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Pompey: Andersen, Dickinson, Michalik, Gyepes, Dumbuya, Harley, Williamson, Ertl, Allan, Buzsaky, McLeod. Subs: Eastwood, Compton, Walker, Webster, Thompson, Harris, Rodgers.
Match Summary: Pompey lose to a second half penalty for a foul conceded by MIchalik after a good performance Pompey man of Match: Scott Allan closely followed by Gabor Gyepes
Referee: Mick Russell
Attendance: 18,946 (580 Pompey fans)
Sheff Utd 1 Pompey 0: Michalik's madness means Blues pay penalty
On any other ground, you'd have fancied Pompey's chances at the break. But this was Bramall Lane, where Pompey rarely get anything to take home. And after 45 minutes where Pompey had been the better side but hadn't scored, many would have feared the worst.
And those fears were realised when Lubomir Michalik conceded a needless penalty on the hour by diving in on Chris Porter. Nick Blackman put away the penalty and the Blues never really looked like salvaging anything after that.
It's Pompey's second straight defeat after a run of five wins in six and has them looking over their shoulders at the bottom group in League One.
The bright spot was a second Pompey debut for Scott Allan just hours after he rejoined from West Brom. He was Pompey's driving force in a bright first half but did fade, perhaps with a lack of fitness, after the break.
Pompey started with Allan playing just off Izale McLeod and Mustapha Dumbuya back in the side at right-back.
Sheffield United might have taken the lead inside 25 seconds but Mikkel Andersen spread himself well to save Blackman’s shot as he ran on to a flick-on.
It wasn't long before Pompey found their rhythm and Akos Buzsaky hit the angle of bar and post from nearly 40 yards with the keeper George Long well beaten.
Porter headed wide from Tony McMahon’s cross before Allen began to exert some control over the game. One solo run ended with a shot across the face of goal - then Allan had a shot blocked by a desperate defender.
Another Buzsaky long-range effort was only inches over Long's bar and the break it was Pompey who would have been more disappointed not to be ahead.
The second half started in similar vein for Pompey and Gabor Gyepes almost nodded in from a Buzsaky corner.
But gradually United began to enjoy more of the forward play and they were rewarded when Michalik carelessly conceded a penalty on 66 minutes. There was no immediate threat to Andersen's goal as Porter and the defender raced to get there first to a long ball over the top. Porter did get their first - Michalik's decision to put a foot in was fatal and the striker went tumbling.
There was no dispute it was a penalty - unusual, that, for Pompey at this jinxed venue - and Blackman slid it low to the static Andersen's right.
Ashley Harris and Luke Rodgers came on for Jon Harley and Johnny Ertl, both of whom had had fairly ineffective second halves, but Pompey seemed to have run out of steam and created little in the closing stages.
The Blades showed how they have ground out six 1-0 wins this season by comfortably holding on for another victory of the same margin. Pompey slip to 15th in the division and will look to raise themselves for the FA Cup clash with Notts County on Saturday.
Pompey: Andersen; Dumbuya, Michalik, Gyepes, Dickinson; Buzsaky, Ertl (Rodgers 7, Williamson, Harley (Harris 74); Allan; McLeod. Subs not used: Eastwood, Webster, Thompson, Walker, Compton.
Referee: Mick Russell
Attendance: 18,946 (580 Pompey fans).
PHOTO: Lee Williamson
Published on Monday 29 October 2012 11:00
Lee Williamson geared up for his Sheffield United return and vowed: I don’t regret joining Pompey.
Tonight’s Sky-televised clash at Bramall Lane will be Williamson’s first visit to the club since leaving in the summer. The 30-year-old left the Blades after contract talks broke down when his agreement came to a close. Williamson stated he felt unwanted by the Yorkshire club – where he spent three years, scoring 20 goals in 89 appearances. But Blues boss Michael Appleton showed his desire to bring the player to Fratton Park with a dogged pursuit of his services.
Pompey go into the game with the club’s future still unclear and all players on month-to-month contracts.
Meanwhile, Appleton has once again been left to work his magic in the loan market after Bournemouth cut short Wes Thomas’ stay. The Blues boss is expected to seal a deal for a Championship striker this morning – making him eligible for tonight’s clash.
Pompey’s fortunes remain a world away from those of the Blades, though. Danny Wilson’s men are flying high in League One and are unbeaten this term.
But despite that, Williamson is adamant he made the right move. ‘There are no regrets, of course there aren’t,’ he said. ‘Life is all about choices and I chose to come here. I’ve not regretted that. ‘I’m enjoying my football and playing every week here. ‘The gaffer is good, the staff are good and the players are good. There are off-the-field problems but if you were in and around the boys you would never know that. That’s a good sign.
‘Portsmouth is an ambitious club and, after speaking to Michael Appleton and the staff here, that was clear. ‘I’m not saying Sheffield United aren’t but I didn’t really feel I was wanted. ‘The contract that I was offered wasn’t right for me, so it was time to move on.
‘I spoke to Appy many times over the summer. I’m glad I signed for him because he’s a good manager and it’s a good club. ‘Things are changing and there is a bit more of a solid team and squad here now.’
Williamson is unsure what kind of reception he will receive from the home crowd tonight. He promised he does not harbour any ill feeling towards the club over the manner of his exit. But he’s quietly confident his current side can inflict the first defeat of the season on the Blades. Williamson said: ‘I’m not too sure what the reception will be like. It will probably be a bit mixed.
‘The fans knew I was offered a deal and everyone expected me to stay. ‘Things didn’t work out but I’m not going to be bitter because it’s a good club and I enjoyed my time there. ‘A lot of my family are still up north, so they will be there – and behind Portsmouth. ‘Sheffield are probably one of the favourites to go up but we can go there and get three points, and, if we do, it’s a big statement.’
Sky Sports Preview
Team news ahead of Monday night's League One clash between Sheffield United and Portsmouth at Bramall Lane.
Neill Collins could return to Sheffield United's starting line-up.
The centre-half was an unused substitute in the midweek win over Walsall at Bramall Lane following his recovery from an infected toe, as manager Danny Wilson kept faith with Matt Hill and Harry Maguire at the heart of defence, but the Scot is pressing for a recall.
Wilson has no new injury or suspension problems and will select his side from an unchanged squad.
George Long will continue in goal in the continued absence of Mark Howard (thigh) after another impressive display on Tuesday night, while strikers John Cofie, Shaun Miller and Chris Porter, plus veteran Richard Cresswell, all provide Wilson with alternative attacking options.
The Blades will be looking to stretch their unbeaten start to the season to 15 league matches.
Left-back Carl Dickinson is expected to retain his place after making his second debut for Pompey in Tuesday's loss after arriving on loan from Watford. Adam Webster is back in contention after missing the Stevenage clash after being called up to the England Under-18 squad to face Italy on Wednesday.
Appleton is unable to call upon teenager Jordan Obita, with the on-loan forward having been recalled by Reading this week after two months at Fratton Park. And Darel Russell is still struggling with the hamstring injury that has forced him to miss Pompey's last six matches.
Appleton is weighing up sending out fringe players on loan in a bid to increase his squad options. As it stands, Pompey are at the maximum 20-player limit imposed on them by the Football League for being in administration.