Pompey played out one of the most eventful matches I have witnessed for a good few years, the ref took centre stage, waving around cards left , right and centre and making penalty decisions every couple of minutes.
Pompey fell behind after 10 minutes, Bent broke clear and went down under the gentlest of touches from Rocha John Rocha, the penalty may have been so, but from where I was sat Bent was offside as he broke, trouble is the linesman had his head up his arse on the halfway line, to emphasise how badly placed Lino and Ref were, Yebda was originally shown the red, Rocha having to own up to save the raging Algerian. Bent smacked the penalty home and Pompey were a man down, could any one moment capture Pompey’s year more perfectly? I will now make a profound statement, I reckon Rocha’s sending off could be a galvanising moment in Pompey’s season, from then on in every player seemed to put in that little bit extra, Dindane was waspish, O’Hara was, well O’Hara, Basinas threaded and prompted, our defence creaked and groaned as usual, headers were missed but Pompey’s 10 men still pushed for an equaliser and looked the more likely.
Dindane had a good chance around the 25 minute mark, Piquionne found him with a header, but his shot was saved by Gordons legs when he really should of buried it.
O’Hara almost found the net with a blast from wide on the right, and then Pompey had a penalty shout of their own, Dindane moved the ball from right foot to left and then tumbled over, hard to see from the lower South stand but the Fratton end was convinced.
As the teams trudged off for half-time, Avram Grant endeared himself to all Pompey fans by storming onto the pitch to confront a beleagured ref, his fury was evident, he got a red card himself for his troubles, all down in the stand out of the fans view of course.
Second half and parity in numbers was restored, Cattermole followed a yellow for tripping Dindane by cutting Basinas in half on the edge of the box, all to play for.
Pompey, O’Hara in fact scuffed his shot onto the wall, as much as I love the bloke does he ever look threatening when shooting for goal from dead balls?
On the hour the man in black made another call aginst Pompey by waving away Piquionne’s pleas after he appeared to be dragged down, Friend was definitely not acting hospitable to his hosts.
Just after the hour James reinstated himself in Pompey fans good books, Bent broke clear once more but this time Jamo got down and saved when Bent should of doubled his tally. Kilgallon smashed the resulting corner against a post with a great strike and Pompey exhaled.
Piquionne scuffed a header wide from six yards and we looked destined to another unlucky defeat, but Meyler who had been on for what seemed like seconds got himself red carded without touching the ball, what for I could not see.
Belhadj who had come on for compatriot Yebda was firing in quality crosses from the left with no-one connecting and the board went up for 6 minutes bonus time.
Pompey had a flurry of corners and much goal mouth scrambling and then with barely a minute remaining came what maybe this seasons Mendes moment..
O’Hara swung in the deepest of deep crosses and in smuggled Dindane to head home from a tight angle, my larynx finally departed my mouth and Pompey were level, richly deserved but still maybe not enough in the long run.
Passion from the man with the poker face, just what we need.
I’m all for fair play, but when I see Bruce screaming for Reid to pretend to be injured and Gordon to throw the ball out so he can substitute him, should we really return the ball?