Fuller Heaps More Misery On Pompey

The events at the Britannia Stadium has summed our season up to perfection after yet another defeat.

David James strained his calf pre-match, Kevin-Prince Boateng missed a penalty in a first half which Pompey dominated and then conceded a goal in the second half that James probably would have saved.

This is becoming a familiar theme this season and we're being likened to the West Brom of last season where we're earning plaudits for our play but costly mistakes at either end of the pitch have seen too many points dropped.

Sky's pundits were sympathetic for Pompey after the defeat and Paul Hart once again came out with the same scripted post-match interview: "Our performance didn't justify the result, I can't fault the effort of my players, we have to pick ourselves up etc..."

And yes we did play well in terms of keeping possession but Tony Pulis summed it up perfectly when he said that for all of our possession we didn't cause Stoke very many problems and probably only had two or three meaningful attempts at goal all game.

One of which was that early penalty that was awarded after Delap almost took Dindane's head off with a wild challenge inside the box. Unfortunately I'm starting to become resigned to Pompey's fate and felt that it would be squandered as soon as Boateng placed the ball on the spot and took an age to take the penalty.

It was one of the worst spot kicks I have ever seen with Boateng almost tapping it towards Sorensen's left hand side, meaning the Dane simply had to guess the right way to save it.

I also had a feeling that with the way our luck is, that Ricardo Fuller, without a league goal and as an ex-Pompey and Southampton player, that he would score and that's exactly what he did after Stoke's only quality piece of play throughout the entire game.

Jamie Ashdown got a hand to his curling shot but I'm convinced that David James would have pushed that past the post. It was an extremely frustrating goal to concede because the defence and the midfield had worked so hard during the whole match to keep Stoke at bay but were undone in one small passage of play.

If there is one major criticism of Pompey's performance today is that we didn't take advantage of a lacklustre Stoke side, not just through that missed penalty but because we only had one meaningful attempt from Dindane after that, despite our dominance of possession.

What was even more disheartening is that our strikers barely mustered a shot and yet our previous employees in Defoe, Crouch and Kranjcar are banging them in for Spurs in a 9-1 win against Wigan.

I'm usually pretty optimistic but even now I'm now seriously considering the prospect that Pompey will be playing in the Championship next season. We may only be four points adrift from safety but our next game is against Manchester United and in December we have to play Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Those are fixtures which I don't see Pompey taking any points from, meaning that Pompey will only have 13 points at most by my reckoning come January, and we may not be able to strengthen the side by then anyway because of this transfer embargo.

I've been proven wrong plenty of times before, but some hope needs to come from somewhere before all hope is lost and every Pompey becomes resigned to relegation.

Pompey Player Ratings

Jamie Ashdown: 5 - Nothing much to do but may have done better with the goal.

Tal Ben-Haim: 7 - Seems more comfortable at right back than left.

Marc Wilson: 6 - Steady enough.

Younes Kaboul: 7 - Won the majority of the headers.

Hermann Hreidarsson: 6 - Solid return to the side.

Hayden Mullins (Webber 80): 6 - In the side because Mokoena was still in South Africa because of a family illness. He did a job.

Michael Brown: 7 - Gave his all as always.

Jamie O'Hara: 7 - Best player on the pitch.

Kevin-Prince Boateng: 5 - Performed well but woeful penalty.

Kanu: 6 - Shielded the ball well.

Aruna Dindane (Piquionne 73): 5 - No real cutting edge.


Antti Niemi

Mike Williamson

Anthony Vanden Borre

Richard Hughes

Tommy Smith

Danny Webber (Mullins 80): N/A - No impact.

Frederic Piquionne (Dindane 73): N/A - Didn't change anything.