Pompey 0 - Bristol City 0

Love him or loathe him, you can't deny Jermain Defoe got lucky.

Struck down by a dreaded case of the lurgy, he was confined to his sick bed for Pompey's FA Cup defence.

Others were not quite so blessed.

Namely some 12,000 unfortunate south-coast souls who braved the bitter conditions to turn out to watch the Blues host Bristol City.

At least Defoe was expected to rise Lazarus-like to resume training today.

A perfect example of the wonders of modern medicine these days, that and the magic a little bit of rest can cast to aid the body's constitution.

For others, however, the dreadful spectacle they witnessed is going to take a little longer to recover from.

Sadly, it's going to linger in the system for a good while yet and no amount of Lemsip will alleviate the pain.

Quite simply, Pompey were awful in their first FA Cup fixture since that glorious Wembley occasion.

The only positive is not that many were present to digest it.

Back in sunny May, 89,874 supporters roared on both sides in addition to a world-wide audience numbering 400m viewers.

On Saturday, 14,446 plucky fans turned up, incidentally the lowest Fratton Park crowd since Blackburn at home in the Carling Cup in October 2007.

Television rights holders Setanta and ITV didn't even bother showing the FA Cup holders in live action, a bemusing decision which ultimately proved inspired.

As for the man who danced with delight with the famous old cup on the Wembley turf that memorable day, Sacha Gaydamak was also nowhere to be seen.

Let's hope he too has not been struck down by the Defoe illness, after all, his prized signature is needed on plenty of cheques during the transfer window.

Some more arrivals on the playing side are definitely required at Fratton Park at present as Tony Adams' difficult reign continues.

And if the point ever needed proving, Saturday fired out the message loud and clear as the Blues embarrassingly failed to overcome their Championship opposition.

Admittedly robbed of Defoe in addition to injury victims Glen Johnson, Papa Bouba Diop, Richard Hughes and John Utaka, Pompey were undoubtedly understrength for their City encounter.

Martin Cranie was rushed back from a loan spell at Charlton to feature in his first Blues match for more than 16 months, while rookie right-back Marc Wilson was converted into a rookie midfielder.

There was another rare start for David Nugent, likewise Arnold Mvuemba, and that was the starting line-up.

Meanwhile, Lauren, who is being pushed happily towards the Fratton Park exit, was on the substitutes' bench, such are the lack of options at present.

It is worth noting that three of the midfield which secured the FA Cup eight-and-a-half months ago are no longer on the books.

In retrospect, no wonder they subsequently struggled to put Gary Johnson's side to the sword on a flat south-coast afternoon.

Yet there was still plenty of talent in Adams' side to have overcome a team lying 12th in the division below and boasting just one player with any Premier League experience.

Had it not been for David James' marvellous finger-tip save from Bradley Orr's header on 70 minutes, they could yesterday morning have been nursing hangover of defeat.

Imagine that furore at a time when Adams is already burdened by four successive Premier League losses amid growing doubts over his ability among some sections of fans.

Extenuating circumstances aside, this was another well-below-par Pompey performance.

Niko Kranjcar, thankfully back on song, did his best to provide many a creative spark, at times bemusing City's players with his skill.

He also wasted the best chance of the match when he somehow headed Peter Crouch's clever pass wide from just six yards out during the second half.

Unmarked and in plenty of space, it was a miss befitting a player hardly renowned for his heading ability.

Surely anyone else and it would have been in the back of the net.

However, that chance should not detract overall from Kranjcar's bright display, the Croatian looking like the only player in the Pompey team able to break down plucky Bristol.

Sadly, performances like Saturday's have been few and far between in his injury-wrecked season, but at least he reminded us all what he can achieve when he is on his game.

It's just a shame he still couldn't inspire his side to victory over a team they were rightfully expected to defeat, especially on home turf.

In the absence of Defoe, Adams opted to continue the 4-5-1 system which was so impressive at Arsenal, with Crouch as the lone striker.

Yet while the England striker won plenty in the air, not enough bodies arrived from the centre of midfield to take advantage and so one of the chief attacking instruments was criminally underused.

With the midfield triumvirate of Sean Davis, Wilson and Mvuemba unable to arrive into the penalty area often enough the City defence were not tested sufficiently.

At least one outrageous piece of skill from Kranjcar on nine minutes saw him lift the ball over the head of the approaching Orr and then fire in an effort which flashed just wide.

On the half-hour mark, a Kranjcar corner from the right was met by the head of Sylvain Distin, prompting Adriano Basso into a fantastic stop.

The Brazilian keeper somehow kept out the defender's follow-up too and the visitors breathed again.

In the second period, Mvuemba had the ball in the net only for the goal to be chalked off for off-side while Davis crashed in a magnificent 30-yard volley which had Basso struggling.

Kranjcar's miss can also not be forgotten – but overall they were the sum of Pompey's attempts on the City goal.

Adams and some of his team afterwards pointed out to the positives of a rare clean sheet and the end of the losing run.

But the result and display were simply not good enough and what's the betting Defoe won't be around for the replay a week tomorrow either.

Except it won't be illness keeping him away, rather a Spurs contract.