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.

News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
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: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there