Football: Fans in protest as Bassett's men are cut down

Nottingham Forest 0 Portsmouth 1 Claridge 17 Half-time: 0-1 Attendance: 10,092

FIRST DIVISION Portsmouth escaped from the troubles in their own backyard to evict the Premiership strugglers Forest from the FA Cup, prompting a demonstration by home supporters of the kind to which the south coast club have become only too accustomed themselves.

Pompey, some pounds 5m in debt and with all their players up for sale, earned their place in the fourth-round draw by virtue of the veteran striker Steve Claridge's first-half goal and as their 2,000 supporters celebrated a rare success in a grim season, Forest fans called for the dismissal of the manager Dave Bassett and the resignation of the plc board.

Less than two years after Nigel Wray, Irving Scholar and the present chief executive, Phil Soar, bought control at the City Ground promising a return to the success the club enjoyed under Brian Clough, Forest are bottom of the Premiership and looking relegation certainties after a record run of 17 matches without a victory.

Portsmouth are not exactly pulling up trees themselves - they have won only twice in their last 12 Nationwide League games - but Alan Ball's side were good value for their win.

Bassett, suffering from flu, declined to appear at the press conference afterwards, leaving his assistant, Mickey Adams, to accuse Forest players of "lacking passion for the fight".

"I think Dave and myself can hold up our heads in the knowledge that we are doing our best, but some of the players perhaps need to look at themselves," he said. "We are in a situation that demands a lot of character and there was not too much of that in evidence today.

"We have prepared them properly and the rest is down to them. The Portsmouth lads have seen their top players sold off, but have they laid down?"

Adams dismissed suggestions that Bassett would resign. "This may well be the toughest situation he has faced but I don't believe he has ever walked away from a job and I don't think he will now," he added.

Ball echoed Adams' criticism. "Players have got to have the responsibility and it's too easy to hide behind the manager when things are not going right," he said. "Players do not take as much of the blame as they ought to. I don't like it when these big stars drive off in their big cars and creep off into the night and don't take the flak that they should."

Forest, without the suspended Pierre van Hooijdonk and inconvenienced in their passing game by a pudding of a pitch, enjoyed plenty of possession but were rarely able to ask searching questions of an understrength Portsmouth defence lacking Andy Awford and Thomas Thorgersson.

Portsmouth possessed altogether more appetite for the challenge, with outstanding performances from Sammy Igoe and Jeff Peron in midfield and from Alan McLoughlin in a sweeper's role. Indeed, Igoe almost gave them a dream start with a dipping shot that Dave Beasant was at full stretch to palm against his crossbar.

And then there was Claridge, who twice scored match-winning goals at Wembley for Leicester and whom Ball described as an "honest journeyman professional who will never let his manager down".

Socks around his ankles in characteristic style, the 33-year-old striker jabbed home the decisive goal after 17 minutes, slotting the ball past Beasant after Peron had found the Premiership side's defenders backing off as he made a beeline down the middle.

Scot Gemmill, the best of a generally bad lot in Forest shirts, missed narrowly in the first half and brought a good save from the goalkeeper Alan Knight in the second but, his efforts apart, the closest Forest were to an equaliser was when the Portsmouth full-back Matthew Robinson almost sliced a clearance into his own net.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine