Long time coming
27th October 2007
So another away day and another bubble of hope and optimism burst in Berkshire. Whilst Citeh was a no-contest as a loss, once Taylor had worn ice skates rather than boots, I still feel it`s been 8 potential points lost against Derby, Boro and Reading, all due to our total inability to defend the long ball on the road. For Kenny Miller and Julio Arca read Shane Long and Dave Kitson. Long balls, hoofs and tidy finishes off knock downs and second balls. Bollocks.
Quite why Sam decided to tear up the team sheet and stick four central midfielders in place rather than two hard working wingers, one of which has substantial experience at left back already this season, in order to counter a team`s threat who have been conceding goals by the bucketful remains a mystery to me. Zog is in the top 7 players for the Premier League in terms of assists and goals and probably the best in his position at the moment. Milner has been working hard on his game and gives 100% in every way. He also scored last time out.
On the other hand Emre had a great game against Spurs in the middle of the park and ended up plonked on the left, a position I`ve not seen him have a good game in whilst wearing black and white. Geremi continues to plod on ineffectively, knowing he`s undroppable due to a misplaced captaincy notion. Barton, whilst spot on in attitude and application, is clearly not fit yet. Butt remains a banker for me in the middle of the park, so no qualms there.
All week we`ve been subjected to 'lets not concede` talk from St James. However, just like Derby, the notion seems to be to go for the 0-0. Compare this to the ultra-positive line up the Royals put out, with Hunt, Kitson, Lita and Doyle all starting.
It was a typically shite Premier League game when all is said and done. Cacapa nearly bagged himself an o.g. by slipping the ball past Shay, forcing the Irishman to scamper back and hammer clear. Lita missed a couple of sitters whilst Owen miscontrolled our best effort. That is all.
Second half and Kitson whalloped home a cracker. Reading won the second ball at least three or four times in the build up to the goal and the ball eventually fell to the lanky ginger one to curl home into the top corner. Bugga.
However the ever faithful Doobs managed to bundle home an Emre corner for his second goal against us, though it was slightly less spectacular then his headed special for Leeds against us. 6 minutes later though and it all goes Pete Tong again, Shane Long stealing in as sub and stabbing home with just over five minutes to go. Again the long ball from a free kick in Reading`s own half was piss-poorly defended and they won the second ball. I see a recurring theme here…
Overall then - this makes Pompey a must win next Saturday if we have any pretensions of getting back into Europe. Blackburn seem to be winning at will, Everton popped up with another great result and Pompey lie a place above us. We`ve done Everton already and it would be another welcome morale booster to pick up the points against Harry Redknapp`s surprisingly efficient side. If not and we can start gnawing fingernails ahead of tackling the Big Four in the run up to Xmas. And the mackems in 11 days. Gulp.