Appleton reign begins in defeat

Joel Ward wins the ball from Watford skipper Adrian Mariappa
Joel Ward wins the ball from Watford skipper Adrian Mariappa
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Michael Appleton’s Pompey reign got off to a dreadful beginning as Pompey crumbled to a miserable 2-0 defeat at Watford.

The Blues got off to the worst possible start inside the first two minutes when keeper Stephen Henderson was beaten from range as a low Michael Kightly shot crept into the bottom corner.

It was a sloppy start from Pompey yet again on the road and they were made to pay for their lacklustre opening.

While they had moments of quality going forward, there was precious little end product, with Dave Kitson unable to latch on to Luke Varney’s cross as Pompey sought an early reply.

But it was Watford who looked the more dangerous side and they doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time when Marvin Sordell volleyed home as he connected with a deep corner.

Appleton, who stood in the technical area for the entire game but never looked especially animated, changed things at the break, with Tal Ben Haim replaced by Benjani.

But Pompey’s fortunes failed to improve and they only mustered their only real threats on the Watford goal in the closing stages through Varney, Kitson and Erik Huseklepp’s free-kick in a poor team display.

In truth, though, Watford should have won by more after spurning some great opportunities – most notably Sordell who wasted a free header from close range as the Blues crashed to defeat without ever looking like they had much hope of dragging themselves back into the game.