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League 1 Fixture
Pompey 0 Brentford 1
Pompey lose 4 games on the trot with a woeful performance with one shot on target in 90 mins.
POMPEY: Eastwood, Webster, Michalik, Gyepes, Dickinson, Dumbuya, Williamson, Howard, Harley, Buzsaky, McLeod. Subs: Andersen, Walker, Rodgers, Compton, Ertl, Russell, Harris.
PHOTO: Simon Eastwood is beaten by Clayton Donaldson's winner for Brentford
Pompey suffered their fourth straight defeat as an abject display led to a 1-0 loss at home to Brentford.
With speculation rising over the future of boss Michael Appleton and Blackpool’s interest in him, the Blues failed to muster a single decent goalscoring chance all game as they tumbled to a shocking defeat in their worst display of the campaign by a distance.
Akos Buzsaky had Pompey’s only real sights at goal with a first-half effort sidefooted wide and a second-half free-kick which the Bees keeper caught easily.
The goal that separated the sides came early in the piece with Clayton Donaldson glancing a header beyond a wrong-footed Simon Eastwood after just nine minutes.
But Pompey’s response was flimsy to say the least as they failed to get anything going and lacked urgency and quality throughout.
Understandably, boos rang out at the final whistle as home fans vented their frustrations but if was Appleton’s last game in charge, it will not be one he remembers fondly.
Pompey 0 Brentford 1
by Neil Weld at Fratton Park
Pompey slipped to a fourth successive defeat with an unimaginative performance against Brentford.
Clayton Donaldson put the Bees ahead with an early header – and it was a lead that the visitors never really looked like relinquishing.
Akos Buzsaky went closest to rescuing the Blues a point with a curling second half strike, but Brentford keeper Richard Lee was a virtual spectator throughout.
Michael Appleton made three changes from the side that lost to Notts County in the FA Cup at the weekend.
But the Blues boss kept faith with Simon Eastwood, handing the keeper a first league start in place of Mikkel Andersen.
Carl Dickinson, Jon Harley and Lee Williamson all returned to the side, with Johnny Ertl and Luke Rodgers dropping to the bench and Scott Allan starting a three-match ban.
Before kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of those in the armed forces who have lost their lives in battle.
When the game got underway it was Brentford who were quicker out of the blocks and the visitors broke the deadlock after just nine minutes.
Donaldson met Adam Forshaw’s dangerous free-kick into the box and his flicked header wrong-footed Eastwood.
The keeper looked more assured soon after, parrying the ball to safety after Tom Adeyemi had surged down the right and tried to pick out a team-mate.
It was certainly not a game high in quality, however, and there were 31 minutes on the clock when Pompey finally had a shot.
Not that Jon Harley’s effort troubled Brentford keeper Richard Lee as it sailed over the crossbar.
It was the Bees who were looking more likely to score a second goal and Donaldson headed Forshaw’s cross narrowly over.
With the Blues struggling to make any impact, Appleton made a change on 35 minutes, bringing on Ashley Harris for Webster and moving Mustapha Dumbuya to right-back.
Brentford still kept pushing forward, however, and Harry Forrester drilled inches wide after embarking on a fine solo run.
But Pompey then finally looked dangerous, and Buzsaky should have hit the target after Izale McLeod pulled the ball back for him.
And McLeod was so close to drawing the hosts level just before the break, collecting Dumbuya’s pass, turning sharply and volleying just past the post.
Half Time: Pompey 0 Brentford 1
Buzsaky had a good opportunity early in the second half, but although his 25-yard free-kick was cleanly struck, it failed to test Lee.
The Hungarian was more of a threat just after the hour mark, curling over from distance after Harley had skipped past a couple of challenges and laid the ball off.
Carl Dickinson was next to try his luck from long distance, but again his angled effort cleared the crossbar.
Brentford were not prepared to just sit back and soak up pressure, however, and they should have doubled their advantage on 63 minutes.
Forrester’s dangerous low cross was met by Scott Barron at the far post, but the substitute shot tamely at Eastwood from close range.
Pompey, though, were looking short on ideas and Liam Walker replaced Harley on 77 minutes in an attempt to liven things up.
Walker immediately had a chance, with a free-kick from 25 yards that skidded narrowly past the post.
But, in truth, Brentford hung on for their victory with relative ease as the Blues dominated possession in the closing stages, but struggled to create any chances.
Pompey: Eastwood; Webster (Harris 35), Michalik, Gyepes, Dickinson; Dumbuya, Williamson, Howard (c), Harley (Walker 77); Buzsaky; McLeod
Subs not used: Andersen, Ertl, Russell, Compton, Rodgers
Brentford: Lee; Logan, Dean, Craig, Bidwell; Diagouraga; Forrester (Saunders 85), Douglas (c), Adeyemi (O’Connor 22 (Barron 57)), Forshaw; Donaldson
Goals: Donaldson 9
Booked: Forrester, O’Connor, Dean, Donaldson, Lee
Subs not used: Moore, German, Dallas, Hayes
Referee: Scott Mathieson
Latest from truebluearmy.com
Suddenly Pompey fans' thoughts are not on who might be in the team as they try to end a mini losing run at home to Brentford - but who might be in the home dugout.
Reports on Monday suggest Michael Appleton could be the man Blackpool are poised to unveil as Ian Holloway's replacement on Tuesday afternoon. The Daily Mail said the Seasiders had held talks with Appleton.
The News reported: 'Michael Appleton has been linked with becoming the new manager of Blackpool. Pompey’s boss has been in demand over the past month, attracting interest from Bolton, Burnley and Crystal Palace, yet it is the Tangerines who are reportedly closing in on taking him from Fratton Park.
'The Championship club are seeking a replacement for Ian Holloway, who ironically beat Appleton to the Selhurst Park job on Friday. Chairman Karl Oyston tonight stated the man to replace Holloway is likely to be finalised tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon. If a move can be concluded, Pompey would be entitled to compensation, with the 36-year-old having two years still remaining on his current deal.'
However much mileage there is in the story, it is a distraction as the Blues warm up for Brentford's visit to Fratton - their first for 20 years.
After two successive league defeats, and their FA Cup exit to Notts County, Pompey need to get something from this. But they can point to improved home league form which has brought wins over Scunthorpe, Crewe and Shrewsbury as evidence it is not beyond them.
Pompey will be without Scott Allan after he was sent off in the defeat to the Magpies, but loanees Mikkel Andersen and full-back Carl Dickinson can return. Lee Williamson is expected to be available while Darel Russell could again be on the bench but Ashley Harris (ankle) is out.
Appleton said it was a winnable one for the Blues. He told the official website: 'We’ve been very productive at home in the league in recent weeks. We’ve won three on the bounce and hopefully we can make that four. I think there will be two evenly matched sides and that Brentford will come down here looking to win the game.
'That will give our lads an opportunity to express themselves rather than them coming up against a side who just shut up shop. We do prefer playing sides who look to come at you. I went to watch Brentford against Hartlepool last week and they’re dangerous. They’ve got pace up front and experience in the middle of the park.'
Our prediction: Pompey 2 Brentford 1