Lawrence Spot Kick Tames Lions

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 20 October 2010
Liam Lawrence's penalty was enough to secure Pompey's first away win of the season in a scrappy game at The Den.

There was a surprise in the Pompey starting XI as Greg Halford had signed in time to play in the match. All we learnt about him yesterday is that he's tall, can play as a centre back (filling in for Rocha when he limped off with a hamstring injury) and he can take a long throw.

There was also another surprise for the visiting fans as a certain Sulaiman Al-Fahim was sitting dead in the centre of the crowd. It would no good asking him about the game though as he seemed to be texting on his phone all the time.

Not that he missed much in the first half as the ball spent a lot of time in the air and out of play. Neither side could find any rhythm to their game and neither 'keeper had much to do.

Ashdown was forced to make an early save when Darren Carter shot through a crowd of players but the best chance fell to Nugent at the end of the half who raced away from the Millwall defence only to stop and allow them to catch up with him instead of taking the shot when he had the time.

Nugent was also guilty of missing a few second half chances as he stepped over Utaka's low cross instead of putting his foot through the ball, hesistated to shoot with his left foot having done the hard work on another occasion and then volleyed the ball over with his third decent chance of the half.

It looked like Pompey might pay for Nugent's wastefulness as Millwall hit the woodwork twice and should have scored when Sonko missed his clearance and the ball fell to Carter who somehow spooned the ball over from close range.

It would ultimately be the home side that would pay for their missed chances as Chris Hackett hacked down Nugent in the box when he burst through, giving referee Andy Woolmer no choice but to award the penalty.

Liam Lawrence sent Forde the wrong way with an excellent spot kick to send the travelling support bonkers and Pompey were able to hold on for the next 15 minutes or so without too much worry.

This win takes Pompey up to 15th in the league, four points from the drop and four points from the play-offs. Given that we've now taken 13 points from the last 15 it's safe to say that we're looking up the table rather than over our shoulders but talk of a promotion push with the small squad we have is still premature.

We did see another side to the free-scoring Portsmouth team of late. This was a team that dug in and fought for everything and credit has to be given to the makeshift defence for the result.

Dickinson has his best game yet in a Pompey shirt, Sonko, that one mistake aside, won everything in the air, Halford had a solid debut and Ward slotted into the team well when he came on.

Credit must also go to Steve Cotterill for the team's form too. Some of the early dissenters are starting to look silly now that the manager has something resembling a squad to work with.

Bring on Hull!

Pompey Player Ratings

Jamie Ashdown: 6 - Little to do barring one early save.

Greg Halford: 6 - Solid debut, knows how to take a long throw.

Ibrahima Sonko: 7 - Glaring error almost costly but won everything else.

Ricardo Rocha: 6 - Good until hamstring injury forced him off.

Carl Dickinson: 8 - Barely put a foot wrong all game and was always there to block crosses and make tackles.

Liam Lawrence: 7 - Scored penalty but didn't do much else.

Hayden Mullins: 6 - Linked play well.

Michael Brown: 7 - Made a nuisance of himself as usual.

John Utaka: 6 - In and out of the game, lively at times.

David Nugent: 6 - Wasteful but won the penalty.

Dave Kitson: 6 - Well marshalled by Millwall defence.


Darryl Flahavan

Joel Ward (Rocha 36): 6 - Slotted in well.

Richard Hughes (Nugent 90): N/A - Time-eating change.

Kanu (Utaka 67): 6 - Rarely gave the ball away.

Nadir Ciftci

Portsmouth Match Reports

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