Saturday, April 16, 2011

Closer and closer: City 3-0 Portsmouth

Every game is a massive game now. With Norwich winning last night, City had to win to go back to 2nd spot, and they did so in some style.

The game started fast and open, and the atmosphere was brilliant with a big travelling support, it looked like we were going to be in for a treat, although to be honest I'd have settled for a boring match and all three points.

It took only six minutes for City to take the lead, when Bellamy's wonderful first time cross was headed back and into the net by Seji Olifanjana. Portsmouth were contesting everything though - sometimes quite robustly it has to be said. They looks so pumped up you wonder what their manager had said to them before the kick off. Whatever it was , it came back to haunt them on 18 minutes when Ricardo Rocha was given his marching orders after what appeared to be a head butt on one of the City players. It was always going to be hard from then on, and City doubled their lead in first half stoppage time from a corner. Bothroyd, who when the corner was given was on his knees, looked injured and then limped slowly into the box. The corner wasn't cleared properly, and after McPhail had had a stab at coring the ball fell to Bothroyd from a yard out. He doesn't miss those. Miraculously, his injury appeared much better as he raced to the Ninian stand to celebrate. I'll forgive him his theatricals this time.

In the second half, City continued to push and Pompey, became more and more exasperated as they chased the ball and 50/50 decisions went against them (though apart from being a bit picky about where throws and free kicks were taken from, I though the ref had a decent game).

A third goal was on the cards and came after Bellamy broke down the right, looked up and squared the ball for an onrushing Whittingham to smash into the roof of the net from six yards.

A few changes ensued - Parking for Bothroyd, Koumas for McPhail and Blake for Quinn, as City saw the game out without any major concerns.

I thought the whole team were first class today. Bar a few moments of long ball madness when playing to feet would have been better given Pompey were down to 10, and keeper Bywater's kicking which has to be some of the worst I've seen in a keeper for a long time, City were professional and committed throughout. I particularly though Bellamy, Olifanjana, McPhail and Whittingham were outstanding, but the rest were right up there too.

So, back to 2nd, and we are now just 4 wins from the Premiership. We know if we win the next four games, nothing can stop us, and that's a great position to be in. A tough match next week v table topping QPR, but we shouldn't fear them, especially at home.

Though we should only concentrate on ourselves, it's hard not to look around. Norwich scraped past Forest last night, and lie 3rd a point behind with a GD five worse than us. Two points behind them in 4th are Reading, the form team, unbeaten in eight . The Jacks lost against Burnley today and are 5th, five points behind us, whilst Leeds in the final play-off spot are 10 points adrift of us after their 2-2 draw with Watford.

But, as I say, all that doesn't matter if we win the next four games. So keep the faith, and let's do it!


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