Boro 0 Portsmouth 4

Last updated : 29 August 2006 By Richard Watts
Boro played 4-4-2 and made two changes to the team succesful against Chelsea. Viduka came in up front for full back Davies and Cattermole replaced Rochemback in midfield.

Portsmouth got off to a dream start. On 5 minutes Riggott brought down Kanu just outside the box. From the free kick Stefanovich's on target strike was well turned away by Schwarzer. The Boro defence failed to clear the resultant corner and Kanu tapped the ball in from close range.

On 15 minues Boro finally put some pressure on Portsmouth's back line, a spell of three successive Downing corners was ended by James saving Yakubu's tame header.

Downing continued to be at the heart of Boro's best work, on 25 minutes he cut in from the left and set up Cattermole whose drive was blocked on the edge of the box; then Cattermole headed on for Yakubu but Primus cleared the danger.

Then on 37 minutes, Kanu was given too much time on the edge of the Boro penalty area and his drive was well saved by Schwarzer.

Boro had plenty of the ball in the last ten minutes of the half but made no impression on the Portsmouth back line that was well marshalled by Primus and Campbell.

Half time - Boro 0 Portsmouth 1

Another great start to the half for Pompey. On 49 minutes Kanu won a corner. The Boro defence slept in as Portsmouth took a short one, the ball came in and Bejani rose above Boateng to head in to make it 2-0.

Boro tried to hit back. Mendieta drove just over on 50 minutes. On 53 minutes he was brought down on the edge of the box. Downing's quick free kick was brilliantly turned over by James.

The game was ended as a contest on 56 minutes. With Boro on the attack the Portsmouth defence cleared to Kanu on halfway. Surrounded by three Boro defenders he flicked the ball clear and then ran the length of the Boro half to slide the ball in past Schwarzer to make it 3-0.

Southgate made a triple substitution on 70 minutes, Rochemback, Morrison and Christie replacing Mendieta, Cattermole and Viduka.

In reality the changes made little difference, Boro had plenty of the ball in the later stages but never seriously threatened James in the Pompey goal.

It got worse for Boro in injury time when substitute Todorov made it 4-0.

Full Time - Boro 0 Portsmouth 4.

Yet again Boro have followed a great performance against a top side with a shambles of a display against one of the Division's lesser lights. Kanu was outstanding up front for Portsmouth and he led Boro's errant defence a merry dance. Sloppy defending was to blame for all the goals. Two set pieces, allowing a striker to run half the length of the pitch and then getting the offside trap wrong. If Woodgate is to come he is badly needed and he needs to be the player he was three years ago. Up front the only Boro threat came down the left hand side via Downing. Nothing was created down the right where there was a lack of width and balls down the centre were easy for Primus and Campbell.