Back Page – Match report
Pompey got their home season of to the start they would have wanted but not perhaps in the chosen manner.
The game bore an uncanny likeness to the first home game last season – University City visitors, Pompey one up with a header from a left wing cross and a needless sending off; but that is where the similarity ends. Last season Pompey folded at lost 4-1 but this side is made of sterner stuff with Awfs orchestrating his side with different formations and a wise use of his substitutes.
The game though started with Pompey generally in control and probing the Cambridge defence with the best effort being from Miles Storey that cannoned back off the Milton End crossbar. United had an excellent save by Paul Jones to show for their efforts.
Pompey were playing the ball around patiently waiting for an opportunity and the fans were screaming for them to play with more urgency. Storey was then slipped in on the left flank and his cross was flicked past visiting keeper Chris Dunn by the head of Ryan Taylor. Then came the turning point with Adam Webster booked earlier for hauling back Harrison Dunk then was shown a second yellow for a late challenge on the same player. Awfs immediately sacrificed the impressive Nigel Atangana to allow Joe Devera to slot in a right back.
As the second half the crowd realised that they now had a role play if they wanted three valuable points and gradually turned un the volume. Blue Army..Blue Army rang out around the old ground by fans who seem now to have a belief in their side and an appetite to work together and forge a successful season that they certainly deserve.
The crescendo reached fever pitch on 66 minutes when Jed Wallace and Jack Whatmough both had efforts from a corner and as Danny Hollands attempted to sweep the ball home two United defenders got in each other`s way and he ball ricocheting in the corner of the net off of Tom Bonner. I wondered whether Ryan Taylor, by now relaxing on the bench, gave a wry smile as it was Bonner who have given him a rough time in the first period and referee Sheldrake had turned a blind eye to his appeals.
The visitors did pull one back two minutes later which led to a frenetic last twenty minutes only punctuated by the odd spell of Pompey pressure. The back three, four or five earned the luck they got with their 100% dedication to get that win bonus. Behind them Paul Jones after one early spot of hesitation was a colossus coming for all high balls and catching them cleanly.
Awfs will need to shuffle his pack again on Tuesday when the Cobblers come to town with probably Alex Wynter slotting in a right back but then again he may opt for a back three or he may play another system. He is becoming a manager with plenty of Plan Bs.
Pompey (4-2-3-1) Jones, Webster, Robinson, Whatmough, Shorey (c), Dunne, Hollands, Wallace Atangana (Devera 45), Storey (Bird 84), Taylor (Holmes 63)
Goals Taylor 34, Bonner 66 (og)
Sent off Webster (two yellow cards)
Subs not used Bass, Butler, Awford, Westcarr
Next week`s opponents
On Tuesday Northampton Town come to Fratton Park, a ground they have not won on since 1924. Fans old enough will remember the second visit the Cobblers in Division Four back in 1979/80 as it was the biggest home win of the season.
Town were unbeaten in six but Pompey buried them with six from Alan Rogers, Jeff Hemmeman (2), Steve Aizlewood, Dave Gregory and Joe Laidlaw on the scoresheet. Pompey of course clinched promotion by winning the return fixture on the last day of the season.
Pompey trips to Oxford United are in more recent times. The first ever visit was scheduled for Boxing Day 1968 but was snowed off (I was on the way when the news came through. It was eventually played on 5 March 1969 and Pompey lost 3-1 with Ray Hiron on the scoresheet.
No fan of course will forget the 5-5 in 1992 when Pompey were 5-2 up with ten minutes left but then again you might choose to though
Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley had a bad start to his side’s Capital One Cup first-round encounter with Rotherham, turning up at the wrong ground.
The Millers relocated in July 2012 from the Don Valley Arena in Sheffield to the New York Stadium in Rotherham but it seems Pilley’s navigation technology was unaware of the move. ‘Disaster. We have just arrived at the Don Valley. Damn sat nav has took us to old ground,’ Pilley tweeted. (Ed – Why do people always blame the sat nav? Have they not the spatial awareness to read a map?)
It meant Pilley was 4.5 miles away from the correct venue when he discovered the problem, forcing him into a quick rerouting to get to the game. To make matters worse, Fleetwood lost the game 1-0.
Pilley later told BBC Radio 5 live: ‘The joys of modern technology. I can’t remember missing a kick-off for many a year. We put Rotherham United FC in the system and turned up at the ground and my son said to me ‘there is not many here is there dad?’ to which I said ‘there is no-one here, we are at the wrong ground!’
‘I remember the good old days when you would look for floodlights and the glare would take you to the stadium.’ (Ed – now you are talking!)
Well that reminds me of something that happened to me many years ago. I travelled to Bournemouth for a pre-season friendly in the late sixties and after arriving at Bournemouth station I found a map to look for Dean Court. No luck but found Dean Park and assumed it was the same place. On arrival I realised that I was at (the then) Hampshire County Cricket ground and not the home of Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic!
After getting directions I then had a two mile walk to the football ground – tip for those going by train is get off at Pokesdown which is much closer!
The joy of six
While Pompey managed just a solitary goal to see off the Posh on Tuesday night, in East London it was a completely different story.
Referee Keith Hill needed to sharpen his pencil as his notebook filled up with the final score after extra time being Daggers 6 Bees 6. That was a score that has never happened in a League Cup game before, in fact twelve goals has only occurred once when Arsenal won 7-5 at Reading two years ago. As far as I can ascertain it is only the third time in English football that a game has finished 6-6 – the last being Charlton and Middlesbrough in 1960. I also think it is the only the second time a team has scored six goals and lost – other being Huddersfield Town also at Charlton in 1957 – game finished 7-6.
And this is where there is a Pompey link. Johnny Summers scored five for Charlton that day a feat he would repeat against Pompey three years later! Sadly Johnny died of Cancer in 1962.
Back in the old days of Toast (ah those were the days) in 2010 we wrote about the Motherwell and Hibernian game that finished with six for one and half a dozen for the other which is the Scottish record. Well now we have an English one too.
Pity only 1,576 turned up though for a London derby. For the record Brentford won 4-2 on penalties and Dagenham have still never won a League Cup game since they entered the league in 2007.
Notice that Pompey have been joined in the Blue Shirts, White Shorts and Red Socks strip club. The club changing their socks are Carlisle United.
Good to see Richard Money back at Fratton Park. He had three injury blighted seasons here in the mid 80s and I had the pleasure of spending an evening during that time. In Eastney we were holding a Sporting dinner and wanted a special guest. We wrote to Pompey and Alan Ball replied that he would be honoured to represent the club – tickets sold well! Sadly a day or two before the event Bally had to cry off but promised a stand-in.
It was Richard who turned up and obviously aware of the disappointment his audience and the fact he had prepared nothing he agreed with me, the Chairman to a Q and A session. He spoke eloquently and knowledgeably in reply to some searching questions most of which inevitably centred on his time at Liverpool when they were at the top.
Since then he has done well in producing young talent at Nottingham Forest and Coventry and then into management at Walsall. He then built the Luton side that would win promotion with the Cambridge United team he took up through the play offs.