The Fat Lady Sings
By Jim Bonner
Updated Tuesday, 10th April 2012
Portsmouth 0 Millwall 1
Portsmouth are now all but relegated to League One after a 1-0 home defeat to Millwall courtesy of Harry Kane's first half goal.
The same side that earned that dramatic 2-2 draw at Southampton had played some excellent football in the first half only to fall apart when they went behind.
Despite some of the attractive passing, there was little penetration and the only real chances of note came for Chris Maguire early on when he tested Maik Taylor with a fierce strike.
Shane Lowry came closest to breaking the deadlock for Pompey as he headed Joel Ward's long cross over the bar at the far post when it easily could have gone in.
Pompey were comfortable in possession and looked like the only team in it until Millwall struck after 37 minutes. Harry Kane managed to beat Ricardo Rocha and make some space for himself before firing the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Things went awry after that and Pompey couldn't find any tempo to their game and even when Marko Futacs was introduced for the injured Rocha, the pattern of the match didn't change.
There were far too many hopeless long balls in the second half whilst simple passes were going astray. Andy Keogh should have scored another for the Lions but decided to dither and give the Pompey players time to get back.
Not that it mattered as the hosts created little in a frustrating second half with Taylor only being worked by Futacs' volley which he really should have done better with and a header from Luke Varney.
Jack Smith took David Norris out in the box late on but Mark Halsey waved away the penalty appeals to highlight what was a dreadful night for Portsmouth.
The final whistle blew and Halsey effectively called time on Pompey's survival hopes. I call myself an optimist but even I am planning my trips to Yeovil and Hartlepool next season.
It's more likely that Saints will win the Premier League next season than us survive in the Championship this season. In fact, should we lose to Doncaster and Bristol City get a result at Birmingham or if we can only draw and the Robins take all three points at St. Andrew's then our relegation will be confirmed.
But that isn't our biggest concern. League One football is the best case scenario for us come August but there is still the very real threat of Portsmouth Football Club being liquidated in the summer.
Over to you, Mr. Birch.
Pompey Player Ratings
Jamie Ashdown: 6 - Solid enough, didn't have any real chance with the goal.
Joel Ward: 5 - Kept lumping the ball to nobody.
Ricardo Rocha: 5 - Off with an injury but got beaten for the goal.
Jason Pearce: 6 - A couple of timely interceptions.
Karim Rekik: 6 - Clearly has the ability but needs to toughen up.
Greg Halford: 5 - Barely saw him in the second half.
Scott Allan: 5 - Frustrating performance after a fine start.
Kelvin Etuhu: 5 - Looked out of place.
David Norris: 5 - No impact unlike Saturday.
Luke Varney: 5 - Lacklustre once again.
Chris Maguire: 6 - Looked like he might do something.
Marko Futacs (Rocha 45): 5 - Not very effective.
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