Pompey 1 Southend United 0
Pompey put an end to the longest unbeaten record in football when a Brett Pitman goal was enough to beat Southend. The Shrimpers had gone 27 games and eight years since last losing a league game in the 11th month of the year and Phil Brown – who had never been beaten as Southend boss in the league in November. This was not a straightforward win but one that was just about deserved in front of the biggest crowd of the season.
KJ went with the same side that won at Blackpool last time out meaning that Oli Hawkins continued at Centre Back with Matt Clarke at left back.
Pompey started well at Pitman went close as he attempted to reach a Ben Close cross. Southend were thwarted by a full length save from Luke McGee as Theo Robinson curled in a shot from the edge of the box.
Then as the first half entered added time came the most controversial incident of the game. Danny Rose and Clarke threw themselves to black Southend shots but the linesman was flagging furiously for handball and referee Boyeson pointed to the spot. Quite who committed the infringement was in doubt by all in the stadium and as no player was carded it seems rather strange. Nile Ranger obliged by smashing the spot kick high into the Fratton End.
Who was the handball given against, so far I have seen Matt Clarke, Christian Barnard and Ben Close given the blame. Having had the chance to watch the incident it was not Close but presumably it was for the follow up shot when both Clarke and Burgess threw themselves at the ball. Maybe the linesman saw a hand but was unsure who`s hand it was and hence the referee could not issue a card.
At the start of the second half with Matt Kennedy on for Kyle Bennett Pompey looked strong and the little Scot put over a beautiful cross for Pitman`s head to do the rest – an excellent finish which deserved to win any game which in the end it did.
Pompey seemed content then to sit back on their lead and defend too deeply at times with the threat of hitting the visitors on the break. Pompey`s back four with three playing out of their natural position held firm without too much difficulty.
Other than the record run by Southend going how about another record? The total of the numbers worn by the three Southend players replaced was 129!!
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Evans, Hawkins, Burgess, Clarke; Close, Rose; Lowe (Thompson 87), Bennett (Kennedy 46), Naismith; Pitman (c)
Goals: Pitman 54
Subs not used: Bass, Donohue, O`Keefe, Chaplin, Main
Referee: Carl Boyeson
Attendance: 18,431 (1,422 away fans)
Kenny said afterwards ‘Southend went with a diamond in the first half and it gave us problems, so it was about getting the ball wide with a packed midfield. It was a great ball from Kennedy for the goal and Brett`s header was the key difference in a very tight game.`
‘I was surprised the penalty was given, but the ref was closer than I was – and Nile Ranger put it over anyway.”
Shrimpers boss Phil Brown as usual was not short on his opinion but felt ‘Overall we didn`t do enough in the final third, overall not good enough, overall we think we`re better than what we are. We need a reality check, quite a few of them, and that reality check will come by not playing for us, it`s as simple as that.`
Sounds like a few changes coming for their game at MK Dons on Tuesday.
Were you there?
A new series of old games I have uncovered on youtube. The game is from September 1983 at Craven Cottage and newly promoted Pompey took on Fulham and MOTD were there?were you? I was!!
No need to panic
Some fans were terrified that when Michael rocked up to buy their beloved club that he would change everything including moving the stadium to a SO postcode and the badge would feature Mickey Mouse`s ears!
They of course were oh so wrong and that was echoed strongly this week with the result of the public vote announced for the new badge which clearly centred around the Star and Crescent.
The reason for the new badge is quite simple – Trade Mark. Pompey`s badge has been copied onto all types of merchandise in the past and the club did not receive one penny. Now with the logo trade-marked that practice will become unlawful.
Very much a week of ‘can I have a P please Bob?` as Peterborough and Plymouth are the opposition.
Tuesday night sees a trip to London Road the home of the Posh. Pompey have only lost on one occasion in Cambridgeshire and that was right back in 1977 when despite Mick Mellows and Norman Piper (pen) netting the Blues were beaten 4-2. Of the other none visits in all competitions Pompey have won three with six draws.
The wins came in 2012 when Eric Huseklepp (2) and Jason Pearce score in a 3-0 triumph, 1961 when Johnny Gordon scored the only goal as Pompey went on to win the Division Three title. The other was in 1968 FA Cup third round when Ray Hiron netted the only goal.
On Saturday old rivals Plymouth come to Fratton Park and they are on a rare run of form. Bottom of the table for some time they have at the time of writing gone six without defeat until being thumped at home by Oxford yesterday.
It will be the 64th meeting and Pompey have a win percentage of 46%. Argyle have a good record in Hampshire having lost just one in the last five – that being in 2015 when Jed Wallace and Ryan Taylor scored in a 2-1 win.
And finally… waffle hands
Club Brugge’s American goalie Ethan Horvath makes his debut this week with a classic goalkeeping error – somehow turning an innocuous cross from the Portuguese winger into the all-important S