Blackpool 2 Pompey 3
Pompey stormed to a 3-2 win at Bloomfield Road yesterday afternoon after a real roller-coaster of a second half. It was left to hit-man Brett Pitman to seal the points with late winner.
KJ missing Stuart O`Keefe and Nathan Thompson through suspension brought back the old guard with Gareth Evans, Danny Rose and Kal Naismith returning and Kyle Bennett in for Matt Kennedy. Oli Hawkins switched to play in the back four. Many fans will have been pleased to see a return of their favourites and will claim that the boss has bowed to their pressure.
The first half was a total bore only interrupted by the large raucous Pompey support chanting “Blackpool`s for sale” and “Oyston out” much to the please of the small home contingent.
When the second half started Pompey took the lead immediately, Jamal Lowe`s low shot caused chaos inside the home defence but they managed to clear their lines and survive. Then Pool`s dangerous Solomon-Otabor came close to breaking the deadlock at the other end but his low shot went narrowly wide of Luke McGee`s near post.
The Blues then took the lead Pool goalkeeper Ryan Allsop did well to save Kyle Bennett`s fierce shot but Pitman was left unmarked to tap home. Pompey could have doubled their lead through Christian Burgess but his header from a corner flew narrowly wide.
It was then that Gary Bowyer turned to a new signing Dolly Menga, an Angolan forward and he had an instant impact providing a pinpoint cross for Solomon-Otabor to tap home at the far post.
Pompey responded though in the right way and it was a landmark first senior goal from Ben Close that put them back in front with just ten minutes remaining. Allsop, again made a super save to keep out Pitman`s header but after Naismith attempted to score Close was on hand to slam home.
Surely Pompey could hang now but when a free kick was lofted into their box Burgess and Hawkins rose together at the back posy and the latter only succeeded to heading into his own net. The lead had lasted just wo minutes.
But not to be denied Pompey won it at the death thanks to Pitman, who bagged his second of the game when left unmarked at the far post to head home from Burgess`s headed pass.
Quite a game, well second half and one to live up to the build-up during the week. Blackpool fans have been celebrating the High Court decision this week. That ruling, against the owning Oyston family, saw them ordered to pay £31million to former club president Valeri Belokon after he proved they showed unfair prejudice against shareholders.
This is wonderful news for the Tangerine supporters which will now see their club sold to new owners who they can get behind and hopefully restore the club`s glory days when they replaced Pompey in the Premier League in 2010.
Quite how long the boycott of home games will last is unknown but there were only 3,300 in attendance to mark the victory in the courts and with any luck a bright future.
Of course, we also had the farce of the switching of referee from Ben Toner (Bent Owner) to Jon Moss but the less said about that the better!!
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Evans, Hawkins, Burgess, Clarke; Close, Rose; Lowe, Bennett (Donohue 87), Naismith; Pitman (c)
Goals: Pitman 52, 86, Close 80
Subs not used: Bass, Talbot, May, Kennedy, Chaplin, Main
Referee: Jon Moss
Attendance: 5,032 (1,711 Pompey fans)
The Blues boss said afterwards “It was end-to-end with a lot of chances and both sides were keen to attack. Fair play to our squad because they showed a lot of character to go ahead three times and then survive a siege at the end. We probably don`t have enough defensively-minded players in the squad and when you have that many attacking guys on the pitch, you`ll have that kind of game.
“But we stayed strong and it caps a good week for us after the victory at Charlton in the Checkatrade Trophy. It`s good to win, but we had to earn it and the players certainly worked very hard. It`s never easy to come away and get a positive result.
“I was pleased for Ben to score his first goal for the club and he`s having a really impressive spell. He keeps improving and we`re delighted for him.”
When asked about the inclusion of Matt Clarke at left back, Jackett said: “Left-back is a position we`ve struggled with because of injuries and we haven`t really been comfortable there. Matt`s best position is in the centre, but sometimes you want to be more solid in away games and that can result in wins. We wanted to be bigger at the back and – the own-goal aside – I thought that Hawkins was excellent.
“I also wanted to bring more experience into the team, with the likes of Gareth Evans, Danny Rose and Kyle Bennett providing that.”
Southend United visit Fratton Park next Saturday. Over the years back to 1920 this is a fixture that Pompey have a good record – 45% win ratio – but Southend have won the last five.
Prior to the two 2-1 home defeats in 2014 Pompey had never lost at home to the Shrimpers. The last win was back in August 1996 when a rare Lee Russell goal clinched the points in front of just 5,579.
And finally… self-sabotage
Have a look at this collective effort from Gintra who took on Barcelona in the Women’s Champions League this week. After a goalkeeping howler, three Gintra players are clear through on the now-open goal yet conspire against themselves to ruin it all…