Reserves sink Pompey

Last updated : 26 January 2005 By The Rambler

Portsmouth Res 0 1 Derby Res

Portsmouth: Guatelli, Angus (Cousins 86), Donaghey, Harris, Pearce, Curtis, Cooper, Wilson, Keene, Burchill, Horsted.
Subs: Harris, Settle, Eyles, Bye.

Derby: Kirby, Doyle, Nyatanga, Turner, Young, Martin, Ainsworth, Boertien, Ashton, Booth, Cassidy.
Subs: Nix, Meredith, Arnold, Llewellyn, Stockley.

Referee: R G Vaughan

Attendance 141

With a first team fixture against Leeds United scheduled for Wednesday evening it was a very young side that Steve Taylor was forced to field for the first away game since before Christmas.

It has not been the best of campaigns for the Rams second string with only two victories to date - one at home and one away.

The one had come at the first time of asking at Watford at the start of September.

These games, though, are looked upon by many as forcing grounds for young talent rather than purely sides geared up to win titles unlike some of their predecessors.

Amongst the small crowd that had turned out was Martin Kuhl, the nononsence midfielder who had performed for both clubs during his career. Kuhl is now assistant manager at Conference outfit Aldershot and admitted that it was not nostalgia, so much as the desire for players that brought him to Westleigh Park.

The pitch had been in use the night before and with a combination of that and the recent rain rapidly began to resemble a ploughed field.

Derby started brightly however, on occasions playing with more style than their average age suggested likely.

David Cassidy latched onto a crossfield ball in the very first minute but his half volley was not quite good enough. Lionel Ainsworth shewed well in the early exchanges before providing a telling 15th minute cross that t he Pompey defence managed to hack clear.

The Rams then had two letoffs in quick succession. Firstly Liam Hoested worked himself a good shooting opportunity. His stride beat keeper Ben Kirby only to be cleared from the line by Dan Martin.

Two minutes later with 17 gone Shaun Cooper had the ball in the net. His celebrations were quickly extinguished however by the assistant flagging him offside.

Ainsworth and Karl Ashton combined just before the half hour mark to provide a ball for Chris Turner. However, the Pompey defence stood firm as Turner tried to get into the box.

Ben Kirby had a rare taste of real action 5 minutes before the break rushing off his line to deny Mark Burchill, the ex-Celtic striker, who was one of very few players of experience fielded by either side.

With both teams starting the second period with the same personnel that had played the first 45 early indications were that if Derby were to score the goal would come from midfield as the only real chances fell to Turner who was twice off target with shots from distance.

The breakthrough when it came in the 55th minute owed as much to luck as skill. Though David Cassidy's shot was on target it took a massive deflection off a defender, leaving the keeper flat footed as it ended up the wrong side of the goal for him.

The hosts would have been level 4 minutes later but for Kirby in the Derby goal pushing a James Keene goal bound shot out for a corner.

Burchill had an ideal opportunity to bring the home side level on 68 minutes, but having engineered a shooting opportunity failed to find the target with his shot.

Turner showed good composure 5 minutes later as he calmly took the ball out of defence after a cross from the Portsmouth right flank had come to rest in the penalty box.

Rams attacks became more frequent with Ainsworth wasting a glorious opportunity of his own making. Picked out by Paul Boertien he accelerated into the box on;y to mishit his final shot.

Ainsworth is a player who seems not to let his head drop and he went close in the 87th minute with an angled drive over the bar.

Although both teams were lacking in top flight experience the Rams deserved their win and were good value for their 3 points.