Two weeks ago we visited Birmingham City where we have a bad record now this Saturday we are Second City bound again to Aston Villa where our record is even worse!!
This will be our 35th visit to Villa Park in a league game and we have won only FOUR times, in fact only twice since the war!! I was lucky enough to be there on one of those occasions.
As with our last two opponents, Everton and Birmingham, our paths first crossed when we reached the First Division in 1927 when, after a 3-1 victory at Fratton in August, the return fixture 5 days later ended in a 7-2 thumping; hardly an auspicious start for Pompey.
Fixture Computer Problem
There was a major problem with the fixture computer the next season when Pompey entertained Villa on Christmas Day and won 3-2. The reverse fixture was on Boxing Day and this time Villa won 3-2. Now what would Premier League managers have to say about that? Having to play games on successive days, with the same opponents and with a fair bit of travelling involved would have upset most of them. No motorways in those days remember. And of course playing on Christmas Day as well!!
Oh the problem with the Fixture Computer – nobody had yet invented it!! And to be honest this back-to-back fixtures was a very common occurrence as were Christmas Day games.
In April 1930 Pompey achieved their first win at Villa by a solitary goal and repeated the feat two years later. The two clubs spent all but one of 24 seasons together in the top division – Villa spent the 1937/38 season in Division Two but came straight back – before they were relegated together in 1959. Villa did the double over Pompey and went straight back up, Pompey were bound for Division Three the next year.
Our paths next crossed in 1968 after Villa were relegated to Division Two. My first visit to Villa Park came in February 1969 where Pompey were unlucky to lose an excellent game 2-0. I was to return the next season and while the game was not as enjoyable the result certainly was.
The last away win
It was 17th January 1970 on a very wet and windy afternoon that Pompey visited Tommy Doherty managed Aston Villa who were sitting at the bottom of Division Two. still have the programme from the game and you can read my review here.
The game was littered with mistakes, a number of them made by Villa’s Welsh International keeper John Phillips. The game was 2-2 at half time but in the early part of the second half everything Pompey hit ended up in Phillips’ net. At 5-2 up most fans would feel comfortable but we had to withstand huge pressure for the last 20 minutes as the home side attacked their favourite Holte End. They pulled one back but Milkins and co held out for a famous 5-3 victory. Pompey goals were scored by Albert McCann (2), Ray Hiron, Ray Pointer and Jim Storrie.
The Villa fans were unhappy with manager Docherty at the end. The board agreed and the Doc was sacked the next Monday and replaced him with former player Vic Crowe.
After that rare occurrence Villa restored normal order and won the next six encounters over thirty-seven years until the goalless draw in April. That game was most remembered for the day David James broke the Premier League clean sheet record held by David Seaman, a record that he has continued to enhance at a great rate this season.
How will this Saturday’s game finish? Enter your prediction here
Written by eastneydave.
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