Donny Delight For Pompey
By Jim Bonner
Updated Saturday, 12th February 2011
Doncaster Rovers 0 Portsmouth 2Portsmouth fans finally remembered how it felt to win a football match and to not hear the opposition cheer a goal after Pompey came away from the Keepmoat Stadium with a 2-0 win.
Aaron Mokoena's absence meant that Ricardo Rocha started the game and the impact his presence had on our defence was clear to see. No more hoofing the ball clear in a panic, instead the ball was passed out of of defence as the Portuguese man's influence was felt by the rest of the back four who followed suit.
It wasn't the best game to watch from an entertainment point of view as there were few clear cut chances created in the first half. The hosts went close when Sam Hird volleyed wide and James Coppinger tamely shot at Ashdown after being found in space.
Liam Lawrence fired straight at Gary Woods in what was Pompey's only good opportunity before the deadlock was broken before the break.
Halford's shot from outside the box had hit the post and bounced up kindly for Kitson who bravely nodded the ball whilst smashing his head on the foot of a Donny defender to give the visitors a half-time lead.
Pompey would then give the noisy contingent of travelling fans more reason to celebrate with a goal not long into the second half of the game, and what a goal it was too!
Joel Ward may not score a better goal for years after he produced a superb lob from an angle. The Pompey fans waited in anticipation as the ball sailed over the Doncaster 'keeper before nestling into the back of the net.
There wasn't really any real threat to come from Steve Cotterill's men after that as they seemed happy to sit on their two goal lead and let a poor Doncaster side shoot from yards out which never troubled Ashdown.
The only other noteworthy incident to come in the second half came when Jonathan Hogg was given his marching orders after receiving his second yellow card.
The first booking seemed to be for a little petulence after a soft free kick was awarded to the hosts, so that was harsh and the second bookable offence was a supposed deliberate handball although that was dubious too as the ball came so quickly it was difficult for the youngster to move his arm away.
Still, that shouldn't take the gloss off of what was a tremendous result for Pompey. Whilst there wasn't much going forward due to a lack of movement and width, it was refreshing to see the defence look so solid and calm in possession.
There may have been a couple of hairy moments in the second half as Pompey sat back but they remained strong, worked hard and didn't resort to simply hoofing the ball out of play or straight back to the opposition.
Again, I shall sing Rocha's praises for this and there is simply no way that he should be dropped now, regardless of any personal disputes with the manager. It seems Mokoena's/the Pompey board's idiocy was a blessing in disguise.
This result takes Portsmouth to 18th position in the Championship but more importantly 7 points clear of the drop. Things are starting to look up now in terms of matters on the pitch and whilst I'm taking nothing for granted, I think this result has gone a long way to ensure that relegation won't be a major worry.
Pompey Player Ratings
Jamie Ashdown: 6 - Nothing to do.
Ritchie De Laet: 7 - Solid and did the basics right.
Greg Halford: 7 - Won the aerial battle.
Ricardo Rocha: 8 - Top class.
Hermann Hreidarsson: 7 - Stayed strong.
Liam Lawrence: 6 - Not at his best.
Jonathan Hogg: 6 - Unlucky to be sent off.
Hayden Mullins: 6 - Did his job.
Joel Ward: 8 - Superb goal and was effective in centre midfield.
David Nugent: 6 - Runs weren't spotted by his team mates.
Dave Kitson: 7 - Scored and linked play well.
Carl Dickinson (Kitson 90): N/A - Time eating switch.
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