asking him and Belhadj to swap wings by the looks of it. Devastating loss for Pompey so early in the game, but the saving grace is plenty of pace on both wings now.

The game became a little tedious with the play switching between the two sides until the
29th Minute, Defoe knocks down a ball to Crouch, who hits wide from 18 yards. He should have buried it but was off balance. By this stage Pompey have been getting a bit of change down the right in Traore who looked lively going forward. Belhadj has been cutting in a fair lot from the right hand side and forced a corner with a shot in the 32nd minute. From the resulting corner the ball eventually fell to Defoe who takes a shot that is deflected wide for a corner. Portsmouth as always, are putting teams under pressure from corners without actually scoring. It shocks me really how few we do score from corners (I wish someone would show the tapes of the Newcastle away game last season).

In what is becoming a fairly open game, in the 34th minute Carlton Cole makes a good run down the right, but fails to see a team mate in acres of space and Johnson shepherds the ball out of play. Shortly after a lovely cross from Bellamy causes panic in the Pompey area which is eventually dealt with by Distin, and West Ham are dominating the midfield.

In the 38th minute Pamarot gives away a free kick for a harsh challenge for which he receives a yellow card. The resulting free kick produces nothing and is well over hit.

How is Diop even in the team? There is no point in even putting in the area for free kicks and corners. The man has a head like a bucket and could hit a barn door with combine harvester.

Just before half time Pompey give away a corner which Bellamy again over hits, which leads to Belhadj challenging for the ball down the right, but was just a little too off balance to take advantage of a potential one on one situation. The West Ham fans don’t really get behind their team and pompey close out the half with a corner that Robert Green punches clear, and Diop manages to knock out Collins with a header in to the back of his head.

Half time stats.
Shots on target West Ham 2 Pompey 2
Shots off Target West Ham 1 Pompey 3
Fouls Conceded West Ham 3 Pompey 6

2nd Half
First substitution for West Ham Etherington on for Sears, looks like they will be going 4-4-2 in the second half. West Ham to kick off.

First chance of the second half came from Jermain Defoe. Lucas Neil dives in and Defoe skips around him, and unleashes a 20 yard drive, which Green parries over the bar. West Ham fall asleep from the resulting corner, but Belhadj slices his shot for a throw in.

Defoe soon after lifts the ball over the keeper after a long through ball from Distin, great first touch from Defoe’s but Green again defies him. Pompey have started the second half looking lively.

52nd minute Carlton Cole plays a good ball to Bellamy who scuffs his shot straight at David James. Soon after Pompey concede a free kick on the edge of the area, and the resulting shot from Bellamy rock the Portsmouth bar and Collision’s follow up shot goes straight in to the arms of David James. End to end stuff, Pompey countered and found Crouch had wondered off side. A quick free kick unleashes Carlton Cole, who’s run results in a perfectly timed challenge from Kaboul, who is really playing quite well. 2 corners quickly follow which David James deals with at the second attempt.

The second Half has really picked up by now. We are now seeing signs that Belhadj is extremely one sided and is consistently cutting inside the full back, and it looks like the West Ham Right back has his number at the moment. A little bit wasted on the right I think.

Around the 60th minute Pompey came under extreme pressure from West Ham, who seemed to have stepped up a gear and the Hammers fans have become a little more vocal.

Defoe, by the 65th minute has had 5 chances the latest chance came on the break with a lovely ball from Belhadj, with Defoe trying to chip Green from 25 yards, scuffed and an easy pick up for the keeper.

Up and down, slow and fast, this game is all over the place. Traore has a 30 yard shot which sails over the bar.

Once again our crosses are becoming woeful, it hasn’t been Crouches afternoon and on the 75th minute Kanu comes on for his 88th Premier league sub appearance. Chix mentioned that his warm up may have knackered him out. Chix….. He didn’t have a warm up. A small change of tactics that may benefit us slightly. West Ham again start to pile on the pressure and it has to be said, that West Ham’s crossing has been as bad as ours throughout the game.

Kaboul has had a fantastic game and is muscling people out at the right time. Looking good
83rd minute, a great ball from Kanu again releases Defoe, who is forced on to his weaker left foot and denied yet again by Robert Green. On any other day Defoe would have had a hat trick by now, but the keeper is in fine form in front of the watching England manager.

With both teams very susceptible this season in the dying minutes, it was all to play for in the last 5 minutes, and we almost conceded from a foul given away by Glen Johnson, the resulting free kick saw James wondering out of the six yard box and missing, this time Diop and Distin were there to clear the danger. West Ham were finishing the stronger side, and for all of Portsmouth chances we had failed to convert.

89th minute and a corner to Portsmouth, can we get something from this game, but again nothing came of it. 2 minutes of extra time. The last chance of the game fell to Kanu, who used Faubert as a climbing frame, but still could not get to Belhadj’s cross. Green takes the resulting goal kick and the ref blows for full time.

All in all, an end to end game which was fought mainly in the middle of the park. Distin and Kaboul again played well together at the centre of defence, and Kaboul really impressed me today with some good challenges and decisions. I am disappointed with the loss of Diarra, and hope that the injury that he picked up is not as bad as we think it may be. We need him and Krunchie for our assault on Germany.

I think JD will be a little bit disappointed with himself tonight, he had the chance to put the game to bed in the second half, and in front of the England manager he will be kicking himself at the misses.

Well done Tony, no goals conceded and with the hope of Metgod’s free flowing Total Football, I hope that we can start putting these chance to bed a killing off games when we should.

P.S. Don’t send Diop up for corners. He has a head like a bucket.

Thanks to Rug for letting me do the report; I leave hospital tomorrow morning, and am looking forward to a nice cold beer. Have a great weekend guys.

Written by Harrissman.


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