Ashdown Hands Hoops Victory

Last updated : 02 February 2011 By Jim Bonner
Portsmouth's dismal 2011 continued with a 2-0 defeat at Loftus Road after a Jamie Ashdown error handed QPR the initiative.

Until the Pompey 'keeper's gaffe, the visitors were clearly the better side and had controlled the majority of the first half. The team worked hard to keep QPR from settling into any sort of rhytmn and made Paddy Kenny work at the other end of the pitch.

Greg Halford had the best chances of the half as he headed an early Liam Lawrence free kick straight at Kenny.

The QPR stopper then did well to palm another fierce free kick away later on in the match when Matt Connolly pulled Lawrence down as he was about to shoot into an empty net after Kenny miskicked his clearance.

Connolly only received a yellow card for that offence and could count himself lucky as it looked like Lawrence was about to pull the trigger until he was pulled down. A clear goalscoring opportunity you might say...

The only noteworthy effort to come from the hosts was a long range strike from Alejandro Faurlin that was comfortably held by Ashdown.

Unfortunately, Ashdown did not comfortably hold the next shot on target as Adel Taarabt's tame angled shot was fumbled by the Pompey 'keeper to hand QPR the lead and undo all of Pompey's hard work up until that point.

Steve Cotterill's men had a great chance to equalise after Dave Kitson stepped over Lawrence's square pass to allow the ball to fall nicely for Jonathan Hogg, but he could only fire wide.

And Neil Warnock's men had the game sewn up when Clint Hill rose above the Pompey defence to power a header into the roof of the net. Ashdown got a hand to the ball but it wasn't strong enough to keep it out.

To be fair to Pompey they didn't give up and Nugent should have pulled a goal back when he was found in plenty of space in the box but his shot was narrowly wide.

And in stoppage time Kenny had to make a double point-blank save to deny Kitson and Ciftci before the final whistle.

Steve Cotterill then came over to the Pompey fans and made a gesture as to say "keep your chins up and get behind the team because we'll keep fighting." I certainly don't see him quitting any time soon.

Whilst the defeat at Loftus Road was disappointing it was not disheartening. The players worked extremely hard and showed plenty of fight, especially Hermann Hreidarsson who played well on his return to the team.

It was Pompey's profligacy on top of a goalkeeping error which cost them yesterday. I don't want to be too harsh on Ashdown as although the finger of blame could be pointed at him, he has performed in previous games and so hopefully this was just a one-off rather than a return to the "Ashdown of old".

As for our failure to score, that is also something that has cost us in the past but you have to remember that Pompey are no longer in the Premier League and so our players can't be expected to score "easy chances" as they might in the top flight.

This defeat sees Pompey in 20th place in the Championship which, of course, is extremely worrying given that we haven't won a match since mid-December.

Derby are next up and they're also in freefall so we simply need to win that game. Failure to do so would go a long way to seeing Portsmouth drop to League One next season.

Pompey Player Ratings

Jamie Ashdown: 4 - Costly error.

Ritchie De Laet: 6 - Supported attack well.

Greg Halford: 6 - Much better performance after Burnley debacle.

Aaron Mokoena: 6 - Solid return to the side.

Hermann Hriedarsson: 7 - Looked like the Hermannator of old. Strong and won nearly every header.

Joel Ward: 6 - Steady.

Hayden Mullins: 6 - Did his usual job.

Liam Lawrence: 6 - Some decent deliveries.

Jonathan Hogg: 5 - Still settling in and should have scored.

David Nugent: 6 - A genuine threat but also should have scored.

Dave Kitson: 5 - Still not quite happening for him.


Darryl Flahavan

Ricardo Rocha

Ibrahima Sonko

Tom Kilbey

Nadir Ciftci (Ward 83): N/A - Unlucky not to score.