Survival PART 3 ? The Concluding Chapter
Table as at 17/4/2006 PREDICTED 31/3/2006 in Survival 2
Pompey 35-34 (-24)
West Brom 35-31 (-22)
Birmingham 34-29 (-22)
Sunderland 35-12 (-40)
ACTUAL as at 17/4/2006 ? Pompey and West Brom are 2 pts worse, Birmingham and Sunderland are as predicted.
Pompey 35-32 (-25)
Birmingham 34-29 (-22)
West Brom 35-29 (-23)
Sunderland 34-12 (-39)
And so as the end draws near, we all face the final curtain as the Premiership relegation battle enters the home straight. Who will have the bottle or will Lady Luck play a huge part. Will it be a sublime substitution or a late disputed penalty that condemns someone to the depths of despair. This last chapter in a bitter struggle looks set to go all the way to the end, where fingernails, nerves and countless sleepless nights are set to reach new heights.
A win for Birmingham over Blackburn will once again push Pompey back into the drop zone. But Blackburn have not given up yet on Champions League aspirations following a Spurs loss to Man. Utd on Easter Monday. Birmingham fans are jubilant as they score the opening game of a tense match, but Blackburn counter, much to PFC fans delight. And the game ends all square at 1-1.
Portsmouth are embroiled in a tense struggle with already relegated Sunderland who Pompey know forced a draw at old Trafford a week earlier. Sunderland though lost it in the Tyne-Wear derby and are now back to earth about their fate. An early goal is, however not forthcoming, so Pompey throw all their might into attack. The rewards of this are evident in the second half as Pompey do what they did at the Stadium of Light and tear Sunderland apart. A fit Lua Lua is on hand to grab a brace and Pompey are home to the tune of 3-0.
Birmingham are out to maintain their challenge against an Everton side who will be without Lee Carsley, but do not get the result they want and are forced to settle for a 1-1 draw. Meanwhile West Brom are virtually out of contention as they go down 2-0 to a Newcastle side still looking at European football.
Pompey 36-35 (-22)
Birmingham 36-31 (-22)
West Brom 36-29 (-25)
A win now at Wigan will assure Pompey Premier League status, but there are anxious waits on potential injury candidates, notably Lua Lua and Davis.
Birmingham in a never say die attitude beat Newcastle 1-0 to keep the nerves jangling and so 2 days later will Pompey have their date with destiny ?
The pressure is back again on Pompey who fail to beat Wigan, even without De Zeuw. With a 1-1 draw Pompey must now beat Liverpool or hope that Birmingham do not beat Bolton on the final day. West Brom are relegated despite a battling 2-1 win over West Ham.
Pompey 37-36 (-22)
Birmingham 37-34 (-21)
West Brom 37-32 (-24)
This is all too much to take, and though nothing like last years 4 battlers, all eyes and ears up and down the country are centered on Fratton Park and The Reebok. Liverpool take the lead in the 20th minute, whist Birmingham are giving their all at Bolton. This is not for the faint hearted and the news from Bolton rocks the Fratton faithful as news filters through that Birmingham are ahead. Half time arrives and at this point of time, if scores remain unaltered, we are heading for the Championship.
Second half and the tempo is lifted at Fratton, Pompey in a desperate bid to retrieve something. Liverpool have an eye on next weeks FA Cup Final and are starting to rest players. Others though are hoping for a spot next week so there is no lying down. In the 75th minute Pompey find a way through the Liverpool defence and Benjani gets his first goal of the season for the Blues. The goal is celebrated with renewed enthusiasm but the all important score line is still 250 miles further North, where on 80 minutes Birmingham have conceded a dubious penalty. Converted it is this goal that will ultimately condemn Birmingham to Championship football as no further goals but countless nerves are affected in the closing minutes at both matches. Elsewhere West Brom earn a point at Everton.
In the end Pompey could have lost to Liverpool but with 10 minutes to go we were playing in a different league to the one that we will now once again grace for at least another season. After all this who needs the World Cup.
Pompey 38-37 (-22)
Birmingham 38-35 (-21)
West Brom 38-33 (-24)
Please, please let?s do it at Wigan, wake up Dave, wake up?..
I?m sure you will join me on saying to Dave, what a fantastic article!!
COME ON POMPEY!!