Portsmouth Season Review 2010/2011: November

Last updated : 29 May 2011 By Jim Bonner

Having taken 19 points from the previous 21 available, Blues fans began to believe that the awful start to the campaign was well and truly behind them and a promotion push wasn't out of the question.

Those ambitions would be seriously tested as Pompey travelled to Pride Park as the form team in the entire country but ended up coming a cropper after Nugent's injury forced changes that completely disrupted the team's rhythm.

Jamie Ashdown produced the save of the season to deny Kris Commons after Tomasz Cwyka had teed him up for a tap in but Mokoena's blatant foul on Cwyka meant that Robbie Savage gave Derby the lead from the spot.

Paul Green then added a second goal as the Rams completely outplayed Pompey on the day, meaning Steve Cotterill's men had to retreat and lick their wounds before the visit of QPR to Fratton Park the following Tuesday.

Pompey dominated the league leaders in the first half but the game will be remembered for two big penalty decisions in the second half.

Lawrence's penalty was saved by Paddy Kenny after Matt Connolly had brought down Kitson but the assistant referee ordered a retake after Kenny was harshly judged to have come off his line. Lawrence made no mistake of burying the ball in the net the second time.

The Irishman would then make the headlines for a completely different reason after the assistant referee incorrectly awarded QPR a penalty in stoppage time for a "handball" offence.

Lawrence furiously protested and pointed to the mark the ball had made on his chest but the referee was having none of it and sent off the goalscorer for his continued verbals.

Predictably, it was Tommy Smith, on loan from Pompey, who scored the resulting spot kick to deny his parent club victory.

Next up was Pompey's first match against Doncaster since 1982 and it would end in defeat for the hosts after two "sucker-punch" goals from James Hayter and James Coppinger gave Rovers a 2-0 lead at half-time.

Pompey responded with two close range goals after the break from Ward and Nugent and it would look like Steve Cotterill's men would go on from there and win the match only to be hit by another sucker-punch goal from David Healy.

The next match was an absolutely dire experience at Oakwell as Portsmouth were beaten by another Yorkshire side in what was a terrible performance.

Despite some generous decisions from the referee, Pompey could only manage two attempts on goal coming at the very start and end of the game courtesy of David Nugent. Adam Hammill's strike from the edge of the box was enough to give the Tykes the win.

Three defeats in four games had seen the gloss from the previous unbeaten run fade and another defeat was on the cards when Pompey travelled to in-form Swansea and fell behind after just three minutes thanks to Craig Beattie's goal.

The Swans dominated the first half but were hit by a goal well and truly against the run of play as Nugent was allowed to run in on goal and slot past Dorus de Vries.

Halford then headed in Lawrence's free kick to give Pompey the lead and the team then held firm and returned from Wales with three hard earned points.

That result gave us all some hope going into what looked like a very busy December when the small squad would be well and truly tested.