Pompey 1 - Leicester 2

Former Pompey defender Jason Pearce

Pearce: My Pompey return is a big one

Have your say

According to one oft-repeated phrase, there are lies, damned lies and statistics.

Well, for Pompey, the scorelines continue to lie.

Yet the statistics most definitely don’t.

Some 8,327 fans turned out at Fratton Park last night to experience the latest curious feeling of Blues déjà-vu.

For Leicester read Ipswich, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United.

Life as a Pompey fan really is becoming that repetitive.

Countless gilt-edged goal-scoring opportunities spurned, and in the process justice has failed to have been correctly carried out.

Throw in a spot of refereeing controversy and you have the past four games in a perfect nutshell.

Steve Cotterill’s side just cannot put the ball into the back of the net at present.

And it’s a sin which in the past nine days has cost them eight points and a place in the last 16 of the Carling Cup.

Don’t take my word for it, look at the statistics from last night’s predictable instalment.

On nine occasions – yes nine – Pompey had glorious openings to put Leicester to the sword and march into the next round.

No half chances, not chinks in the defence – fully-grown, yawning chasms of opportunity to bury the goal-scoring woes.

At least in Liam Lawrence it was 10th-time lucky as at last the home fans had something to cheer about in the 82nd minute.

But talk about the ones that got away as the Fratton faithful endured that familiar feeling of darkness when there should have been so much light.

· 4 mins – Nugent’s cross from the right picks out Kanu, who places it the wrong side of the post.

· 13 mins – Matt Ritchie squares the ball to the overlapping Liam Lawrence, whose first-time shot is saved by the right boot of Conrad Logan.

· 18 mins – Lawrence’s left-wing corner is met by the head of Aaron Mokoena, only for Tom Kennedy to clear off the line.

· 26 mins – Lawrence’s free-kick cleverly picks out Nugent, who inexplicably elects to head back across goal from just six yards out.

· 30 mins – Following a penalty box scramble, Kanu slides the ball across to Lawrence who shoots straight at Logan.

· 45 mins – Nugent outmuscles Michael Morris to bear down on goal with just Conrad to beat, but his shot is deflected for a corner.

· 53 mins – Ibrahima Sonko powers a header home from Lawrence’s free kick. However, it is disallowed for a push without much protest from the hosts.

· 55 mins – A fantastic pass over the top from Lawrence sends Nugent racing away, but his shot is saved by Logan’s legs.

· 75 mins – A deep ball from Carl Dickinson is headed by Nugent into the path of Lawrence, whose half-volley is pushed out for a corner by Logan.

Nugent, in particular, felt the full wrath of supporters as finally patience towards his profligacy snapped and criticism cascaded down on his forlorn figure.

Another two one-on-one opportunities wasted, in either half, and this time round the smile was permanently wiped off his face.

This was meant to be the season where he returned to his old stomping ground and reminded everyone just what a prolific Championship striker he is.

Unfortunately, Pompey’s faithful followers are still waiting.

While his work-rate, commitment, endeavour and enjoyment for the game can never be questioned, the fact remains Nugent continues to endure wretched form in front of goal.

Now with the likes of Kanu, Dave Kitson and John Utaka vying for spots, his time in the centre-forward role is clearly on its last legs.

He wasn’t the only culpable figure either.

Lawrence, the goal saviour, should have netted a hat-trick.

Instead, he fired his first two efforts at Logan before registering with the third to spark a grandstand finish.

Of course, amid it all, dreadful defending from Pompey provided Leicester with a welcome first-half bunk up.

Firstly, Paul Gallagher fired in a shot which Jamie Ashdown did well to beat out, only for the unmarked Michael Morrison to finish high into the net.

The clock had barely registered two minutes by the time of that strike and, to cap a demoralising first half, Lloyd Dyer had time to chest down and beat Ashdown at his near post on 43 minutes.

No wonder the home fans booed their side off at the break – yet Cotterill’s men returned revitalised.

Still the chances continued, although Pompey’s ambitions were hampered by the 66th minute sending off of Richard Hughes.

The veteran midfielder was given a straight red by referee Fred Graham for foul and abusive language.

Not that it put the hosts too much out of their stride during an impressive second period.

Lawrence finally netted during a barnstorming finale, but there were no other goal-scoring additions.

Could have, should have, the statistics don’t lie.

It was another Pompey victory which slipped away – and that’s the truth.