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Portsmouth 0-2 Notts County


Keith Curle was on a hiding to nothing as Notts ventured to Portsmouth for the re-arranged League One encounter – and in spite of victory only more causes for concern returned to Nottingham. Pompey are a club in absolute crisis. Ahead of facing the Magpies for the third time this season, having lost in the return at Meadow Lane and in the FA Cup at Fratton Park, they had gone 15 games without a win. Twelve of those had been defeats with the most recent a 3-1 loss at home to the only side below them in the table, the equally woeful Hartlepool.

Forget Pompey having been in the Premier League this time two years ago, forget them having won the FA Cup as recently as 2008, they are nothing short of an appalling football club at the minute – and you can only feel sorry for a very loyal group of fans, for it is the off-pitch finances that have crippled their once proud club.

So much so that Curle knew he had to win at Fratton Park. He had to recover from Saturday’s first away defeat in his almost year-long tenure, losing 2-1 at Leyton Orient, and start another away run. This time with victory.

Nothing else would do. Regardless of Notts’ own disappointing form which has seen the play-offs become a distant dream having figured in the top six for so much of the season, playing Pompey at the moment should result in just one thing – three points. And really by two or three goals.

As it was, two came – but only just. It was agonising viewing and listening as the Magpies struggled to not only break down a Portsmouth side with several youth products and short-term contracted players. Not only that, but the hosts were the more threatening for long periods.

Notts’ lack of striking options again showed its head as balls were fizzed across the box, and possession well kept, but nothing was showing up top. The almost constant need for a new striker again reared its head as Pompey dealt with the very little attacks mustered by Curle’s men with the ease of a side that had instead gone 15 games without losing.

Passing was poor, albeit in difficult conditions, and optimism drained.

Finally, Jeff Hughes eased the tension in the 81st minute, before Francois Zoko, at last, rounded things off. There was time for Neal Bishop to foolishly get sent off, incredibly Notts’ seventh dismissal of the season. But three points were secure.

Nothing more than that though. It was the very least expected of Curle’s men. Trouble is, the length of time it took to get that first goal, the lack of a goal threat for much of the game and the trouble created by a terrible Portsmouth side in actual fact made this more like a defeat than a victory in some ways.

Curle was on a hiding to nothing, and while he got the minimum required, far more questions have to be asked given such a poor performance against arguably the worst team this level has ever seen.

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I was nervous throughout the game as it sounded very lively from both sides. Zoko's goal really helped me to settle and Jeff Hughes's goal was much to our turning point. It was a shame about the sending off, I really can't comment as I didn't hear what happened. The chat room on here was lively tonight!

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Many thanks to Paul for contributing this piece! It's very much appreciated. (Broken Record) We have another write up from Joe tomorrow with regards to an ex player!

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good write! we needed this win and jeff deserves credit as he scored 2-2. hopefully a return to form for him but his good enough.

thanks ncfcdrapes

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Listened on radio.The match passed surprisingly quickly for me.There didn't seem much threat from either side and I don't suppose the conditions helped.I was a little concerned in the opening minutes but as the match progressed felt that this was a match there for the taking if only Notts had that missing ingredient-an elusive goal scorer.The sending off at the end seems to me to be needless and Notts need to do something about discipline.Players who are suspended are no use to the club.However, 3 points and a new away run started,! plus the possibility of a new signing!Things could be much worse.Ask any Pompey fan.

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Pride of Nottingham is an independent fansite devoted to Notts County, the world’s oldest professional football club. Created in 2013, it has served as a source of Magpie news, features, match previews, reports, analysis and interviews for more than three years.

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