PompeyFrippy’s review of the 2010/11 Pompey season continues with a look at October 2010.
After 6 points from 6 at the end of September, October started with a trip to the Riverside to take on an underperforming Middlesbrough team. As form dictated, Pompey started the brighter, and thought they had taken the lead when Nugent slot past Luke Steele only for the ball to rebound off the post, with Lawrence hitting row Z with the rebound. This soon came back to haunt the visitors as ‘Boro took the lead when a corner fell kindly to Matthew Bates who blasted home. Just before half time the hosts lead was doubled after Ward clumsily brought down Scott McDonald and Barry Robson smashed the ball home from the spot.
Pompey had yet to pick up any points on the road this season, and it was looking unlikely that this would change until David Nugent nodded home on the hour to ensure a tense finish. The game to’d and fro’d and in the final minutes a corner was easily cleared as ‘Boro looked to score on the counter. As the ball made its way up the other end of the field play was eventually stopped as a result of an off the ball incident that only the linesman saw. Apparently Barry Robson had elbowed Aaron Mokoena in the penalty area following the corner, and the result of this was a straight red card to Robson and an unlikely penalty for the Blues, which Lawrence duly converted to give Portsmouth their first away point of the season, and more importantly, Lawrence showed he had the nerve to score against a team that wasn’t Leicester.
Watford were next up to visit Fratton Park in a match that swung more times than a pendulum on a swing. A sublime strike on the volley from Hayden Mullins gave Pompey a deserved early lead, and despite a lot of Watford pressure, the score remained 1-0 until the last 20 minutes, when Martin Taylor rose above the Pompey defence from a corner to head home. Within 2 minutes the visitors were in front, when Steven McGinn converted a Michael Bryan cross to turn the game on it’s head. Spurred on by this, it didn’t take long for the Blues to level, Kitson in a rich vein of form firing an impressive goal from outside the area. Not content with a point, Pompey pushed forward and with 10 minutes to go Michael Brown picked the ball up and slotted past Hornet’s ‘keeper Scott Loach from 18 yards to send Fratton Park into hysteria with a 3-2 win.
Greg Halford joined the Pompey set-up prior to Pompey’s trip to The Den and came straight into the starting line up adding a new dimension to the Pompey team; the long throw. Millwall were the better team on the night, with Chris Hackett and Alan Dunne hitting the post and crossbar respectively. Pompey had their own chances through Utaka and Nugent but the only goal of the game came with just over 10 minutes to go after Nugent was felled by Hackett, and Lawrence showed great composure to send fellow countryman David Forde the wrong way and extend the Blues unbeaten run to 5 games.
Things were finally looking up for Portsmouth Football Club, on a good run of form, team starting to gel and on the verge of exiting administration. Too good to be true, right? Right.
On the eve of Pompey’s trip to Hull City the club announced “It appears likely that the club will now be closed down and liquidated by the administrators.” Fans, expecting an announcement regarding financial security instead now feared for the clubs future. As the hours progressed, the term brinksmanship was thrown around quite a lot, and the club did their best to calm the fans, but it made for worrying times.
With all these off the field matters, it was refreshing to put it all aside for 90 minutes and enjoy a game of football, and after their first away win of the season, Pompey looked to grab another 3 points from Hull at the KC Stadium. In a game which could have possibly been the last in the clubs history, Pompey started like a team without a care in the world. David Nugent had already struck the crossbar when he put the Blues ahead deep into stoppage time, for once keeping calm when one-on-one with the ‘keeper. The second half had barely started when Greg Halford made it 2-0, drilling a free-kick low past the static Matt Duke. Hull pulled one back with half an hour to go but the Pompey defence held strong under late pressure to secure back-to-back away wins.
Following the match it was announced that Sacha Gaydamak had reached an agreement regarding the money that may have shut down the club, and lay to rest any concerns about the immediate future of the club. This agreement also allowed Portsmouth to exit administration, and in doing so partially lifting the transfer embargo placed on the club the season previous. The storm had been weathered and now calmer waters lay ahead.
Back to football, and the month of October ended with a home match against Nottingham Forest, who very much considered Pompey to be their bogey team. The Blues lived up to this reputation when the scoring was opened by the much criticised Ibrahima Sonko within 20 minutes. Forest were soon level as the impressive Lewis McGugan’s cross found the head of Paul Anderson. Pompey had gained a bit of a reputation of being better second half performers, so it was no surprise when they came out all guns blazing after the break. Nugent and Utaka had already troubled the Forest defence when Liam Lawrence scored yet again for Pompey, firing the ball through a flurry of players. Both teams had chances to add to their tallies, but it ended 2-1 to the Blues.
Off the field, October was an up and down month, with Portsmouth on the verge of exiting administration, to the brink of existence, to financially secure and looking to the future. On the field, there could be no doubting that the club was impressive; 7 games unbeaten, 19 points from 21 scoring 19 goals in the process. What had we done to deserve this?!
Pre-Season Review – here
August Review – here
September Review – here
Written by PompeyFrippy.
The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.