Sunk

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 25 October 2006
Pompey were knocked out of the Carling Cup tonight as they went down 3-0 to Newcastle in what can only be described as "Farcical Football" in terrible conditions at St James' Park.

I'm sure most of you will remember that Leicester game in Division One a few seasons ago where the away side won 2-0. According to the radio commentary the conditions tonight were even worse than that game against the Foxes. The referee considered calling the game off but alas it went ahead and you knew from the first whistle we were going to lose as we never ever win in the rain!

LuaLua should have put Pompey ahead after going one-on-one with Steve Harper but an awful first touch gifted the ball straight to the Newcastle 'keeper. It was goaless at half time but the home side adapted to the awful conditions after the break and Giuseppe Rossi scored after three minutes of the second half. Nobby Solano then doubled the lead with a header and the game was virtually over albeit against a weakened Pompey side.

Pompey looked to have scored late on but Linvoy Primus was judged to be offside after Pamarot's goalbound header and then Newcastle rubbed salt into the wounds as Solano scored in the dying minutes of the game although he didn't know anything about it. That was it for Pompey who once again have fallen foul of bad luck this season.

Key players such as Sol Campbell, Glen Johnson, Pedro Mendes, Gary O'Neil, Benjani and Kanu were left out to give Noe Pamarot, Andy O'Brien, Niko Kranjcar and Lomana LuaLua rare starts. I would expect the former players to return to the side for the game against Reading on Saturday and victory against the Royals would probably see this joke of a match forgotten.

I cannot judge the players who played tonight in those conditions and it's clear that Harry wasn't taking this cup too seriously because his team selection and the likes of Hughes, Douala and Koroman coming on as sub would tell you that the Pompey manager wanted to assess his squad but there was no chance he could in what was basically a water polo match.

It's a shame that he didn't see this cup as a chance of some silverware and go all out for the win but I can understand that he'd want to save his best players and get 40 points on the board as soon as possible. The bottom line is that Pompey fans will not be visiting the Millenium Stadium to watch their team in a cup final now.

Still, it could be worse. We could have lost to the Magpies that play in League Two!

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 21st October 15:00

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