Friend’s our foe again in Hammers defeat

Mark Noble scores from the penalty spot to help West Ham to victory at Pompey
Mark Noble scores from the penalty spot to help West Ham to victory at Pompey
Gareth Evans wins the ball above Bournemouth's Joshua King at Fratton Park. Picture:  Shaun Boggust

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Pompey’s recent run of good form came to an end as they went down to a controversial 1-0 home defeat to West Ham.

The Blues slipped to defeat as a solitary first-half Mark Noble penalty was the difference between the sides as Pompey were reduced to 10 men early in the second half when David Norris was shown a straight red card.

Referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot when Tal Ben Haim was adjudged to have fouled Winston Reid after some grappling in the area.

And the official further infuriated the home fans in the second half when he showed a straight red card to Norris for a mistimed sliding challlenge on Reid that didn’t look worthy of a sending off at first glance and left fans and players shocked at the decision.

The Blues put in a creditable display after the break but had to concede the majority of the possession.

But they almost snatched a late draw when Marko Futacs blazed his shot over the crossbar from the edge of the area.

The visitors had looked dangerous on the break and just about edged the first quarter of the contest before the referee eventually awarded the spot-kick after two decent appeals were turned down at both ends.

Futacs went down in the box under a last-ditch James Tomkins tackle, where the Hammers defender just about appeared to get the ball, while Greg Halford got away with a challenge on Julien Faubert with the visiting fans baying for a penalty.

Neither looked cast-iron penalties but then Ben Haim saw his challenge penalised as the referee caved in under pressure.

Noble just about beat Stephen Henderson from 12 yards with the Pompey keeper getting a hand to it, although the Blues gathered themselves and were well on top as half-time approached.

Liam Lawrence saw a curling effort palmed away by Robert Green, while the former England keeper clawed away jason Pearce’s effort from a corner that looked destined for the top corner.

But Green kept Pompey at bay up until the break and then the chances dried up after the break with the Blues forced to play the final 34 minutes with 10 men.