Two first half goals in as many minutes for Bolton and it looked like a
rout was on the cards, but to Pompeys credit they rallied in the second
half to secure an unlikely point.
Portsmouth endured another bout of bad news this week with the official
announcement of their debt blow-out and being denied their Europa League
spot for next season. But despite the gloom hanging over the club, they
continue to show fight and were good for their point against Bolton.
Pompey travelled to the Reebok without their influential midfield duo of
O’Hara & Prince -Boateng, but Aruna Dindane was given the green light to
play from parent club Lens. Youngster Lenny Sowah kept his place at left-back, as Nadir Belhadj was
still unavailable for selection.
John Utaka looked lively early for Pompey and tested Jaaskelainen on a
couple of occasions, but it was Vladimir Weiss, who was involved in both
Bolton goals, that sparked the game into life.
His free-flowing play down the right led to the opener. It ended with Ivan Klasnic glancing his header neatly past David James from Wilshere’s inviting cross. Weiss crossed two minutes later for Kevin Davies to slot home easily inside the box. There was a question of off-side about the second, but the ref allowed it to stand.
Sloppy defending by Pompey could have led to more goals, but they managed to hold on until half-time. Tommy Smith had the best chance of the half for the visitors as he saw his effort rebound off the post from his shot from outside the box just before half-time.
Mokeona took control of the Pompey defence in the second half and cleared without fuss from Matt Taylor early.
It was the on loan man, Dindane, who proved his worth with two goals in five minutes to drag Pompey back into the contest. Frederic Piquionne, on for Yebda at half-time, cut back from the right for Dindane to tuck away his first on 62 minutes.
Bolton almost responded immediately from a corner, but for Tommy Smith’s clearance off the line. It proved a vital change of
fortune for Pompey as minutes later they were back on level terms. Dindane benefited from some persistent work by Utaka. His cutback found Dindane to slot home from close range.
Instead of resting on their good work, Pompey pressed on looking for a winner. Piquionne and Utaka gaining confidence and pushing forward.
After skipping to an easy lead in the first half, Bolton were disappointing in the second half, but they almost nicked it late on. Vanden Borre had the jitters in the box, but managed to clear unpunished and then Davies saw his header hit the post deep into stoppage time. Bolton look safe for another season, mainly due to the mediocity of Hull and Burnley, though they will be looking to bolster their squad over the summer.
Portsmouth, with nothing to play for, continue to show they have plenty of
fight left in them and will look forward to their FA Cup final with