Pompey Draw Blank With Hammers

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 16 November 2008
Pompey lost their 100% record at Upton Park following a goalless draw with West Ham although could have won if it wasn't for Robert Green.

Jermain Defoe had numerous opportunities to score but every time was denied by the West Ham stopper. The Hammers may have stolen an undeserved victory if Craig Bellamy's free kick had been slightly lower and not rattled the crossbar.

I admit that I was expecting a penalty to the home side as the fans screamed "'AAAAAAANDBAAAALLLLLL!!!" early on in the game as Sylvain Distin looked to have handled the ball in the box but having seen the replay today it seems like the ball bounced off his knee and then onto his arm, so it would have been harsh.

But apart from that scare and Bellamy's free kick the home side offered nothing as their passes went astray and they look bereft of any ideas. The Pompey defence dealt with everything the Irons had to throw at us with Distin and Kaboul almost impervious at centre back.

It's just a shame that we couldn't find the net against a team who haven't kept a clean sheet since February although to not near the opposition fans cheering for the first time since Villa Park was very welcome.

I suppose a draw isn't the worst result in the world considering Diarra trudged off the pitch with injury early on and Kranjcar missed the game altogether with an ankle injury.

Tony Adams did well to get his troops reorganised by bringing on Armand Traore and moving Nadir Belhadj to the other flank. Bringing on Kanu was also a good idea as he offered something different to Crouch and put Defoe through for his last duel with Robert Green.

There were a few fans having a go at Crouch for being anonymous again but when your centre midfield contains the super-creative duo of Sean Davis and Papa Bouba Diop it's difficult to get the ball to his feet where he is most effective. Not that I'm criticising either of them too much, Davis especially who probably had his best game in a Pompey shirt so far this season.

Having said that, his replacement in Kanu managed to do more in 15 minutes than what Crouch did in 75. The Nigerian held off the challenges of the West Ham players better and created a great chance for Defoe as mentioned earlier. Perhaps he should play a bigger role in our season?

We haven't moved up the table despite that draw as Everton and Middlesbrough also drew today with ex-Pompey players Gary O'Neil and Yakubu scoring.

After two tricky away games we now have two home matches against Hull and Blackburn so if we can get six points from those two games then we're laughing. If not, we're facing a nervous festive period in what has been a rollercoaster season already.

Pompey Player Ratings

David James: 6 - Nothing to do.

Glen Johnson: 7 - Impressive going forward and at the back.

Younes Kaboul: 8 - Dominant in the air and quick on the ground - just what we need.

Sylvain Distin: 8 - Dependable and impressive.

Noe Pamarot: 6 - Solid enough.

Papa Bouba Diop: 6 - Not too bad when moved into the centre.

Lassana Diarra: N/A - Impressive until forced off with injury.

Sean Davis: 8 - Worked extremely hard.

Nadir Belhadj: 6 - Less effective when moved to the right to accommodate Traore but still did well.

Jermain Defoe: 6 - Lively but should have scored.

Peter Crouch: 5 - Had no influence.

Substitutes

Jamie Ashdown

Hermann Hriedarsson

Armand Traore (Diarra 19): 6 - Offered pace on the left but still looks raw.

Richard Hughes

Arnold Mvuemba

David Nugent

Kanu (Crouch 75): 6 - Offered more than Crouch despite little time to make an impact.

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