The Fall And Rise Of Jamie Ashdown
The Pompey 'keeper is rebuilding his reputation. I remember when Jamie Ashdown first made a run of appearances for Portsmouth when he was regarded as a champion after being drafted in to replace the inept Kostas Chalkias back in 2005.Times have changed in the five years since then and Ashdown went from regular first-team player, to regular bench-warmer, to regular reserve player to being discarded altogether before pre-season began.David James' reluctance to sign a new deal meant that Jamie earned a reprieve at the start of this current campaign and there was the feeling that he would do well in the Championship. However, Ashdown was targeted by Pompey fans as one of the weakest links in the side and he didn't help his cause by making a mistake right at the start of the opening Championship fixture at Coventry.But as the season has progressed and improved, so has the confidence and ability of the Portsmouth 'keeper.He kept Pompey in the game at Carrow Road on Saturday with some fine saves but that isn't the only match where he has produced some excellent shot stopping to prevent Pompey from losing.Yes, he makes mistakes just like every goalkeeper but I think some fans are beng unfair on the man. If you've watched other Championship games this season often enough, you'll see that every goalkeeper makes more mistakes or have more costly lapses in concentration than what they would in the top flight. We need to remember that this isn't the Premier League and the superb goalkeepers in this division are few and far between. Ashdown also has an extremely tough act to follow in David James so it's unfair to compare the two, given that the latter was England's goalkeeper for the majority of the World Cup.It's in a football fans' nature to highlight the mistakes a goalkeeper makes and Pompey fans are no exception when it comes to Ashdown, in fact we're probably harsher due to having Jamo in goal for the last four years.Yet it's easy to forget how often Ashdown has bailed Pompey out after poor defending has gifted the opposition the perfect opportunity to score. He is an excellent shot-stopper and is also alert enough to come out of his goal and more often than not, deny the striker from scoring a one-on-one.I'm not saying that Ashdown is amazing because there are plenty of aspects of his game that he could improve. He could be more effective in commanding his area and he should show more authority when coming for corners for starters.But I think we've been too harsh on him recently and he's nowhere near as bad as some fans say he is. You have to give credit where credit is due and Ashdown's recent performances have earned that.
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