Pompey 2 Scunthorpe United 0
In a game ruined by conditions, Pompey eventually mastered the wind and late goals from Omar Bogle and Jamal Lowe sealed the three points. With Barnsley and Luton only managing a point the top of the table looks interesting.
Jackett named an unchanged side with Brett Pitman back in favour filling the number ten role. Viv Solomon-Otabor filled the wide left role vacated by Ronan Curtis.
Regular readers of my match reports over the years will know how I hate to watch games played in gale force winds and that is mostly due to players failing to adapt to conditions. Playing with the wind passes need to be under hit and dead balls played with intelligence; too often in the first half Pompey and Lee Brown, in particular, thumped free kicks and corners into touch because no account was taken of the wind and half time was reached with two chances falling to Lowe one was blocked and the other, he just failed to reach with an outstretched leg.
Solomon-Otabor limped off just before the break with what looked like a calf injury and was replaced by Gareth Evans surprisingly with wide man Lloyd Isgrove on the bench but I assumed Kenny was looking for more power in the inclement conditions.
Into the wind, Pompey still failed to create much against inept opposition until with twenty minutes left when an Evans free kick landed at the feet of Ben Close on the edge of the box as he made progress Bogle took the ball from him and fired a left-foot shot into the bottom corner. Oli Hawkins replaced Bogle and then with three minutes left Lowe got the goal he should have had earlier firing a shot through Alnwick and into the top corner.
So in the end patience paid off but the fans don’t like it when Pompey move the ball across the back four waiting for an opening and holding the ball. These fans are screaming for the ball to be played forward more quickly and they are the fans who claim to hate hoofball.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c) (Donohue 89), Solomon-Otabor (Evans 45+2); Bogle (Hawkins 85)
Goals: Bogle 71, Lowe 87
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Haunstrup, Isgrove
Referee: Peter Wright
Attendance: 17,308 (198 away fans)
Logging the game on pompeyrama.com I find that that is the five hundredth time I have seen Pompey win!
What a stressful day that was. As I am retired, I got the job of buying tickets for numerous fans, eleven in total.
No luck on the phone to Ticketmaster, although not quite the 290 ring backs one fan claimed and the online system just returned and come back later message or we will let you in but do not refresh screen. When into the online system it is difficult to select a row of seats and while you are doing it another user has taken some of them or because of speed problems you simply drop out. Presumably the seats of those booted out are not returned to the system but held in limbo making users think more tickets are sold than have actually gone.
Sunderland sell out by simply asking fans who want tickets to buy a ticket for the next home game against Walsall and get 35,000.
Ronan’s ring finger
The whole world now knows about the accident that happened on Tuesday morning to Pompey star Ronan Curtis. His front door slammed shut on his left hand when it was caught by a huge gust of March wind.
An emergency operation followed to save Ronan’s third finger left hand which was touch and go for a while. Even so on social media rather than sympathy, some ‘fans’ criticise the Irish international for not playing on Tuesday night at Walsall almost accusing him of being a cry baby!
Now, all true fans know that Ronan is certainly no wimp and he would play through pain to get in the Pompey side. After the operation and the stitching back of his finger, there is always a chance the circulation might not be right and the finger could be lost. Anyone breaking a finger will also know that you must keep it above your heart to make the pain bearable.
Good luck Ronan and let’s hope you will be fit for Wembley.
And finally… Panenk-nah
With this snippet, the Football Supporters’ Federation send us all around the world but this week we are much closer to home. The Panenka-style penalty is a risky business – get it right and you look suave leaving the keeper scrambling. Get it wrong and you look like, well, you look like Swansea City’s Bersant Celina at the Hawthorns this week. Truly terrible.