Pompey fell the Reds on the road..

An Ando diving header was a mere consolation..

Portsmouth – 2
Nottingham Forest 1

A frustrating afternoon for the Reds saw their mini-run of two wins halted, and our hosts to continue their recent good form with their fourth consecutive win.  It pops us back down to 13th in the table, albeit still only three points off the playoffs – it’s still as tight as a gnat’s chuff in the middle of the Championship.

Surprisingly, given some of the players available to him, Billy opted to make no changes at all to the side that defeated Ipswich at the weekend, although with a slight tweak to the formation in a slightly more defensive look – with a bench positively bristling with attacking options…

Chambers    Morgan    Wilson    Gunter
Anderson    Cohen    Majewski     McGugan

As ever with our ‘fluid’ (or disorganised?) midfield, you can interchange almost any of the players over the course of the game as ever!

The Reds had a good start to the game – and the first chance fell to the man in form McGugan after a defence-splitting ball from Majewski.  Even after his first opportunity was blocked by Ashdown, the rebound fell again to Lewis who this time met no player-based obstacle but wasn’t able to hit the target, putting the ball into the side-netting instead.

Portsmouth looked dangerous on the break, a long throw from Halford went right across our six yard box, which could’ve been messy – Mullins also should’ve done better when shooting from inside the box but he only managed to put the ball over.  Despite the Reds having the better of the play early doors, it was the home side that took the lead.

One chance won the home side a corner, which was taken by Liam Lawrence (why on Earth we didn’t go for a player of his calibre on loan I’ll always struggle to understand) and found Ibrahima Sonko who should have been more effectively marked – his header went flying past the goalline-bound Lee Camp giving the increasingly-bearded ‘keeper no chance.

The Reds showed some good resolve though, and it wasn’t long before they had fashioned an equaliser.  Chambers brought the ball forward and found McGugan – he took the ball on and played an excellent cross into the box which found Paul Anderson, of all people, bursting into the box to connect with the ball with a full-length diving header.  An excellent finish and a well-deserved equaliser.

A further chance for Forest saw Chris Cohen square the ball to Lewis from eight yards out, but the midfielder totally mis-kicked – continuing to defy his recent form!  Despite some nice passing moves, often (how many times do I write this?) the final ball and/or finish was missing – which was precisely where Portsmouth threatened to hurt us.

The half finished with some concerted pressure and a series of corners from the home side which ultimately came to nothing.  On balance the Reds had just about edged it, but as ever succumbed to some lax defending which Portsmouth were able to punish with relative ease.  Frustrating, and not exactly a new thing this season!

Pompey started the second half in much more lively fashion – on-form David Nugent was very close to putting his side into the lead with a curling dipping effort which had Lee Camp backpedalling but fortunately for us was just over the bar.  Utaka was causing problems with his pace too, being reasonably marshalled by Wilson.

Fourteen minutes into the half Billy withdrew Majewski and put Dele Adebola on, which didn’t really alter the pressure that Portsmouth were exerting, which culiminated in efforts from Lawrence cleared by Wilson, and Camp again backpedalling from a Nugent attempt to concede a corner.  The warnings weren’t heeded though, and Sonko returned the earlier favour with a cross to Lawrence who smashed it into the net from inside the area.

Billy responded by chucking on Earnie for McGoldrick, and the Reds did start to look a little more positive – a cross from Chambers found a diving header from Cohen which ended up just wide of the goal – it was a brief respite, with Mokoena feeding the ball through to Utaka, Camp quick off his line this time to save with his legs.

Dex was our final substitute who received a fairly tense reception from the home fans due to his Southampton connections – he replaced Anderson with around thirteen minutes left on the clock.  He nearly made himself more unpopular too, a decent cross from Gunter finding him in the box, and his effort brought a reasonably routine save from Ashdown.

On the break again Nugent was denied by Lee Camp, McKenna had made a mistake to lose possession which saw the home side break very quickly culminating in Nugent’s effort saved by Camp diving low to his right.  At the other end Chambers should have equalised for the Reds with a free header from 12 yards from a Cohen freekick, but he put it wide.

At the death even Campy was joining the Forest attack when we’d been awarded a free-kick, ultimately it came to nothing which saw him legging it back as Pompey threatened to break forward, the final whistle preventing what could probably have been the killer blow.

All in all, a disappointing result – although Portsmouth had chances to stretch the scoreline, we too missed chances.  On balance of play it’s hard to begrudge them the win (moral and financial conduct aside of course).  The response of the 2,300 Forest fans who’d made the long trip was positive, and the players seemed to appreciate it.

16 Responses

  1. Told you should’ve played Chambo at CB…

    Facts speak for themselves this season, we’ve been much more solid with him and Wes back there.

    • I remain wholly unconvinced of that, I’m afraid! The one thing Chambers does offer above and beyond our other defenders is a goal threat from set pieces.. he fluffed his lines on that today though, as he has a few times this season 😦

      • Three quarters of all our clean sheets this season have came with Wes and Luke together!

        • It’s a good stat, but you have to factor in the calibre of opponents too.

          I think our defence has looked less solid with Chambers in from my own observations..

          Just my opinion, though! We miss Wilson’s composure and pace when he’s not there – Wes and Luke are too similar in style to be effective together, in my view.

          • Whatever he is, he’s certainly not a left back. What on earth he was doing there with Bertrand on the bench, god only knows. Scarily often caught out of position when he plays RB as well.

            Gunter – Morgan – Wilson – Bertrand for me, preferably.

  2. Excellent report as always nffc. Personally I think a draw would have been a fair result. Some of our approach play during the 1st half was exciting to watch and deserved better finishing. Great header by Anderson and I cannot fault the effort of any of the team today. Such a shame that we started poorly in the second half and allowed Pompey to run at us. Despite the result I don’t believe they are a better team than us.
    Tremendous support again by the travelling Reds. You really are a credit to the club.
    As my name suggests I live locally so (dare I say it) this game is as big as D**by for me and my sons. We are not looking forward to the stick we are going to get over the next few days!

  3. all in all, a pretty fair description of the game. from where i sat you guys looked good and the best side, and fans, that have been to fratton park this season. your left-sided midfielder was particularly good.
    you mention moral and financial conduct… well, spare a thought of us fans who have had to endure some awful times recently. all we ever did was pay our entrance fees and travel expenses only to see our beloved club dragged through every kind of situation.
    i’ve a feeling we’ll meet again in the play offs. play up pompey.

  4. Good comment jim and cheers for coming on a reds site your comments are spot on.Your club has been through a mare and badly mismanaged just like we were 3 or 4 seasons ago..

    However imagine how we felt ending up in leage 1 for 3 seasons with our history and European triumphs.Pompey will do well this season too much quality in the side.

    We are a work in progress and need 3 to 5 experienced players or we are going now where fast..

    I agree with NFFC regards chambers he is a weak link at right back and always exploited by other teams.In the middle he is better but a fit motivated wilson is a far better option any day.

    U reds

  5. Undoubtedly agree with NFFC about Chambers; he’s a real 100%’er & a committed professional but he’s always got a mistake in him I’m afraid. Although Wilson more languid and relaxed he’s quite simply a better central defender.
    As per usual Billy’s calling it right at the minute as we’re just too inconsistent & inexperienced in seeing out matches. Lawrence/Bellamy/Kitson just goes to show you how a good signing can transform your team and provide fresh impetus. However, if we can hang in around the top ten until christmas I’m a bit more postive Billy’s going to be backed in the window (I know we’ve heard it all before…) due to some postive comments coming from him & ND. Whereas we fell short in the ‘run-in’ last season, I think next year this will be the period where we kick on and move up the table, or am I just blind in my faith!! So hang in there Reds fans & keep believing!!!

  6. pompey aways was always going to be tough. the fact that we gave them a game and we went with an attacking team is good news. we need to just keep pushing on now and forget about this result. with earnie back we can then really see the impact of raddy / mcgugan and earnie in the same team. so roll on watford away with confidence……

    • Yeah, they got murdered 4-1 by the Sheep. Shouldn’t be that good… lol

    • Yeah, they got murdered 4-1 by the Sheep. Having seen the game, I wouldn’t rate them too much (the Hornets I mean, but neither would I the mutton molesters lol).

  7. You sure vassilis ?? our record at Watford is terrible they play direct and the pitch is a shocker so as wee billy was pointing out we will have to be physical.

    I would snap your arm off for a draw

    U reds

  8. Glasgow Celtic FC have once again shown there true colours. The club has banned the sale of poppies on their premises. Apparently the poppy is offensive to the clubs Irish fan base. Like/Post this status so the whole country is aware of the disgraceful behaviour of this football club. LEST WE FORGET

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