Returning to Fratton Park where we were stuffed 6-1 last season was a daunting prospect for the greatly depleted Leeds squad tonight. Bereft of captain and central defender Paul Butler and his natural replacement at the centre of defence Matthew Kilgallon, both banned for silly red cards against Brigthon, the defence was once again also without Stephen Crainey. In midfield we also continued to miss the injured Jermaine Wright. However, they aquitted themselves significantly better than their highly-paid predecessors, though still bowing out at the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline.
Maybe it's the Carling Cup but probably Leeds United aren't the draw we used to be as only a paltry 15215 fans bothered to watch this cup tie; half the number of fans Leeds get for their Coca-Cola Championship home games. Perhaps Pompey fans are getting a little blasé after two seasons in the Premiership? Either way there will be no financial bonanza for getting through to the third round of the Carling Cup
After 14 minutes the unlikely named Diomansy Kamara cleverly slipped past two tackles and Neil Sullivan's dive to slot his shot just inside the post. Incredibly, Diomansy Kamara who is Portsmouth's record signing at £2.3m was booked for the second time in three days for celebrating a goal by removing his shirt. Hopefully Danny Pugh won't be daft enough to do it twice this season!
With 31 minutes on the clock the Leeds defence continued their poor current form; this time it was Gary Kelly who tripped Valery Mezague in the box as Leeds gave away yet another penalty this season. Unfortunately, despite all the practice he's been getting, Sully failed to save Eyal Berkovic's resulting penalty.
Gary Kelly, villain just minutes before turned hero as he crossed the ball into the box in the 38th minute for Brian Deane to powerfully head home for his first goal of the season (not counting the perfectly good "goal" chalked off by the moron reffing the Sunderland game in September). Although there was no more to come in terms of goals Kevin Blackwell will be pleased to see a Leeds striker with his name on the scoresheet. Tellingly, Kevin Blackwell started Simon Johnson, recalled yesterday from a loan to Sunderland, in preference to Michael Ricketts. Clark Carlisle rounded off a bad few days with a yellow card in the 78th minute though Kevin will be relieved there were no other bookings of Leeds players as a side that has a youthful subs bench of Carson, Lennon, Winter and Keogh cannot afford to lose anymore players!!
Another Yorkshire team that will be "concentrating on the League" is Neil Warnock's Sheff United who were surprisingly beaten 4-2 on penalties by Watford. Full time score was 0-0.
Elsewhere in the cup former Leeds manager David O'Leary watched his Villa side drummed out of the Cup by Championship side Burnley, 3-1. Magnanimous in defeat David said, "The best side won." It was David O'Leary's first return to Turf Moor since his debut as a player back in the mists of time!
The Cup also saw the two longest-serving League managers in England, Dario Gradi and Sir Alec Ferguson meet at Crewe where a star studded Man Utd team, including former Leeds favourite Alan Smith, won 0-3.