COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY
Last game of the season that was strangled at birth saw us produce a goal of immense proportion at the death. With results from elsewhere reinforcing the view that we have had a season that produced a disastrous start that some attached the dreaded ‘R’ word to and ended in what evoked thoughts of ‘Couda, Shouda but Didnae.
The game started in fine fashion for the Blues and within the first 10mins we had at least 5 chances to take the lead and leave Pompey and their ardent fans, some in fancy dress, with the prospect of a drubbing. First Hibbert burst through but Rocha turned the ball behind then Arteta’s dangerous cross was headed behind. Baines tried another cross that Saha headed over when well placed.
Big Vic then had a little run and put in Arteta just 12yds out but his shot resembled a pass back, considering he is such a good penalty taker I thought the net should have bulged from that chance. Hibbert who was in fine form then got himself in the box with some delightful play and crossed for Rodwell to head tamely to the keeper. It could have been 5-0 with more clinical finishing but on that 10-min mark Pompey got a free kick and Utaka curled just over and remind the Blues that profligacy on their part could spoil the party.
The game then settled into one where Pompey were content for the Blues to play neat passing football until it reached the 18yd box then all routes were closed down much to the annoyance of the full house assembled as we seemed incapable of threading through anything meaningful. Howard saved well from Piquionne after he had left Jags for dead and at the other end Arteta fired wide from the edge of the box then after more good work from Hibbert who found Rodwell in the area only for him to disappoint and side-foot wide. Just on half time Big Vic fired one into the side netting.
Half-time and the highlights were the ribald chants and self depreciating humour of the visiting fans, who, though small in number were out-singing and out-cheering the vast home faithful. The biggest cheers of that day so far were for the Everton Ladies who paraded the women’s FA cup they had won v Arsenal. Did the ladies captain look a dead ringer for Rob Earnshaw??
The second half started and was more soporific than the first and the first meaningful action came from the manager when he replaced Rodwell with the Yak after just 10mins. The Yak was straight into it and tested the keeper by shooting straight at him. We continued with the pretty stuff up until the 18yd box and then running out of ideas mainly due to the tempo being far to slow.
Then our defence got in a terrible tangle. Jags was all at sea, Distin slipped but recovered to block a shot with the rebound going to Pompey sub O’Hara who’s scuffed shot found a Pompey forward who slammed it into the net and dejected groans turned to cheers with the sight of a linesman flagging offside. From my seat that was harsh, no let’s not beat around the bush, it was wrong.
Just ten minutes remaining and what should have been a party in the sunshine was turning into a wake but Osman hit a long-ranger that was deflected for a corner. The corner was met by a very ineffectual Saha but cleared from the line to more groans. Then the excellent Hibbert burst forward yet again and blasted inches over.
The board went up showing 4mins added and would you believe there were audible groans from the faithful suggesting they had seen enough! Heitinga was on to his very own chant and in one tackle he roused the crowd then with time almost up he found Bilyaletdinov, who was on for Big Vic, at the angle of the 18yd box right hand side. He controlled right foot then hit a screamer left foot into the angle of bar and post leaving the keeper comprehensively beaten and net almost ripped off. The din was deafening and the whole mood changed as Pompey kicked off so the Ref. blew for time and the loudest ‘if yer know yer ‘istory’ was bellowed out.
It was then time for the parade of Players, Babies, toddlers and staff to tour the pitch in recognition of the part the fans play. Distin showed a nice touch by going over to his former devotees and giving them ‘thumbs up’ a gesture that was well received.
Overall not the greatest of spectacles despite the neat joined up stuff on display from the Blues but it was just not augmented by a quicker tempo that could and should have hurt Pompey much more and pleased the faithful with a thumping win.
MotM was easy for me, Tony Hibbert. On this form you would put him in the top four right-backs in the Prem. and a good shout for the World cup squad. I really hope the lad can take this form forward to the next campaign.
The Bilyaletdinov goal will live in the memory for a long time to come and must be a contender for goal of the season, again I hope he can come good next term. One thing I took from this game was the fact we really do need a striker who can put himself about and score goals. The performance of Saha and to a slightly lesser degree the Yak illuminated the fact.
My tit-bit from the weekend's papers sees the manager closing in on signing 19 years old, 6ft 4ins Togo born German U20 international Peniel Kokou Mlapa. Altogether now ‘There’s only one Pen............’
Have a good summer
UP THE BLUES
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1 Posted 10/05/2010 at 07:20:49
Super goal. Feeling more optimistic about next season...
2 Posted 10/05/2010 at 07:39:06
I`m lucky, I can get to the games, but there`s still two more things I like to do after every match. One is watch it again on football first, the other is to read how Ken Buckley saw it. I stopped reading inaccurate newspaper match reports a long time ago. You`ll do for me.
You don't see things that didn't happen, nor do you pretend not to see things that did.
It's nice to know that, whenever I can't get to a game, I can still get a balanced honest trustworthy account of what's gone on.
Come back next season.
UP THE BLUES
3 Posted 10/05/2010 at 09:02:03
Cracking line Ken!
4 Posted 10/05/2010 at 10:15:15
We need someone with pace, strength and an eye for goal. Oh yes, Wayne Rooney!
5 Posted 10/05/2010 at 10:10:25
There is a pub here called the Brass Monkey. They seem to be able to screen many games other than those involving the Sky Four. The pub gets a feed from a South African sports channel. So, next season, if anyone is visiting Taipei, head to the Brass Monkey. I will be there. You can't miss me as I am the only one there wearing an Everton shirt (and perhaps the only one in the pub ever to have been to the home ground of the team I support).
6 Posted 10/05/2010 at 11:47:13
How do you account for what's happened to Tony Hibbert? He seems to have played much the same game for many seasons, and then suddenly he is – to use a phrase — like a new player! And it couldn't happen to a nicer lad.
Bily's breath-taking goal (better than his against ManU?) was not only the last in the PL this season but surely up among the best. Let's hope that he – and Hibbo –- can stride confidently into 2010-11
7 Posted 10/05/2010 at 12:22:09
Pretty much exactly how i saw the game. I personally would have given man of the match to Distin yesterday though. He seems to have come through his rough patch and ended the season strongly.
8 Posted 10/05/2010 at 16:25:38
9 Posted 10/05/2010 at 20:26:59
10 Posted 11/05/2010 at 06:49:50
Thanks to all the respondents who make these columns so entertaining. I'm lookin' forward to next season. Let's hope we can find ther right striker and a Donovan to give us a fast and wide right.
11 Posted 11/05/2010 at 23:41:12
All are well written and thought out and I hope that you continue into the next season.
12 Posted 14/05/2010 at 22:45:08
Thanks for the great, great reports. Don't ever think they are not appreciated...
You and Paul T do an outstanding job and if there were a Champion's League Trophy for best match reports, you'd both them.
13 Posted 15/05/2010 at 08:09:34
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