Pompey Punish Poor Donny
Portsmouth 3 Doncaster Rovers 1
Two goals from Luke Varney either side of a close range header from Dave Kitson were enough to defeat a poor Doncaster Rovers side at Fratton Park.
The first goal came very early on via "route one" football as Stephen Henderson's long punt upfield was missed by every Donny defender, leaving Varney to tap the ball past Neil Sullivan in the box.
Kitson then could have added to the score but his header was cleared off the line by George Friend as the home side flew out of the traps with some good attacking football early on in the match.
However, that tempo wasn't maintained and the visitors grew into the game as Henderson did well to save Kyle Bennett's stinging drive.
Rovers continued to attack and grabbed an equaliser when Billy Sharp's corner found ex-Southampton man Simon Gillett on the edge of the box and he lashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net.
Pompey got worse as the half continued as passes were being misplaced and some silly fouls were being committed in frustration as both sides went into the break level.
Just like when Steve Cotterill was in charge, Pompey improved in the second half with a couple of excellent balls across the goal not being found by a player in a blue shirt on the end of it.
But the pressure told eventually as some more poor Doncaster defending allowed David Norris to head the ball over Sullivan after he miscued his first attempt. Kitson bundled the ball over the line to be sure and claimed the goal as his own although Norris will have a case that it was his.
The victory was then secured as Erik Huseklepp used his pace to get the better of Pascal Chimbonda and square the ball for Varney in the box who had the simplest of finishes.
There was to be little threat from Dean Saunders' men after that goal and Pompey coasted the rest of the match to secure an important three points that sees the club sit in 15th place in the Championship.
This wasn't a fantastic performance by any means, especially in the first half which became scrappy and lacked any quality football after Doncaster equalised.
Thankfully, the lads had an extra gear and played some good football to defeat what was ultimately poor opposition. It was good to see far less hoofball and bookings and hopefully the new manager will continue this philosophy.
But who will the new man be? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the surprise candidate to be mentioned yesterday and today the tabloids are reporting that Burnley's Eddie Howe is being considered by CSI as the man to take the job.
That saga may well drag on into next week but whilst we shouldn't get carried away with two home wins over Barnsley and Doncaster, it's safe to say that Gray and Whittingham are ensuring that he won't be managing a team lacking confidence.
Pompey Player Ratings
Stephen Henderson: 7 - Looks like he is the established number one goalkeeper now.
Greg Halford: 6 - Solid once again.
Jason Pearce: 6 - Comfortable defending.
Ricardo Rocha: 6 - Kept the ball on the deck.
Tal Ben-Haim: 7 - Very under-rated player, good with the ball at his feet.
Liam Lawrence: 6 - Still not at his best.
Hayden Mullins: 6 - Kept things ticking.
David Norris: 6 - Goal may well be his.
Erik Huseklepp: 6 - Quiet until his flash of pace set up Varney.
Luke Varney: 7 - Took his goals well even if they were set up on a plate for him.
Dave Kitson: 7 - Looks a different player since Cotterill left.
Joel Ward (Huseklepp 87): N/A - Token substitution.
Marko Futacs (Kitson 87): N/A - Late change.
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