Pompey Face Ricoh Replay

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 02 January 2010
Pompey fans left Fratton Park frustrated once again after being held to a 1-1 draw by Coventry City.

I'll get straight to the point. Coventry were poor and had they been playing a decent Premier League side today then they'd have been thrashed. But Pompey are not a team that represent top flight quality at the moment, especially when our midfielders constantly give the ball away.

Selecting three defensive midfielders against a side a division below you is bad enough but when the trio of Hughes, Diop and Brown in particular aren't doing what they were put on the field to do (i.e: tackle and pass the ball to someone in a blue shirt) then we've got problems.

Our lack of firepower is a worry too. Piquionne works hard but he faded as the game went on whilst Tommy Smith did nothing to suggest that he should start against Fulham next week.

Of course, it could have been worse after David Bell's screamer gave Chris Coleman's side the lead. That was hard to take given that we had started the better and that had been Coventry's only meaningful attempt of the game.

The crowd were getting frustrated as Cov 'keeper Keiren Westwood was equal to the rare attempts on his goal but Pompey grabbed an equaliser right before half-time when Boateng headed in Hughes' cross.

Westwood was replaced by Dimi Konstantopoulos, the goalkeeper who featured in the Swansea side who knocked Pompey out of the cup last year. Once again he produced a fine string of saves to irritate the home fans, especially late on to thwart Smith and Utaka.

I'm disappointed that we couldn't finish Coventry off given how bad they were but with a midfield that created little and strikers who don't score many goals, you can see why we struggled and I fear for us at Craven Cottage next week.

After that, Pompey will face a replay at Coventry's Ricoh Arena on either the 12th or 13th of January and the Sky Blues will fancy their chances.

In an additional note, Peter Storrie has revealed that the players will be paid on Monday or Tuesday if the board can secure a short-term loan. That's not going to ease supporters fears and some made their voices heard outside the Fratton Park entrance after the game.

The board may not have been listening but Avram Grant certainly was, as he said he could only share the frustrations of the supporters who deserve better than what we're currently getting.

Pompey Player Ratings

Asmir Begovic: 6 - A tad unlucky with the goal after getting his hand to the ball, but not much to do after that.

Steve Finnan: 6 - Solid enough.

Marc Wilson: 6 - Steady showing.

Younes Kaboul: 6 - Kept the pressure on.

Hermann Hreidarsson: 5 - Struggled.

Kevin-Prince Boateng: 7 - The only real quality player in the Pompey side.

Michael Brown: 4 - Constantly gave the ball away.

Papa Bouba Diop: 5 - Not up to scratch.

Richard Hughes: 6 - Battled hard.

Tommy Smith: 5 - Didn't justify Grant's decision to start him.

Frederic Piquionne: 6 - Worked hard as usual.

Substitutes

Jamie Ashdown

Mike Williamson

Anthony Vanden Borre

Angelos Basinas

Hayden Mullins (Hughes 57): 5 - Didn't do anything different.

John Utaka (Diop 71): N/A - Almost got a goal late on.

Danny Webber (Piquionne 80): N/A - Barely touched the ball.

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