Pompey Held On The Seaside
By Jim Bonner
Updated Saturday, 11th February 2012
Blackpool 1 Portsmouth 1
Stephen Crainey's free kick denied Portsmouth a precious win at Bloomfield Road after Erik Huseklepp scored right before half-time in a 1-1 draw.
Like the Birmingham match before it, Pompey started the game slowly as the defenders had to dig deep to withstand some early Blackpool pressure, with Lomana LuaLua proving to be a thorn in the side against his former club.
But the visitors grew into the match after LuaLua had his free kick goal disallowed as Chris Basham was stood in an offside position, blocking Stephen Henderson's view.
Marko Futacs had Pompey's first real attempt at goal after he was found in the box by Liam Lawrence's chipped pass but the angle was too tight and the Hungarian could only shoot across goal.
Erik Huseklepp may have created a couple of chances in the half if it wasn't for his poor touch or an overhit cross that Joel Ward was waiting to head in.
He then had a great chance to open the scoring when sent through on goal but he could only shoot straight at Matt Gilks.
However, the Norwegian got on the scoresheet just before the break after some good work from Kelvin Etuhu led to Futacs striking a tame ball to Huseklepp who turned and fired the ball past Gilks.
The second half began with Huseklepp being sent through on goal by Futacs but his first touch was once again too heavy and Gilks gathered.
Pompey's number nine then struck the post with a fierce shot before Huseklepp again wasted a brilliant chance when he was free down the wing and had three players in the box to square the ball to, but he chose to shoot and sent the ball wide.
The former Bari man then had yet another shot but Gilks saved and you got a feeling that Pompey would pay for their missed chances, and they did.
Greg Halford gave away a free kick 20 yards from goal and ex-Southampton man Stephen Crainey bent the ball into the top corner, giving Stephen Henderson no chance.
The Pompey goalkeeper then produced a good one-handed save to stop Ludovic Sylvestre's shot from finding the bottom corner of the net and preserve a precious point in the North-West.
Whilst a draw is a perfectly acceptable result, I can't help but feel disappointed that it wasn't three. The Pompey defence dug deep and limited Blackpool to potshots that never troubled Henderson.
If Huseklepp hadn't been so wasteful we'd certainly be talking about Pompey's first double over Blackpool since 1933 and Ian Holloway would have even more cause to moan about the fouls on LuaLua before Pompey broke away and scored their goal.
So, if the club were to go into administration before Tuesday then it would still be outside the bottom three on goal difference. You would have to believe that Pompey would be able to survive the drop from that position.
Finally, a big shout out to our fans who made the journey to Bloomfield Road today. The players have acknowledged the support and it was superb from start to finish.
Let's hope that continues when Ipswich come to Fratton Park on Tuesday.
Pompey Player Ratings
Stephen Henderson: 6 - One great save late on but nothing else to do.
Tal Ben-Haim: 6 - Solid showing.
Jason Pearce: 7 - Dug in deep.
Ricardo Rocha: 7 - Some great challenges.
Greg Halford: 6 - Gave away foul that led to goal but can't be faulted otherwise.
Kelvin Etuhu: 6 - Not at his best but still played a part.
Hayden Mullins: 7 - Did his job effectively.
Liam Lawrence: 7 - Provided some creativity to the midfield but did the donkey work too.
Joel Ward: 6 - Worked hard.
Erik Huseklepp: 6 - May have scored but wasted many glorious chances.
Marko Futacs: 6 - Always a threat.
Dave Kitson (Futacs 79): N/A - No impact.