Pompey Earn Palace Point

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 02 November 2011

Pompey stopped the rot of away defeats last night with a well earned goalless draw with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, although it may well have been a victory.

The Portsmouth defence that was so lacklustre at Derby on Saturday stepped up to blunt an Eagles attack that barely troubled Stephen Henderson all game.

There was more fight and desire in what was a scrappy affair at times with both teams guilty of giving the ball away. The hosts had the first real chance of the game when Rocha made a last-ditch tackle in a goalmouth scramble, but that was the closest they came to scoring during the entire match.

The rest of the action was at the other end of the pitch with Liam Lawrence heading over Tal Ben-Haim's cross before Lawrence produced a cross of his own later on that Jason Pearce connected with, only for the ball to hit the woodwork.

Luke Varney also had a golden opportunity to get a shot at goal when Lawrence played him through but unfortuantely the Pompey striker's first touch let him down and the ball was gathered by Julian Speroni.

The second half saw Pompey create more chances with Joel Ward, playing at left midfield, struck a shot that Speroni had to tip over the bar.

The game then descended into an attritional affair that saw bookings for both sides until Ward tested Speroni again with a shot that surprised the Palace 'keeper who could only see the ball ricochet off his arms, though unfortunately nobody in a black shirt was there to tap in the rebound.

Varney then should have done better when he was presented with the chance to lob Speroni who had come far off his line, but instead he opted to shoot straight at the Argentine.

Some dogged Pompey defending in stoppage time ensured that the visitors would leave Selhurst Park with a point but Dave Kitson really should have made it three but he headed substitute Huseklepp's cross over the bar when he really should have hit the target.

Therefore, Portsmouth fans had to settle for a draw in a tight, scrappy affair that our team probably should have won in truth.

However, after the Derby debacle we can take pride in the defensive performance that saw Rocha back to his usual self and even Mokoena did a job at right back.

Praise should also go to Ward who produced his best performance of the season in midfield, which suggests that is where his future may be after all.

It is expected that there will be a new manager in place by the time Pompey take on their old manager on Saturday. Who it'll be is still not certain as although it seemed Sean O'Driscoll was going to take the job, the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rumours persist.

Pompey Player Ratings

Stephen Henderson: 6 - Nothing to do.

Aaron Mokoena: 6 - Parr gave him trouble but he did a job.

Ricardo Rocha: 8 - Back to his usual self.

Jason Pearce: 8 - Won nearly everything and almost scored.

Tal Ben-Haim: 7 - Massive improvement on Saturday.

Liam Lawrence: 6 - Produced some good balls but still lacks pace.

Hayden Mullins: 6 - Did his usual job.

David Norris: 5 - Didn't see much of him.

Joel Ward: 7 - Put in an excellent shift and was a goal threat.

Dave Kitson: 6 - Worked hard but should have scored.

Luke Varney: 6 - Wasted a couple of excellent opportunities in otherwise bright performance.

Substitutes

Jamie Ashdown

Bjorn-Helge Riise

Abdul Razak

Erik Huseklepp (Lawrence 84): N/A - Injected some much needed pace late on.

Kanu

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 18th November 15:00

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