AFC Wimbledon 0 Pompey 2
Pompey got back to winning ways with a comfortable victory at Wimbledon. It was their first win since the opening day and perhaps will steady the ship coming into a run of games back to back.
Kenny made three changes from last week Nathan Thompson came in at right back, Matt Kennedy in midfield and Damien McCrory replacing Brandon Haunstrup at left back. That meant Pompey reverted to 4-2-3-1 and it was Conor Chaplin and Jack Whatmough (injury) who missed out.
Pompey took the lead as the first half drew to a close when Brett Pitman was fouled as a long ball came into the box and the Pompey skipper slotted the spot kick home.
Before the break there was then a nasty collision between Oliver Hawkins and Callum Kennedy a scramble resulted in Hawkins being covered in blood and the Don`s full back carried off. Half time was extended by referee Johnson when thunder and lightning echoed around the Kingsmeadow stadium.
Hawkins was replaced by Conor Chaplin and the tiny striker was on the score sheet within five minutes when he scored at the second attempt in a goalmouth scramble. Pompey then cruised home with not too much trouble and Adam May almost added a third late on but was thwarted by the home keeper.
Managers often talk about wrapping players in cotton wool but Kenny has a players wrapped in bandages in Oliver Hawkins who in two games has lost a lot of blood. Looks good though and the boss obviously has great faith in his ability. Let`s hope he can steer clear of these injuries and there is no concussion.
Afterwards Kenny told The News ‘It was hard earned and I felt, in the end, we deserved the victory. We started slightly nervous and some of our passing options weren`t great. But it was a battle and it was a very good clean sheet for us. As the game grew, we played better and better and by the end deserved the victory.`
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, McCrory; May, O`Keefe; Lowe, Pitman (c), Kennedy (Bennett 67); Hawkins (Chaplin 46)
Goals: Pitman 38 (pen), Chaplin 50
Booked: O`Keefe, Kennedy, Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Talbot, Close, Donohue, Naismith
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Attendance: 4,585 (786 Pompey fans)
Rotherham catch up
I did promise a report after the game last Sunday but never got around to writing the blog. Here is what I can glean from my scribbles.
It was a disappointing as the new boss tried out at least two systems, 3-4-1-2 and then 4-2-3-1 some thought that 4-4-2. It was obvious from the start that three at the back was not working as players struggled to find any shape to their play and Rotherham pressed the back-line when they were in possession thus it was difficult to create anything going forward. The problem was exacerbated with three players in forward positions meaning the midfield was lost.
Kenny has gone through the process of evaluating his squad through the pre-season and having tinkered through the opening games he then has taken extreme measures and carried out a cull of his experienced players. Only Gareth Evans, Danny Rose, Kyle Bennett, Christian Burgess, Drew Talbot, Kal Naismith, Milan Lalkovic and Curtis Main remain from Paul Cook`s squad of what I would call old heads.
Every player over thirty has gone and the average age of the squad has plummeted. Last season we had David Forde, Carl Baker, Michael Doyle and Gary Roberts and they have all gone by one method or another.
The rest of the squad is home produced players and new imports five of who have played just one game or less. Thus, the team has to be given time to settle into a pattern which best suits their strengths. I think yesterday`s performance proves that Kenny has them on the right track and a consistent run of results will soon arrive, just be patient.
For the record the details were –
Pompey (3-4-1-2): McGee; Burgess, Whatmough (Thompson 46), Clarke; Lowe, May, O`Keefe, Haunstrup; Pitman (c); Chaplin (Kennedy 46), Hawkins (Naismith 70)
Subs not used: Bass, McCrory, Close, Donohue
Referee: Gavin Ward
Attendance: 17,118 (436 away fans)
Tuesday night sees a trip to Northampton Town. This is a fixture that dates back to 1920 when the Cobblers won 1-0.
Older fans will always remember the 1965 clash when Town had already clinched promotion to the First Division and Pompey needed a point to stave off relegation. The game, the last of the season, was an evening kick off for some reason with all the other games in the afternoon. The game also was the last game for Gentleman Jiimmy Dickinson.
Johnny Gordon put through his own goal but with time running out up popped Alex Wilson to earn Pompey the point they needed.
Fifteen years later and again in the season`s finale Pompey needed to win and other results go their way to escape the Fourth division. The County Ground was packed with about ten thousand Pompey fans making the trip. The game was a strange affair with rumours circulating about scores from other grounds before Steve Davey putting Pompey in front just before the break. Ian Purdie made sure of the points with fifteen minutes left and then we had to stand and wait until Jim Ware of Radio Victory broke the news that Bradford City had lost and Pompey were up, cue a huge party!
Next Saturday Fleetwood Town come to Fratton Park for only the second time. The only other visit was four years ago on 21 September 2013 when Town won 1-0 with an own goal from Sonny Bradley who deflected a Jamille Matt shot into his own net. Gareth Evans featured for the visitors.
Pompey have yet to take a point from Fleetwood.
This week comes from Midland League Division One with a classic goalkeeping howler. The Bolehall Swifts FC ‘keeper makes blocks a shot fairly well only to undo any impressions of competence moments later. A true gem.
Watch it here