Pompey Beaten On Redknapp's Return

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 18 October 2009
It was the same old story at Fratton Park where Pompey played well enough to deserve something from the game but woeful finishing, an inspired goalkeeping performance and defensive mistakes have meant we have lost by one goal yet again.

Harry Redknapp only received mild boos from the home crowd who were concentrating their efforts on Jermain Defoe until his sending off and the atmosphere was rocking up until the point Ledley King put Tottenham ahead.

Before that, Pompey fans were in disbelief as Aruna Dindane spooned an easy chance over the crossbar when Tommy Smith had ran past Corluka and were even more frustrated when Gomes, a 'keeper renowned for being a clown, produced a wondersave from Kaboul's deflected free kick which he somehow managed to get a hand to.

Those two chances were the only real opportunities Pompey had to take the lead whilst Spurs found plenty of joy down our left hand side as Aaron Lennon constantly got the better of Tal Ben-Haim, which meant Niko Kranjcar had many opportunities to whip a decent corner into the box (why couldn't he ever do that for us!?)

And Pompey were punished as King headed in an easy goal after he rose above his markers and David James had come out of his goal into no-mans land.

Then, to make matters worse, Defoe predictably scored right in the stroke of half-time after Spurs exploited our weakness on our left hand side, which allowed Jermaine Jenas to easily pick the former Pompey striker to score the goal that killed the crowd.

John Westwood was ejected at half time, I'm told that he was suggesting that Defoe do something to his manhood because he was drunk yet again, but the atmosphere suffered without him as the crowd were nearly silent for the start of the second half.

It would take a monumental effort in the second half to pull it back and neither Dindane or Gomes were helping the Pompey cause. Our Ivory Coast international missed another sitter after Smith pulled the ball back to him and he was no more than four yards out but put the ball wide.

Smith then could have scored himself after the Tottenham defence were caught out by a long free kick and he raced onto it and attempted to lob Gomes only for him to produce a brilliant save to keep the ball out.

But Gomes was beaten minutes later as Pompey's pressure finally resulted in a goal after former Spurs player Kevin-Prince Boateng lashed the ball in from a narrow angle to revive the home crowd.

The hope was strengthened even further when Defoe was saw red for stamping on Mokoena and he walked off with the crowd chanting something that rhymes with "Tanker" as he went down the tunnel.

From then on it was practically one way traffic for the rest of the match as Gomes once again denied Pompey an equaliser, saving Hassan Yebda's shot and substitute Freddie Piquionne headed agonisingly wide from a tight angle.

Tottenham could have scored a third as Lennon broke away but the Pompey defence got back to him just in time, and then Michael Brown was sent off in stoppage time for a late challenge as Pompey finished the game with ten men who were left to contemplate Pompey's fifth defeat in a row at home.

There's not much more I can add to what everyone else has said really. We're not playing like a team that is bottom of the league but we keep making stupid mistakes at the back and our frontmen have yet to score in the league in a season which is already breaking records for number of goals scored.

Tommy Smith offers plenty of effort and running, Dindane offers strength and Piquionne offers pace but none of them offer a cutting edge of a prolific scoring record that we need at this level.

Couple that with a defence that either lacks pace or solidity on the flanks and an inexperienced centre back partnership at the heart of the defence then we're always going to concede, especially when David James isn't playing well.

The midfield was good yesterday but we missed that extra quality that Jamie O'Hara brings to the side, but if we can come close to getting something against a very good Tottenham side then we can take heart from the fact that our next run of fixtures are against Hull, Wigan, Blackburn and Stoke.

The Hull game has now become extremely important. I'm convinced that we'll have to finish above them if we want to survive, so defeat next week may well see relegation as a certainty.

A final word on Redknapp. He was complimentary to our fans after the game and in his defence, hasn't said a bad word about Portsmouth since leaving. It's time to move on and forget about him, Defoe and co. and focus on the important thing this season and that is finishing 17th in the Premier League.

Pompey Player Ratings

David James: 5 - Didn't cover himself in glory and Redknapp will want to keep Gomes given his performance.

Steve Finnan: 6 - Solid at the back.

Marc Wilson: 5 - Inexperience showed.

Younes Kaboul: 6 - Offered more going forward than at the back.

Tal Ben-Haim: 4 - Lennon got the better of him all game.

Aaron Mokoena: 7 - Best game in a Pompey shirt to date.

Hassan Yebda: 6 - Mixed passing.

Michael Brown: 7 - Got stuck in everywhere on the pitch.

Kevin-Prince Boateng: 7 - Was a man on a mission.

Tommy Smith: 7 - Gave everything.

Aruna Dindane: 5 - Needs to sharpen up, but saw signs of promise.

Substitutes

Jamie Ashdown

Mike Williamson

Nadir Belhadj (Mokoena 78): N/A - Probably should have been introduced earlier.

John Utaka (Finnan 90): N/A - Not enough time to make an impact.

Hayden Mullins

Danny Webber

Frederic Piquionne (Smith 63): 6 - Agonisingly close to opening his account.

Portsmouth Match Reports


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