Pompey Shoot Down Hornets At Fort Fratton

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 02 January 2012

Second half goals from Marko Futacs and Hayden Mullins saw Pompey ease to a comfortable win over Watford and leapfrog them in the table.

The Blues were dominant for large periods of the game although Watford started off the better as they won a corner in the first minute and a dangerous cross was left by Mokoena who was unaware that Troy Deeney was extremely close to turning it in.

But Pompey responded to that by piling the pressure on and winning many corners and forcing Scott Loach into a good save or two.

The match then lulled for a period with both sides struggling to create anything and the crowd beginning to lose interest in the game.

But they soon woke up when Pompey again laid siege to Watford's goal as David Norris' shot was deflected wide and Dave Kitson's strike was turned around the post by Loach.

Loach then denied Kitson again when he tipped his effort over the bar but the visitors almost stole the lead right before the break with a Watford strike being deflected narrowly wide.

The second half followed a similar pattern but Pompey upped their game and played some of their best football of the season.

Kitson had the first chance as he headed Joe Mattock's cross over the bar and then Loach produced a magnificent save to get his fingertips on Liam Lawrence's swinging strike.

It looked like the home crowd would be frustrated by the Watford keeper but the deadlock was broken when Lawrence's quick short corner resulted in Norris crossing for Futacs who headed the ball into the net.

Suddenly, Pompey's players were brimming with confidence and passing the ball with a swagger. Mattock then ran towards the Watford goal and struck a fierce shot that Loach could only parry into the path of Lawrence who headed the rebound in.

Unfortunately, he was adjudged to have been offside when he was clearly onside and the goal didn't stand, although that didn't stop the tannoy announcer from announcing that Pompey had scored!

The Hornets were then reduced to ten men as Loach, who had been immense in the Watford goal, charged out of his box and fouled Futacs. Referee Iain Williamson decided that it was worthy of a straight red card and so the keeper was sent off, with Jonathan Bond replacing him.

And just minutes later he was beaten when Hayden Mullins after he miscued his original shot to set himself up for a better opportunity to score and he did that by drilling the ball into the bottom corner.

There might have been more goals in the six minutes of stoppage time as Futacs hit the side netting and then hit a thunderous strike that crashed off the crossbar, but it didn't matter as Pompey won the game comfortably.

This is an extremely important three points for us as it now sees Portsmouth in 17th place, seven points clear of the bottom three and with a game in hand.

This was arguably our best performance of the season. It has been a while since I have seen such a dominant performance from a Pompey team.

It was great to see some quality football being played at Fratton Park again. There was a nice little move midway through the second half which saw Huseklepp backheel the ball to Kitson who produced a neat pass to Lawrence, who unfortunately couldn't finish the move.

The quick thinking from Kitson to take the free kick quickly and win the corner (which was also taken quickly) also showed that Pompey are capable of playing attacking football rather than sitting back and trying to hit teams on the break.

It's now 12 days until our next league game against West Ham and you would think that the team would have a different look to the one that played today.

We can only hope Joe Mattock's loan will be extended and I don't believe Tal Ben-Haim will be here much longer. Who knows who else might be poached or if 'Appy will be able to add to his squad?

For now, we can reflect on a very good performance that we can take into our FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge next Sunday!

Pompey Player Ratings

Stephen Henderson: 6 - Strangely awarded the official "man of the match" award despite not having much to do.

Tal Ben-Haim: 6 - Solid on his return to the side.

Aaron Mokoena: 6 - Might have been punished for early error but was fine otherwise.

Jason Pearce: 7 - Some excellent challenges.

Joe Mattock: 7 - Best performance for us, hope we can hold on to him.

Liam Lawrence: 7 - Getting better.

Hayden Mullins: 8 - Goal capped arguably his best performance of the season.

David Norris: 7 - Worked hard as usual.

Erik Huseklepp: 7 - Posed the Watford defence plenty of problems.

Dave Kitson: 8 - Seems to have found his perfect position, he just needs to start scoring,

Marko Futacs: 8 - Continues to impress. Looks a genuine threat and is able to see a pass when holding the ball up.


Jamie Ashdown

Hermann Hreidarsson

Ryan Williams



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