Palace Win Keeps Pompey Alive
By Jim Bonner
Updated Tuesday, 17th April 2012
Portsmouth 2 Crystal Palace 1
The hosts began the game nervously with no clear chances being created. The Eagles' youngsters looked threatening early onand should have took the lead when Antonio Pedroza spooned his close range effort over the bar when unmarked in the box.
Thankfully, the defence were soon on top as Michael Appleton's men took control of the game. Luke Varney went close as his shot hit the far post and Chris Maguire hit the side netting with his effort.
Pompey then took the lead with the aid of a massive deflection. Scott Allan's speculative long range shot cannoned off Nathaniel Clyne. The effort was clearly off target and will surely go down as an own goal, not that anyone in Portsmouth will care.
Having asserted a dominance on the end of first half, you would have expected Portsmouth to come out in the second period and continue exerting the pressure.
However, the performance was full of nerves and Palace very nearly equalised when Pedroza hit the woodwork and the follow up from Wilfried Zaha hit the side netting.
Pompey got their act together and ended up doubling their lead when Allan's corner was met by the head of Greg Halford at the far post and the ball bounced off Julian Speroni and into the back of the net.
It seemed like we would cruise to victory but Pompey never do things the easy way and Varney's stupidity saw him needlessly bring down Zaha in the box having lost the ball to him.
Darren Ambrose stepped up and scored from the spot to ensure a nail biting last twenty minutes at Fratton Park.
Cue hashed clearances and some poor passes from the men in blue shirts to ramp up the tension which was made even worse when Maguire was sent through on goal only for his shot to be cleared off the line when he rounded Speroni.
But Pompey thankfully saw out the five minutes of stoppage time to earn the win that keeps the hopes of Championship survival alive after Bristol City failed to beat West Ham.
The good news is that from our perspective we no longer have to worry about Coventry standing in the way after their 1-0 home defeat to Millwall saw Pompey leap them in the table.
If we do go down, at least we'll go down fighting.
Pompey Player Ratings
Jamie Ashdown: 6 - Comfortable saves in the main.
Joel Ward: 7 - Dug in when it mattered.
Jason Pearce: 7 - Some important blocks.
Ricardo Rocha: 6 - Solid enough.
Karim Rekik: 8 - Did very well to nullify Clyne and Zaha.
Greg Halford: 7 - Important goal.
Scott Allan: 8 - Energetic performance and at the heart of everything.
David Norris: 6 - Worked hard as usual.
Chris Maguire: 6 - Probably should have scored.
Luke Varney: 5 - Clumsy error may have been more costly.
Dave Kitson: 6 - Put himself about.
Ashley Harris (Allan 85): N/A - Late cameo.
|17 Apr 2012|
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