Two upfront proves key for Pompey

Last updated : 11 March 2002 By
In September and October, Pompey started the season with two upfront and attacked non-stop resulting in fine form and good wins. Time and time again it's been proven that Pompey's best form of defence is to attack and it's frustrating to think what could of been if Rix had kept faith in his attacking philosophy and allowed his team throughout the season. Instead he has become defensive, shackled by the pressure, showing his inexperience as a manager.

Against Millwall, the confidence and the belief came flooding back. Pompey looked dangerous with Biagini and Crouch upfront, with support from O'Neil and Pitt on the wings. In defence Buxton and Primus were powerful and solid, in midfield Quashie and Derry harried and chased, providing and outlet for the defence and a base for the attack. Much talk has been about leaving Prosinecki out when he returns but this is madness. The thought of Robbie and Biagini linking up is mouthwatering and he could easily fit in the hole with either Pitt or O'Neil stepping onto the bench. As long as Pompey put the emphasis on the attack then they will be successful.

The Blue's came out of the traps at breakneck speed and were promptly two up within ten minutes. The first came from the incredible Biagini, who embarked on a mazy run before blasting a low shot into the corner. Biagini was the man on the match, constantly running and showing an uncanny knack for always being in the right place at the right time or playing a through ball that splits the defence right open - something he certainly does better than Prosinecki - he's that good. Todorov should be forgotten and Biagini signed for good.

The second goal was even better: Quashie passing the ball out to O'Neil on the edge of the area, who promptly flicked it up and then volleyed a superb dipping shot into the top corner in one swift movement. O'Neil had arguably his best game of the season but unfortuantly had to leave the field at half time due to a reoccurance of his calf injury. With the first half catching its breath, Pompey went close with two Peter Crouch headers that were saved and one rasping shot that cannoned of the post. Half time and Fratton Park was a happy place.

In the second half, Pompey continued where they left of - with the lions share of possession and a potent attacking threat. Peter Crouch missed a one on one and Biagini put Steve Lovell through twice, but the youngster managed to fall over on both occasions - is there a professional footballer who falls over more than Steve Lovell? Whenever he runs, he ends up on the floor.

Pompey made it three when Courtney Pitt opened his account for the Blue's. Another crossfield, through ball by Biagini found bit on the left wing and the winger blasted a low shot into the opposite corner - a fine goal and one that was well overdue.

One more win on Tuesday will see Pompey officially confirm their first division status and a mid-table finish will be well in their grasp - something that Rix promised and the majority of fans would of taken in August.