since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 0 - 1 (0) Portsmouth

FA Cup 3rd Round 2007-08

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Referee: M Halsey

Manager: Jim Magilton

Portman Road 15:00

Attendance: 23,446

Manager: Harry Redknapp

Match Number: 3237


 Nugent (51)


Pedro MendesNugent (46)


 Liam Trotter (24)
 Pablo Counago (71)
 Alan Lee (82)
 Hreidarsson (89)









Pedro Mendes












Match Report

Nugent profits after Trotter's harsh dismissal

For Portsmouth, a place in the fourth round and a continuation of their formidable form away from Fratton Park. For Ipswich, an end to an unbeaten home record stretching back to March. For the neutral, a tie that offered the promise of an intriguing afternoon but rarely delivered in a largely mundane match.

A goal by substitute David Nugent put his side in the driving seat. Had a second effort from him been inches lower, they would probably have won with plenty to spare. Instead, 10-man Ipswich plugged away, piled on the pressure at the end and can consider themselves unfortunate that David James in the Portsmouth goal was on top of his game during that spell.

The main talking point, however, was Mark Halsey's dismissal of 19-year-old midfielder Liam Trotter midway through the first half for what the referee deemed an unacceptable challenge on Pedro Mendes. From high up in the stand, it looked the correct decision, particularly in the light of the recent clampdown on two-footed tackles. However, Jim Magilton and Harry Redknapp voiced a different view, with the Ipswich manager scathing in his criticism.

Magilton, who claimed that Portsmouth coach Joe Jordan had influenced the fourth official in favour of red when Halsey was favouring yellow, said: 'The lad is inconsolable. He feels he has let everyone down. But he has done nothing to be ashamed of.

'It was a very dubious sending off. We can thank Joe for that,' Magilton added. 'Liam was a little bit late and such an experienced referee should have dealt with it with a yellow card.

'To be fair it probably took the edge off Portsmouth. Maybe one or two switched off, thinking it would be an easy day. But I'm still proud of my team. Their keeper made three world-class saves.'

Redknapp said: 'I was surprised when the red came out. It looked a bit harsh. The challenge was a little late and probably worth a yellow.

'I would be lying if I said Nugent had done enough with us,' he admitted. 'But he will get some games in the next few weeks and hopefully this will have done his confidence good.'

When Trotter dived in on Mendes, there looked to be little chance of Ipswich causing an upset. Portsmouth, despite looking happy enough to work through the low gears, did enough to control proceedings.

Nugent, who will get his chance because of several Pompey players leaving for the African Nations Cup, replaced Mendes and, after Danny Haynes demanded a save low down from James, made his mark when Sol Campbell pumped the ball down the middle. Nugent got goal-side of Alex Bruce and went on to beat Ipswich goalkeeper Neil Alexander with a tidy finish.

Later Nugent, meeting John Utaka's cross, fired against the bar. Then he played the ball into the path of Nwankwo Kanu, who from just outside the penalty area blazed over when he should have done much better.

Pape Bouba Diop was at least on target with a firm header, but Alexander saved comfortably. Another chance went begging when Utaka failed to convert a deflected cross from Hermann Hreidarsson at the far post. After that it was all Ipswich. Pablo Counago failed to control the ball in a goalmouth scramble and the chance was lost. Substitute Alan Lee's header was saved at full stretch by James, who then denied Haynes with an excellent one-handed stop.

Stuart Barnes (The Observer)

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