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Match Report: Portsmouth 1-2 Derby County (Derby Fan's Perspective)

Sunday 22nd April 2012
A Derby win at Fratton Park completed a miserable afternoon for Portsmouth that saw them relegated to League One for next season. The ten point deduction for going into administration earlier in the season effectively helping push them down.

Derby manager Nigel Clough decided that Paul Green, after refusing a new contract with the Rams is to play no further part for the club on the field.

Being a firm believer in Derby's excellent youth policy, he called up 15 year-old Mason Bennett and 17 year-old Will Hughes.  Tom Naylor failed a fitness test and was replaced by the player he was deputising for in previous games John Brayford.

Pompey's best player over the past few games Chris Maguire was not available due to the terms of his loan from Derby.

It needed some grit and determination from the Derby side to see off Pompey who themselves put in a spirited effort. Jamie Ward had the first real attempt of the game, but his effort was thwarted by the home defence.

Nathan Tyson had an early effort easily dealt by Ashdown in the Portsmouth goal and at the other end of the pitch former Ram, Luke Varney also saw his attempt fail to break the deadlock.

Joel Ward did come close to opening the scoring for Portsmouth moments later when his shot took a deflection and skimmed against Fielding's upright. However, after 40 minutes it was Derby who took the lead.  Jamie Ward's corner met by the head of Jake Buxton and beyond the reach of Ashdown. Apart from doing a sterling job standing in for Shaun Barker in the centre of Derby's defence, Buxton is fast becoming a real threat from set pieces.

Derby went in 1-0 up at the break and manager Nigel Clough must have been fairly happy with what he had seen.  Unfortunately for for Clough he was forced into making a goalkeeping change at half-time.  Frank Fielding was struggling with a groin injury and Adam Legzdins replaced him when the teams emerged for the second half.

Legzdins himself needed treatment early on in the second half after a collision with Varney. Varney's leg found the head of Legzdins, resulting in the keeper needed to wear a bandage for the rest of the game.

Pompey did move up a gear in the second half and had a more determined look to them. Both Kitson and Allan went close with efforts.

Rams substitute Will Hughes saw an effort go wide after 70 minutes and within three minutes after that Portsmouth finally levelled after  Varney beat the offside trap and knocked the ball past Legzdins.

The celebrations of the home fans didn't last for long though as only a few minutes later Rocha was judged to have brought down Jamie Ward in the box and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.  It did look as if Ward might have made a meal of the challenge, nevertheless a spot kick was awarded.  Steven Davies made no mistake from the penalty spot and took his season's tally to 12 goals.  Not bad considering the amount of games he missed due to injury.

The game then fizzled out and when the referee blew the final whistle, the home fans knew that relegation had been confirmed.  Not that a win would have prevented Portsmouth going down as Bristol City winning was enough to do the damage.

Portsmouth must now regroup in League One and plan their route back knowing that their financial position will make that quite a task. Derby move back into the top half of the table and look forward to a home game with Peterborough to wrap up the 2011/12 season.

Portsmouth - Ashdown, Ward, Rocha, Pearce, Halford, Norris, Rekik, Allan, Kitson, Varney, Harris (Futacs 60). Subs not used - Mokoena, Etuhu, Magri, Webster.

Derby - Fielding (Legzdins 46), Brayford, Shackell, Buxton, Roberts, Ward, Hendrick, Bryson, Tyson (Bennett 79), S Davies, Robinson (Hughes 68). Subs not used - Bailey, Carroll.

Man of the Match - Craig Bryson

Attandance - 17,770
Andy Buckley - Taylor

Total articles: 16

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