Glen Johnson and Hermann Hreidarsson capitalized on City`s poor away form to secure a much needed win which leaves City still wondering how to win away.
The game started nervously for City and within eight minutes Given was called into action. A corner for Portsmouth fell to Pennant, whose run was stopped by Zabaleta, however the ball spun to Crouch, but his shot flew straight at Given. The hosts then had another chance within a minute. Dave Nugent broke into the box and got his shot away from a tight angle but failed to hit the target.
City just didn`t seem up for the battle, although Bellamy was a persistent threat weaving in and out of the Pompey defence and generally looking lively. It was Elano who managed to get the first real shot off for City on the 21st minute. The Brazilian picked the ball up from just outside the penalty box, and he rifled the ball over the bar.
Halfway through the first half and it was still Portsmouth who looked the better. Nugent broke through again, this time having a better opportunity. His shot this time tested the Irish International Given, who managed to get his fingers to the ball and the chance was gone. Peter Crouch was also denied this time by Vincent Kompany`s challenge from inside the box. City did have a half chance afterwards when Onuoha put a header from a City free-kick straight into the arms of David James.
The Hosts then began to look nervy. With all their chances they had failed to break the deadlock, and doubt began to enter the minds of the Pompey players. City had their best chance before the break when Elano cut in from the right and fired towards goal, but yet again James saved easily. Elano then had a free-kick which was disappointing and yet again James gathered easily.
Halftime: Portsmouth 0 Manchester City 0
The second half started in the same fashion as the first. Glen Johnson had the first chance, when he managed to wriggle into enough space to drill a low shot that Given claimed comfortably. It took only till the 53rd minute for Nugent to spurn the best chance of the game. After beating the off-side trap, The Englishmen was one-on-one with Given but failed to find his shooting boots as he rolled the ball past the post.
I heard Hughes talking about Patience, but City looked content to just sit and ride their luck. City did manage another chance though when Craig Bellamy fired the ball over after a cute knock down by Stephen Ireland, But Portsmouth always looked comfortable and surely it was only a matter of time before they broke the deadlock.
In fact it only took minutes before the home side took the lead. Glen Johnson cut in from the right and breezed past Bridge, who forced Given to produce a great save, but the ball came right back to the right-back, and he simply placed the ball past the City keeper.
Surely this would bring City to life? If only! It took only 5 minutes for Portsmouth to double their lead. A corner swung in from the far side was met by the tall Hermann Hreidarsson, who powered a bullet of a header past the despairing Given.
Sub Ched Evans forced James into a world-class save at the end, but Portsmouth kept their clean sheet, and won the game. As for City fans, I`m sure there be feeling the frustration and anger I feel, when they board the bus for the long trip back home.
Final Score: Portsmouth 2 Manchester City 0.
Given – 7
Bridge had a nightmare. Somebody should tell him that strikers are the ones who dive, not full backs (3)
Onohua – 6
Kompany was halfway decent but is better suited to midfield. We need Dunney back. (6)
Logan – 4
De Jong was lost in a game where the balls were played over his head all the time. And when he got the ball he almost always passed it backwards (4)
Robinho never got going at all but was still the only person likely of finding some magic from somewhere. Hughes should not have brought him off. When he did you could see the relief in the Pompey players and they had an extra yard’s pace from then on (4)
Elano – 6 – played some good balls and along with Ireland looked our most likely source for goals. Playing with more confidence and his corners are looking better. Not enough support up front as Bellamy did nothing.
Bellamy – 4 – ineffective up there by himself most of the time, there was not enough attacking impetus from the supporting cast. One semi-decent that he blazed over. Not the thorn in the side that he could be.
Hughes – 5 (players were pathetic today and he had no idea how to respond)
Hughes – 7 (played his best team – made the right changes – players were just poor today.
Just in case anyone thinks I think he can do no wrong
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