Portsmouth 1 West Bromwich Albion 0
It was inevitable that Portsmouth would win. There is an unwritten rule in football about returning managers, struggling teams, players who aren't performing and winning.
The eyes of the footballing world were on Fratton Park to see Harry Redknapp's return. The headlines had already been written and the march to safety was to start with a barnstorming performance at home to their fellow strugglers.
Albion were an afterthought in the equation, the sacrificial lambs who were expected to dutifully play their part of defiant losers.
Instead of a rousing end-toend affair, the two sides played out a scrappy, drab, incident-free encounter.
Redknapp's return was supposed to arouse conflicting passions; hate, forgiveness, hope. In fact, apathy seemed to be the overriding emotion. Not until Svetoslav Todorov struck in the 56th minute did the game and the crowd briefly come to life.
Even then the game failed to spark and apart from a fine save from Tomasz Kuszczak to deny Lomana Tresor Lua Lua, the match quickly returned to its previously uninspiring state.
"I thought it was a scrappy game," said Robson. " I didn't think either side deserved to win. We started the second half quite well, but after a ten minute period we started to get a bit rash with our passing."
A turgid first half exposed why these sides are at the bottom. Portsmouth played like individuals, communication was non-existent and commitment was lacking.
Albion? They huffed and puffed and managed a half-shot from Nathan Ellington that dribbled its way towards goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown and that was it.
The Baggies have hardly set he world alight this season and an inability to win away from home has seen them once more dragged into the fight at the bottom.
Portsmouth may be in trouble and that might have been the story of the weekend, but this loss hasn't done their cause much good.
It will be the manner of his side's demise that will cause Robson most concern. While they are in a better league position than this time last year, they look like being in more trouble.
Here, a lack of creativity in attack meant the ball was launched forward without much thought for what followed and the absence of any discernable cutting edge meant Robson's men were unable to muster a shot worthy of the name in the entire 90 minutes.
Even in the dying moments, when they had four strikers on the pitch, the long ball down the middle was the first and last means of attack.
The failure to break down a side as poor as Portsmouth does not bode well for the Christmas campaign, when safety, or at least the climb towards it, must begin in earnest.
Thankfully for Robson, he has a pair of centre-backs who are on top of their game. Neil Clement and Curtis Davies both had fine games, even if Clement was guilty of being too easily brushed off the ball in the lead-up to Todorov's goal.
But, up front, Albion are struggling and that hasn't been helped by the recent speculation surrounding Robert Earnshaw's future.
Robson made his feelings clear on the subject, before turning his attention to Boxing Day and another tricky away game at Manchester United.
"Robert Earnshaw is contracted to the club for twoand-a-half years," he said. "I've turned down his transfer request and he's got to get on with it. He's paid by us to play for the football club and that's what he has got to do.
"All we've got to do is get focused for Manchester United on Boxing Day. Our away form has been pretty good, but we've been missing chances, so we haven't won games, or took things out of games when we should have.
"Here (Portsmouth) we didn't actually do that. We didn't create any clear-cut chances where we should have scored."
So an unconvincing Portsmouth got the result that was expected and, for the second year running, Albion lost a game they should have won. ..SUPL: