A lot of the reason for such an explosive game, in my opinion, is down to one man - Andy D'Urso. Now I'm not saying that we lost the game because of him - we were going about our business of turning in a poor performance before he stole the limelight - but I'm sure a referee of his supposed stature and experience should be able to actually control a game of football, rather than every single tackle degenerating near enough into a fist fight.
What REALLY ticked me off was during the first half, when Kamara was running through on goal. With only one defender to beat and two men running away either side of him, it was clear that there was a very real possibility of a goal - until Mokoena clipped him from behind. It was deliberate, cynical, and stopped the development of an promising attacking move. Of course, Mokoena knew that there was a defender back, so he couldn't be the last man, so he couldn't be sent off. But surely that's a professional foul? Surely it deserves a red because a goalscoring opportunity looked clear, and he knew what he was doing? Either way, he got a yellow.
I haven't seen the two red card incidents again so I can't really comment, although I thought if LuaLua got sent off then surely Todd had to walk as well. It seemed like Lua was just retaliating - that's not a defence, you just can't do that in the game - but Todd, hardly a player with a record for keeping his head, surely deserved his marching orders too for appearing to strike out first. Faye, despite an otherwise fantastic performance, seemed to be determined to be sent off and continually got involved in scuffles, so perhaps it was no surprise when he got punished for going in on the keeper. Funny how Dickov avoided a second yellow for doing exactly the same to Shaka, though.
Although let's be honest, we could've added seventy-six minutes and not scored today. The defence was solid enough, but the midfield - Faye accepted - was all over the place. I'm not really sure what our tactics were but with O'Neil on the left wing and Stone at right back, things certainly seemed a bit mixed up. Even with three strikers on the pitch for the first half and a bit of the second, we never troubled Friedel seriously. There just seemed to be a lack of urgency and passion about the team; quite happy to go through the motions and get to the end of the game without doing too much. What was most concerning was the complete and utter lack of any sort of shape - especially towards the end of the match everyone just congregated in the centre of the pitch, with no thought of width or actually trying to get back in the game.
The bottom line is, we need to get back that winning feeling at Fratton. Zajec's tactics seem to be much more suited to playing away from home; letting teams come at us and dealing with them individually, then trying to play on the break. Unfortunately, after Harry Redknapp's "all out attacking" philosophy, people are coming to Fratton expecting to see the exact opposite - us imposing ourselves and making the opposition worry about us. And perhaps, we do need a little bit of that, whilst keeping our defensive solidarity.
Just typical though - as soon as we slay our old demons and learn how to win away, it's now a month and a half since we secured three points at home!