West Ham 0 Portsmouth 1
With Portsmouth looking tired and with West Ham forced into changes the first half of this game was rather disjointed. The West Ham players looked like they were unused to playing together and the spine of the side was made up of pairings (Spector and Ferdinand, Mullins and Parker and Ashton and Zamora) who just haven't had much time together this season.
West Ham's best chance of the half fell to Zamora. In the 16th minute Solano played a through ball that sent Zamora free. Zamora dragged the ball around James in goal but forced himself a little wide and then scuffed his shot across the face of the open goal.
Portsmouth's best chance fell to Nugent, when a Mendez flick gave him space on the edge of the box. Nugent's shot however flew two yards wide of the right hand post.
Late on in the half Ashton forced James to palm the ball out for a corner with a rasping 25 yard effort. Two minutes later Solano had a free-kick from about the same spot but his shot deflected off the wall and wide of the right hand post.
Whereas West Ham were only poor in the first half, in the second half they were awful. The general tactic seemed to be to stroll about passing the ball across the back-line with the occasional pass into midfield to be passed straight back to the defence, who would then dawdle on the ball until they hoofed it aimlessly up field where Distin or Campbell would head the ball clear.
Because West Ham were so awful Portsmouth decided they might as well wake up a bit and have a few pot shots at goal. West Ham allowed Krancar and then Johnson twice to have space to shoot from around 25 yards. Whilst those efforts missed it didn't need a degree in rocket science to see that West Ham were losing the midfield battle and needed cover in that space in front of the defence.
Curbishley brought on Sears up front for Zamora.
Three minutes later Krancar strolled off the left wing into that space in front of the West Ham penalty area and shot from 25 yards into the bottom left of the goal.
Mullins and Parker were completely overrun in midfield defensively and were creating nothing going forward but Curbishley decided to leave them both on for the whole game. Consequently I don't think West Ham created one chance in the second half.
As I said, awful. In all honesty against a stronger, more alert team that could have been another thrashing.