Nuge Puts Pompey Through

Last updated : 06 January 2008 By Jim Bonner
Pompey defeated Ipswich for the second time in the third round of the FA Cup but were really made to work for it against an impressive side who were reduced to ten men.

Harry selected quite a strong side for the game. The same back five that played against Reading started the game, Pedro Mendes and forgotten man Arnold Mvuemba replaced the injured Muntari and Hughes. Kanu also started in place of Benjani who didn't make the squad.

Perhaps the biggest news was that Matthew Taylor also didn't make the squad. Harry said that his head "wasn't right" as he ponders a move to Bolton, but more on Taylor another time.

For the second consecutive game we benefited from a generous decision by the referee as he sent Liam Trotter off for a challenge on Pedro Mendes that should have been a yellow card at worst. That decision woke the crowd up and the game turned into a real cup tie as both sides squandered a couple of good chances to take the lead.

Harry brought on David Nugent for Pedro Mendes and the ex-Preston striker continued his excellent goalscoring record against Ipswich after he outpaced the Tractor Boys' centre backs to latch onto a long punt upfield and slot past Neil Alexander.

Nuge might have scored again with a half-volley that hit the bar and he was a genuine threat for the rest of the game. Here's hoping he will take his chance and get a run in the side now.

John Utaka somehow managed to miss a sitter when all he had to do was tap the ball in from a cross yet somehow he messed it up. I'm still in disbelief thinking about it now and we almost paid for that miss at the end of the game if it wasn't for Jamo pulling off two outstanding saves to preserve our lead.

It's difficult to say whether we deserved the win as we had a man advantage for the majority of the game thanks to a generous ref once again (which probably makes up for the refereeing debacles we suffered against Tottenham and Middlesbrough).

Ipswich can probably count themselves unlucky as I thought they gave a good account of themselves and they can be proud of their efforts. Pompey were good in spells but in honesty I'm just glad we have made it through such a tricky tie, especially when you look at some of the shocks that have happened over the course of the weekend.

Which brings me nicely onto the fourth round draw. The last three years we have been knocked out at the hands of Man United, Liverpool and Southampton. There are plenty of lower league sides that I would love us to draw but I bet we draw one of the "big four" as luck in the cup eludes us once again.

On the other hand, we could draw Havant & Waterlooville after their excellent 1-1 draw at Swansea. Should they win the replay at West Leigh Park, it would be a dream for Pompey to play the Hawks in the next round. I just don't want us to draw another Premier League side.

All that matters is that we have come through a difficult tie and we're in the draw for the fourth round, even if we got some luck on the way.

Pompey Player Ratings

David James: 8 - Some excellent saves that were crucial to Pompey winning the game, especially in the last 10 minutes when Ipswich threw everything at us.

Glen Johnson: 8 - Another impressive performance at the back and was a threat going forward too.

Sol Campbell: 7 - Made some vital challenges and won some important headers.

Sylvain Distin: 7 - Another good performance.

Hermann Hreidarsson: 7 - One of his best games for a while.

Pedro Mendes: 6 - Some good passing before being subbed at half-time.

Arnold Mveumba: 6 - A bit rusty, but didn't look out of place in the game.

Papa Bouba Diop: 7 - Strong on the ball, but needs to learn to hit the target more often after wasting opportunities.

John Utaka: 5 - Back to his frustrating ways and his horror miss just adds to his woes.

Niko Kranjcar: 6 - Seemed a bit disinterested...

Kanu: 6 - Not very effective.


Asmir Begovic


Djimi Traore

Noe Pamarot

David Nugent: 7 - Instant impact, well-taken goal and he looked the part.