Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Monday January 2 2012
WATFORD`S UNBEATEN run came to a halt at Fratton Park with goals from Marko Futacs and Hayden Mullins securing a convincing win for Portsmouth.
Futacs opened the scoring in the second-half with a header before Mullins wrapped up the points a few minutes after Scott Loach had been sent off for the 'Orns.
Watford continued with the same XI that dismantled Doncaster Rovers on New Years Eve whilst Portsmouth boss Michael Appleton replaced suspended duo Greg Halford and Joel Ward with Tal Ben Haim and Aaron Mokoena who moved back into defence. Eric Huseklepp and Mullins came into the midfield.
The hosts had two good opportunities in the first 11 minutes with Huseklepp going close with a pile-driver before Mullins went close from the resulting corner.
Huseklepp went close once more shortly after when he cracked another effort toward goal which was blocked before reaching Loach between the sticks.
Dave Kitson saw the best chance of the half kept out by Loach who denied the giant forward after 38 minutes with a save at full-stretch.
Prince Buaben saw a good strike well blocked for a corner seconds before half-time with what was Watford`s first serious effort on goal.
Watford got out the blocks quickly in the second period with Troy Deeney poking a centre from Mark Yeates into the arms of Stephen Henderson.
Ten minutes into the second half, Portsmouth took the lead through young forward Futacs. The Hungarian bagged his first goal in English football against Leicester at the weekend and snatched a second with a powerful header from eight yards out following a short Pompey corner routine.
Liam Lawrence had gone close from the corner which saw Futacs score, Loach once again at the top of his game to deny the ex-Stoke midfielder.
Pompey skipper David Norris was the next man to test Loach, the 'Orns stopper equal once more to the former Plymouth and Ipswich midfielder`s shot.
With 19 minutes to go, Appleton`s side thought they had doubled their lead as Liam Lawrence nodded home following Loach`s stop to deny Joe Mattock. The Ireland winger was however ruled as offside.
Michael Kightly got a rare opportunity off for Watford when he cracked an effort at Stephen Henderson who stopped the winger`s effort at the second attempt.
With nine minutes to go, the advantage swung in Portsmouth`s direction when Scott Loach was dismissed. Loach appeared to be fouled on the edge of his area, accidentally handling the ball in the process.
With a handful of minutes left on the clock, Mullins drilled home the host`s second with ease to secure the points for Appleton`s side.
Goal-scorer Futacs nearly added a second deep into injury-time when he ran on before unleashing a shot with clipped the bar before going over.
Portsmouth: Henderson; Ben Haim, Pearce, Mokoena, Mattock; Lawrence, Mullins; Kitson, Norris (c), Huseklepp; Futacs.
Subs not used: Ashdown (gk); Hreidarsson, Williams, Benjani & Kanu.
Watford: Loach; Hodson, Nosworthy, Mariappa (c), Dickinson; Yeates (Eustace), Buaben (Bond), Hogg, Kightly; Deeney (Iwelumo) & Sordell.
Subs not used: Doyley & Garner.
Referee: Mr I Williamson.
Date:Monday January 2 2012
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Preview: Doncaster Rovers (A) - March 11 (Sunday March 9 2014)
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