Pompey Begin 2011 With Heavy Defeat
A threadbare Pompey side was missing Michael Brown and Richard Hughes due to contract issues whilst Dave Kitson was suspended. Liam Lawrence also missed out because although his permanent signing was confirmed, he was not registered in time for yesterday's deadline.
Jamie Ashdown and Joel Ward managed to recover in time to play the match, but it had no baring on the result as Malky Mackay's side were comfortable winners in the end.
A poor first half was brought to life by Andrew Taylor's first career goal, an unstoppable left foot volley into the top corner of the net that Ashdown could do nothing about. Until that point, Pompey had defended stoutly but never really threatened the Watford goal.
In the last few games, Pompey have performed much better in the second half but that didn't happen in this game.
Nadir Ciftci gave the ball away as Portsmouth pressed forward and so were caught on the counter-attack. Danny Graham threaded the ball through the sleeping Pompey centre backs for Marvin Sordell who slotted past Ashdown to double the Hornets' lead.
The game was over when once again Pompey were caught on the break after Kanu gave the ball away and Jordan Mutch sent Graham in on goal, with the prolific striker making no mistake in putting the ball in the back of the net.
Pompey's only good chance of the whole game came when Nugent headed Halford's cross straight at 'keeper Scott Loach but this was one of those games where you just had to grit your teeth and see it through to the end as the Watford fans began the olé chants.
All that we could hope for is that Pompey would get through the match with all eleven men on the pitch but even that didn't happen after Halford was shown a straight red card in stoppage time for stupidly putting his face aggressively into Andrew Taylor's.
This was one of those games you simply want to forget as soon as possible. The players looked tired, Nugent was starved of service, Kanu was ineffective playing just behind him whilst Utaka and Ciftci couldn't make an impact on the wings.
Once again, the defensive frailties were there to see as Mokoena and Sonko were exposed for their lack of pace whilst Dickinson struggled to cope with the lively Will Buckley.
Still, there isn't long to wait before Pompey can put things right as Hull visit Fratton Park with Kitson and Lawrence returning to the side.
As for this match, I hope Mr. Chainrai was watching and realises just how farcical the squad situation at his club has become.
Pompey Player Ratings
Jamie Ashdown: 6 - Exposed by his poor defence.
Greg Halford: 4 - Ridiculous red card.
Aaron Mokoena: 5 - Lack of pace highlighted by Watford forwards.
Ibrahima Sonko: 5 - Caught out on more than one occasion.
Carl Dickinson: 5 - Struggled at times.
Nadir Ciftci: 4 - Poor showing.
Hayden Mullins: 6 - Average.
Joel Ward: 5 - Plays better out wide.
John Utaka: 4 - Worst performance for a while.
Kanu: 5 - Didn't keep possession well enough.
David Nugent: 5 - No service whatsoever.
Hermann Hreidarsson (Sonko 85): N/A - Given a late runout.
Tom Kilbey (Ciftci 60): 6 - Did OK on his debut.