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npower championship fixture
Match Result Portsmouth 1 Middlesbrough 3 Ref: Kettle Att: 16,770
Pompey: Henderson, Halford, Pearce (Captain), Rocha, Ben Haim, Allan, Mullins, Thorne (65 mins), Ward, Norris, Futacs (65 mins). Subs: Ashdown, Kitson (65 mins), Varney (65 mins), Mokoena, Webster.
Boro: Steele, Williams, Hoyte, Bailey, Bates, Hammill Robson, Jutkiewicz, Hines, Haroun, Bennett. Subs: Emnes, Ogbeche, Arca, Main, McMahon.
One change for Pompey as Norris replaces Mokoena
Pompey kick off attacking the Milton end
End to end attacking play for first 10 mins
14 mins Thorne smashes one inches wide from 25 yards
16 mins Futacs shot deflected past post for a corner
43 mins Excellent save from Henderson from 30 yard shot from Bailey
44 mins Ben Haim booked unsporting behaviour.
6 mins injury time
Half Time 0-0 (an even game) but Pompey have hardly created at all
Second Half - no player changes.
47 mins Scott Allen does well and shoots wide from tight angle
54 mins foul by Rocha on Hines ... Penalty to Middlesbrough.....Rocha Booked
54 mins Halford Booked .Robson scores 0-1
60 mins Joel Ward is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
63 mins Middlesbrough score 0-2. Jutkiewicz heads across goal and Bates nods in
64 mins substitutions Dave Kitson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Marko Futacs. Luke Varney replaces George Thorne.
65 mins Jutkiewicz handball. Pompey Penalty..Greg Halford scores a placed penalty. Portsmouth 1-2 Middlesbrough.
68 mins Caution for David Norris.
70 mins Kitson misses great chance from 12 yards.
82 mins. Middlesbrough score 1-3 (scorer Emnes from just inside the area)
Full Time Pompey 1 Middlesbrough 3
Great Heart from Pompey, but nothing up front...
Man of Match for Pompey: Stephen Henderson who, it is led to believe, is leaving Pompey after this match.
Man of Match for Boro - The Referee! Referee has made some terrible decisions today - everyone talking about the referee.. either incompetent or biased.. 2 Boro players should have been sent off before player sent off in 93rd minute... Typical Pompey luck!
5 bookings for both sides today
Pompey bookings.Ward, Rocha, Halford, Haim, Norris
Boro show poor Pompey no mercy Last updated: 3rd March 2012
Portsmouth ended a terrible week off the pitch with defeat on it as 10-man Middlesbrough claimed a 3-1 Championship win at Fratton Park.
All the goals came in the second half of a lively clash, Barry Robson putting the visitors ahead from the penalty spot and Matthew Bates making it 2-0.
A penalty from Greg Halford gave Pompey hope, but substitute Marvin Emnes sealed the points for Boro, who had Rhys Williams sent off at the death, to boost their play-off hopes.
But defeat at the end of another turbulent week left the hosts deep in relegation trouble.
The club earlier this week loaned club captain Liam Lawrence out to Cardiff in a desperate bid to reduce the wage bill after administrator Trevor Birch revealed they may not have enough funds to complete the season.
Birch then came under fire from former owners Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir, who alleged not enough was being done to avoid the possibility of liquidation.
All that did not prevent 16,770 attending Fratton Park, with chants of "we're not going to fold" and "we will never die" ringing around the ground for much of the game.
There was some good news for Pompey boss Michael Appleton before kick-off as he was able to welcome back the fit-again David Norris, with Aaron Mokoena dropping to the bench.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray left Julio Arca and leading scorer Emnes on the bench after a 2-0 defeat against Reading last time out, and brought in Nicky Bailey and loan signing Adam Hammill.
Norris, making his first start since January, had the first chance of the game as he just failed to get a crucial touch on George Thorne's long-range shot after 15 minutes.
Stephen Henderson had to be alert to parry away Robson's low free-kick after 27 minutes, and five minutes later Scott Allan fired a set piece inches wide at the other end after Boro skipper Bates brought down Thorne.
Three minutes before half-time Henderson showed why he merited inclusion in the latest Republic of Ireland squad with a tremendous save to tip Bailey's well-executed volley round the post.
Middlesbrough took the lead 10 minutes after the break when referee Trevor Kettle spotted an infringement by Ricardo Rocha and Robson rolled in the resulting spot-kick.
Moments later Faris Haroun was lucky to stay on the pitch after two late challenges in as many minutes, although Kettle only produced a yellow card for the first.
Pompey's frustrations were growing and it got worse just after the hour-mark when Bailey headed a Robson free-kick back across goal and Bates bundled the ball in.
Five minutes later Pompey were awarded a lifeline when Lukas Jutkiewicz handled Rocha's 30-yard drive, Halford stepping up to convert the penalty.
With 20 minutes left substitute Dave Kitson wasted a golden opportunity to equalise, firing wide from 12 yards when in space and with only Jason Steele to beat.
And that proved costly as Wolves loanee Hammill burst clear down the left and, although his shot was well stopped by Henderson, Emnes was able to fire home the rebound.
Late in stoppage time Boro's Williams was sent off for a second booking, having already seen yellow for bringing down Joel Ward. but the game was already won.
Portsmouth v M'boro preview Last updated: 2nd March 2012
Team news ahead of Saturday's Championship clash between Portsmouth and Middlesbrough at Fratton Park.
Pompey skipper Liam Lawrence has now departed for Cardiff on loan for the rest of the season and is unavailable for the visit of Boro.
Boss Michael Appleton will welcome back Dave Kitson from a one-match ban while fellow striker Luke Varney is nearing a return after almost three months out with a knee injury.
Midfielder David Norris came on as a late substitute against Leeds last week after recovering from a double hernia operation so he could return to the starting line-up.
But veteran striker Kanu is still not fit due to a back problem and winger Kelvin Etuhu is set to miss out again with a slight hamstring tear.
MATCH FACTS Head-to-head
• Portsmouth and Middlesbrough have locked horns 103 times in the league, with the Teesside club coming out the better on 39 occasions and Pompey in 36.
• The last four meetings have all been drawn, since Portsmouth's 2-1 home victory in the Premier League in September 2008.
• The Hampshire club need to score twice to total 150 league goals against these opponents.
• Next-to-bottom Portsmouth are five points from safety, and pursuing their first win in six league games.
• Victory will take Pompey's total of second level league points to 2,000. (They had already achieved this a few weeks ago, but the 10-point deduction for entering administration sees them making a second effort to reach this milestone).
• Michael Appleton's side have not scored in three successive league games.
• Middlesbrough embark on the 630-mile round trip in search of their third win in four games, in an effort to regain their place in the top six.
• Despite winning just two of the last nine league games, Boro's current total of 53 points after 32 games is their best return since the promotion season immediately back to the Premier League in 1997/98.
• No club has lost fewer Championship games than the seven from Tony Mowbray's outfit; and no club has drawn more than their 11.
There follows a match preview about a match. It doesn't tell the whole story of the week at Fratton Park or the circumstances that have hindered Pompey's build-up to Middlesbrough's visit to Fratton. It's just a match preview.
If you want the other stuff, there are plenty of other places to get it. And our preview will mention the latest first-team squad member to be loaned out.
But Friday night and Saturday mornings always used to be about the build-up to games, and while we still have games to build up to that's what we're going to do.
It's Pompey v Middlesbrough, Fratton Park, 3pm, Saturday - the sort of mundane details from - in the grand scheme of things - what could be a mundane game, but the sort of details we'd be delighted still to be talking about in years to come.
It's also a huge game for Pompey as they set about upsetting the odds and staying in the Championship. Recent events - and results - have seen the Blues slip into the relegation zone. They go into the clash with Tony Mowbray's side five points adrift although with a game in hand on Bristol City, who occupy the last 'safe' spot at present.
Pompey haven't won since January 28 - and worryingly haven't scored since February 11, with clashes with Ipswich, Barnsley and Leeds all passing without a goal.
The bid to end the drought won't have been helped by the decision to loan Liam Lawrence to Cardiff, even if the effort to preserve the club will have been. Cardiff will pay a loan fee and pay the former skipper's wages - though how their promotion rivals will feel about them being allowed to go ahead with this 'emergency' loan is in the balance.
Lawrence departed with some fine words about who and what he is leaving behind, telling the Pompey website: 'I'm really sad to be leaving Pompey, but if my move can help the club carry on then it's something I'm willing to do. Despite all the off-the-pitch difficulties I've had some fantastic times here, playing for the most amazing set of supporters in the country.
'I'll miss everyone at Pompey, and just hope that under the leadership of Michael Appleton the boys can pull through and stay in the Championship.'
As another player departs, another returns to the fold with Luke Varney likely to make his first appearance since the win at Burnley on December 10.
Varney told the website: 'We’re all disappointed about what has happened with the club. But we’re players and here to play football. That has been the most frustrating aspect for me, the fact I haven’t been able to play. I think if it hadn’t been for my baby daughter coming along I would have been feeling suicidal. Things were tight when I was at Crewe at times, and again at Blackpool, but nothing compared to this.
'But I don’t for a second regret coming to Pompey and I just want to be out there helping the situation by playing. I’m really hoping to be back soon. I feel fine. I had a spell recently just resting my leg, which I perhaps should have done earlier in my comeback. I tried to come back too soon and that merely inflamed my ligament, so while it’s been frustrating, it's been necessary to rest.
'It’s a pity there will be no Erik Huseklepp because I think we were striking up a decent understanding, but there is still Dave Kitson and Marko Futacs. Unfortunately Erik’s situation is a consequence of what has happened at the club. But there is still a great deal of togetherness among all the lads. None of them have wanted to jump ship and you do find these situations bring you closer. For me now, I just want to get back on the pitch.'
West Brom loan pair Scott Allan and George Thorne are likely to continue in midfield with Hayden Mullins and Joel Ward and the defence is likely to be unchanged. With a couple of youth players in the mix, Michael Appleton should be able to name a full set of subs.
Appleton is urging everyone to keep believing: 'We are lucky that we’ve got a couple of players coming back from injury and, hopefully, they will give us a better quota in terms of goalscoring. We have to believe that it will start turning and the luck will change,' he said.
‘Whether that is the ball going in off someone’s backside or knee just to kick-start someone – whatever it may be, it will happen if you keep believing and keep working hard. The minute you start feeling sorry for yourself, that’s when it won’t happen.’
Boro arrive in town a little desperate for points themselves - recent poor form has seen them slip from third to eighth, losing a lot of ground in the promotion race, although only two points separate the sides from fifth spot down to ninth.
There aren't too many teams Pompey have played more often than Middlesbrough - this weekend's game is the 110th competitive game between them, with the Teesiders having won 40 to Pompey's 38. Their last away win at Fratton was in 2007-08 when a late December win proved the first part of a double.
Our prediction: Pompey 2 Boro 1