Football: Ball seeks to fill in blanks

Portsmouth 0 Huddersfield Town 0

THE TENDENCY of football towards contrariness was demonstrated again at Fratton Park, where Huddersfield, who had won their previous game 7-1, and Portsmouth, who had lost 6-0, could not manage a goal between them. Saturday had clearly been a one-off - or, in Portsmouth's case, a two off, as Andy Awford and Fitzroy Simpson had both been dismissed at Barnsley.

Before conceding six in just over half an hour in Yorkshire, Alan Ball's team had kept a clean sheet for almost six hours. Yesterday they returned to mean old ways in defence, until a couple of late lapses, but lacked imagination in attack and therefore continued a sequence of camera-shyness in Sky TV games, nine of which they have played without winning. Before the end, even the admirably vocal home supporters were losing their enthusiasm.

These are two ambitious clubs who have known better days, though not for a while. Having solved the worst of their long-standing financial problems, Portsmouth are now planning to spend some pounds 30m on a 35,000-capacity stadium on the other side of the tracks, developing the railway goods yard adjacent to the present ground.

Ball announced yesterday that he is about to sign a new four-year contract and is excited about the prospects. "I can't wait to sign," he said. "We wanted to put some stability and belief back into the club and the new chairman has done that. The most important thing is that he is getting people to trust him."

The manager has some money to spend at last and was able to shell out pounds 1m of it in the summer on Rory Allen, the young striker from Tottenham. Allen had made a good impression in the two previous home games but was given few opportunities by Chris Lucketti and Ken Monkou, two defenders brought in by Steve Bruce, the successor to Peter Jackson, the manager ruthlessly sacked by Huddersfield at the end of last season.

Portsmouth's defence was under-employed until the last seven minutes. Andy Pettersen then had to turn a 25-yard drive by Scott Sellars onto the crossbar and, almost at the death, Clyde Wijnhard, another of Bruce's signings, wasted the one clear chance of the game. Ben Thornley broke down the right and his cross was missed by the retreating Portsmouth defender, Thomas Thogersen, but Wijnhard lobbed it into the group of Huddersfield followers behind the goal.

Having set their alarm clocks uncomfortably early in order to reach the south coast for a midday kick-off, those supporters must have been disappointed not to see their team capitalise on Saturday's victory after a mixed start to the season.

Bruce, who will need some good results to win them over in view of Jackson's popularity, warned: "It takes months rather than weeks for new players to get used to each other. When they do, I am sure we will be OK. I have said judge me in three years." He should be so lucky.

Portsmouth (4-4-2): Pettersen; Robinson, Whitbread, Cundy, Simpson; Miglioranzi (Newton, 82), Thogersen, McLoughlin, Peron; Whittingham (Nightingale, 70), Allen. Substitutes not used: Awford, Vlachos, Flahavan (gk).

Huddersfield Town (4-4-2): Vaesen; Dyson, Lucketti, Monkou, Armstrong; Irons, Horne (Thornley, 61), Beech (Edwards, 85); Sellars; Wijnhard, Stewart (Allison, 61). Substitutes not used: Facey, Margetson (gk).

Referee: F Stretton (Nottingham).

Man of the Match: Monkou.

Attendance: 13,105.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific