Not Singing In The Rain

Last updated : 01 January 2007 By Jim Bonner
Pompey opened the New Year with a 1-1 draw against Tottenham in the pouring rain. Benjani's deflected shot gave us the lead midway through the first half but some catastrophic marking allowed Steed Malbranque to head in an equaliser as the spoils were shared in a poor game at Fratton Park.

Prior to kick-off the club said they had a major announcement to make. Had we signed a new player? Was there breaking news on the new stadium? Had Kanu or Sol signed a contract extension to put the recent transfer talk behind them? Nope, instead we found out that we'd be getting "OKI Printing Solutions" on the front of our shirts for the next two seasons. Disappointing.

In fact the word "disappointing" would sum up the entire game as both sides lacked quality and any sort of real creativity. If a complete stranger to football had watched that match they would have thought that it was a game between two sides at the bottom of the table rather than 6th and 7th in the league.

The tone of the game was set after a challenge by Noe Pamarot caused Hossam Ghaly a mouth injury. Ironically Pamarot was then injured himself and had to be subbed for Niko Kranjcar. The match was scrappy and Spurs had the better of the play so it was of some relief when Benjani shot from the edge of the area and the ball deflected into the net to give Pompey the lead.

That, and Matthew Taylor almost scoring an own goal were the only real highlights of a first half where both sides kept giving the ball away as if they were playing "hot potato" with it. But at least we had gone in a goal up at half-time.

The best entertainment we got in the second half was laughing at the Tottenham fans who were being drenched in a torrential downpour in the Milton End. Spurs grabbed an equaliser after Malbranque headed in from a cross but there was nobody in a blue shirt near him. It reminded me of the goal we conceded to Baros at Villa. Absolutely awful defending and it seems that more work needs to be done on the training ground because once again we've let a lead slip.

David James had to produce two outstanding saves to prevent Tottenham picking up all three points. Pompey continued to put some sort of pressure on the away side but never really looked like scoring again although we did have a penalty appeal after the ball struck a Spurs hand from a free kick, much like the Gary O'Neil incident last season. Where's Uriah Rennie when you need him?

In the end a draw was a fair result with neither side looking like a top ten Premiership side but that could be because of the fatigue suffered over the gruelling Christmas schedule. We're still solidified in 6th in the league with some easier looking games on the horizon.

Before that, we have the FA Cup to look forward to as well as the transfer window to follow. Harry has denied that Kanu and Campbell will be leaving this month but we will have to see what happens.

Pompey Player Ratings

David James: 8 - Bounced back from the Bolton performance with two top quality saves to deny Tottenham a win.

Glen Johnson: 6 - Average, sometimes lacked a bit of concentration but got forward well.

Linvoy Primus: 7 - Vintage Linvoy performance.

Sol Campbell: 7 - Strong against his former club but will he be here at the end of the month?

Noe Pamarot: 5 - Went off with a reported groin injury early on.

Gary O'Neil: 5 - The stand-in captain is off form at the moment.

Pedro Mendes: 5 - Took a few potshots but was largely un-noticeable.

Sean Davis: 5 - Not a good game against his former club.

Matthew Taylor: 6 - Worked hard and some good deliveries but was exposed at left back.

Benjani: 7 - Got a fluke goal but put in a decent workmanlike performance.

Kanu: 6 - Could have done more. Will he be here at the end of the month?


Jamie Ashdown

Andy O'Brien

Manuel Fernandes

Niko Kranjcar: 5 - Kept losing the ball despite the odd through ball.

Andy Cole: 6 - Tried his best.