Uninspiring 90 (and some) minutes of football at the Lane. Said in my match preview all we had to do in-order to dismantle Pompey was to turn up. We hardly even did that. I didn't expect our lot to take it so literally. That's not a criticism, in fact to play without ever truly (having the need to) shift out of first gear and win against anyone is testament to the players. Patient play rather than panic mode.
We did enough and it was more than enough, if nowhere near exceptional. DVD on ice. Portsmouth were fairly woeful (and that's being kind). They had a couple of moments, nothing more. Didn't exactly dismantle them. Sort of just quietly gave them a dusting and placed them a box, pushing it under the bed for safe-keeping, tip-toeing away.
You'd think they'd give a better impression in the FA Cup semi-final, you'd hope at the very least if you're a neutral or one of their fans. But judging by this performance and the injury to Hreidarsson (not great to see), I think we can be quietly confident of safe passage to the final. Monumental if they managed to beat us in that. But as ever - let's not take anything for granted.
Back to Saturday - and no complaints. No point going overboard with match analysis either. It was all a bit damp out there. We won, nothing else matters at this stage. No rampant football, I need to stop expecting it when its most expected.
Palacios benched, midfield comfortable with Huddlestone continuing his return to first team action. Bentley also starting. BAE joining Wilson on the sidelines. Walker put on a decent showing, lots to learn but it's good to see we have another kid with bags of potential. Hopefully we can take better care of this one as he develops. Good game to début in too. Bale (that other kid who we almost failed) just continues to go from strength to strength.
Players doubling up on him is something that's becoming common practice as of late, but he just gets on with it. Love watching him, every time he charges and surges forward he looks like crafting some form of havoc for the opposing players. Wonderful pass to Crouchies head for 1-0. Walker involved in the second, cutting back for Modric who didn't quite connect but Niko was there to flick it in with his foot. Couple of wood-work bound efforts before that second goal and a few chances in a very low-key second half. Much ado about nothing tbh. And Pompey's moments served a purpose only to remind the players to present some quality to cement the victory. Which we did.
Second half really was that sleepy. Kaboul (on for Daws) tackle on Brown (who was lively) in the penalty area one of the highlights. Just for the sheer shock-value. Kanu could have done better with a chance but didn't. Pompey losing a couple more players to injury (including David James) to further compound their misery. Crouch (from another Bale supa-run) shooting just wide of the far post deep into extended injury time.
Comfortable sleepy comfortable stuff.
Dawson going off? Hopefully precautionary rather than another sodding hamstring.
Five wins in a row now for us. Dizzying stuff. We just don't want to let go of 4th. 7 games left.