I'd be happy with a point today. Even though we finally laid to rest the Portsmouth hoodoo at the end of last season, we'll find them much more of a handful than some of the more workmanlike sides we've faced recently. I was impressed with Wright's performance on Wednesday and he looks like a good asset and I think we'll see Scowen and Lafferty on as well today in the later stages. Portsmouth have won their last three and have got plenty of goals. I was talking about the match with a mate yesterday and we agreed 0-0 would be better than 1-1 so we could make it five clean sheets in a row but I can't really see it being goalless. I'll be watching the game in a town centre hostelry and it should be a hoot and a holler. Match prediction: 1-1.
I arrived at the pub about 2.15 and got a good seat in front of a small screen. Our starting line-up was unchanged from Tranmere but new boy Semenyo was on the bench as was Watmore. The pitch was looking beautiful and that was something at least. We won two corners in succession after two minutes so it was a positive start. While I was at the bar I saw we'd had a good attack that forced Bass in goal into a save but when I got back to my seat, my mates couldn't tell me who it was because the picture was so fuzzy. The internet told us it was Wyke. In the fourteenth minute O'Nien hit a great long-distance shot that came back off their left post and resulted in another corner. We definitely had them rattled though they'd shown that they were dangerous on the break. In the twenty-fifth minute Pompey took the lead with a Burgess header following a free-kick from the right angle of our box. Our heads didn't go down and we kept at it, winning several more corners. Three minutes before the break McLaughlin made a great save to keep us in it after Portsmouth had cut through the right side of our defence. Next thing there was some real argy-bargy going on around the half-way line that was largely missed by the camera following a foul on Wyke in their box. There were four minutes of stoppage-time but it remained 0-1 at the break. All in all it'd been a good performance but we'd been undone by a set-piece. Early changes seemed likely in the second-half.
As we kicked off again Lafferty was on for Wyke. We were soon two-down and it was from another set-piece with Bolton hitting in a corner from close range. Portsmouth had taken their chances but we hadn't. We were really under the cosh and following a point blank save from McLaughlin Portsmouth had two other very good chances in quick succession. One of my mates had predicted 4-0 win before the game and it was looking as if it might be 4-0 to Portsmouth. Around the hour-mark my mate summed things up with, “They've fuckin' gone all to pot.” With twenty minutes to go Semenyo and Watmore replaced Hume and Maguire so we hoped for some improvement. Ten minutes later McLaughlin collided with Lynch and the latter was badly injured necessitating a very long stoppage. As they carried him off Lynch looked in a very bad state indeed so let's hope he recovers soon. So, we were down to ten men with quite a long way to go. Semenyo was yellow-carded for an obvious foul, on his debut. The top of the screen was partially occluded so we couldn't see how much stoppage-time there was, three or nine minutes, but I hoped there wasn't too much as I couldn't see us getting a goal while Portsmouth might well get another.
It ended 0-2 and it could've been worse.
After looking classy for much of the first-half we completely lost it in the second. A day to forget.