Southend United 3 Pompey 1
Pompey`s season effectively fizzled out yesterday when not only did they slip to an emphatic defeat at Southend`s Roots Hall but they lost Gareth Evans and Brett Pitman to injury and Nathan Thompson for three games after a straight red card.
Pompey turned out an unchanged side and after a promising start found themselves two down in twelve minutes. First Matt Clarke putting through his own goal under pressure from Shayon Harrison. Almost immediately Jason Demetriou lashed home a pass from Stephen McLaughlin.
Ten minutes before the break Evans bundled home a Lowe cross but was injured in the process and replaced by Connor Ronan.
Pompey`s hopes were ended when Thompson was shown a straight red halfway through the second period and a few minutes later Pitman limped off to be replaced by Hawkins. Demetriou then finished off the blues with five minutes left.
Pompey (4-4-2): McGee; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Evans (Ronan 38), Close, Thompson, Lowe; Chaplin, Pitman (c) (Hawkins 69)
Goals: Evans 36
Sent off: Thompson
Subs not used: Bass, Deslandes, Haunstrup, May, Naismith
Referee: Lee Probert
Attendance: 9,397 (1,920 Pompey fans)
Jackett told the club`s official site “It`s too many games for us now without a clean sheet and we`ve conceded three times on this occasion. We started well and Conor had the first chance, but they then got into our half twice and we gifted Southend two goals.
“It was very brittle for us defensively – and that`s been the case throughout January and February. It has to improve. We have to gives ourselves a basis to build on. If your goals against column is zeroes and ones then you give yourselves a chance. But we`re giving them away at the moment, which is frustrating and it`s undermining our confidence. It leaves a mountain for us to climb and this game was only a reflection of what we`ve seen over the past couple of months.
“There aren`t fantastic pieces of skill needed to score against us. They`re easy and avoidable goals, and it`s costing us.”
On Thompson`s red card Jackett said: “It was slightly high and so it didn`t surprise me when the referee showed the red card. There will now be opportunities for other players and we had to substitute Pitman and Evans. We`ll see whether they can make Tuesday or not.”
Some dates always stir memories like birthdays anniversaries etc.. One that always sticks in my mind is 18 February and the year in question was 1967. The reason for this is it was the first time I had followed Pompey at a First Division ground.
The stadium was White Hart Lane and Pompey had been drawn to meet Spurs in the FA Cup 4th round. To get there it took three games with Hull City the second replay being won at Coventry`s Highfield Road – the trilogy attracted over 80,000 fans too.
The build up to the big day included a Spurs` fan writing to the Football Mail advising fans that White Hart Lane often had large queues by midday and suggesting of fans arrived early. British Rail ran a whole fleet of extra changes and when we arrived at the ground by 11am the area was thronging with thousands of Pompey fans and the gates were opened early to allow them into the ground and by 1pm the Park Lane End was packed with a large swaying horde of blue decked fans. The atmosphere was incredible and eventually the gate were locked with 57,910 inside including an estimated 25,000 from the South Coast – Spurs did not exceed that attendance in the fifty years until the old ground was closed!
The game was a bit of a disappointment with of missing key players in Albert McCann and Frank Haydock. Spurs won 3-1 with two goals from Jimmy Greaves and a header from Alan Gilzean, Ron Tindall replied for Pompey. I still declare that one of Greaves` goals was yards offside too.
Just when you thought that Pompey`s recent history was dead and buried out of the blue come a real surprise with the hews that Sulaimen Al Fahim has been jailed for five years.
The reason that SAF, as I dubbed him at the time, has been deprived of his freedom is that he stole the £5m that he used to purchase Pompey from his wife!
SAF will always be remembered a strange character by those who met him – I did on a couple of occasions with other members of the Pompey Virtual Alliance – a group of Pompey Internet writers put together by Colin Farmery as the club faltered. On one occasion he was famously late before being whisked in by his minders and almost as quickly he was gone.
He was obviously a man of means but due to the recession all his assets were in bricks and mortar and thus he ‘borrowed` the money from his spouse. Just another sad episode in what seems a never-ending saga.
On Tuesday night Pompey travel to Fleetwood Town`s Highbury stadium for just the second time. The previous visit back in 2014 ended in a 3-1 defeat with Jed Wallace, on as a sub, scoring for the blues. That completed a double for the home side who went on to win promotion to League One.
On Saturday the club just seven miles from Fleetwood, Blackpool visit Fratton Park. Unlike their neighbours though the Tangerines have met Pompey on sixty-eight occasions stretching back to 1924.
Pompey have had the better of recent meetings at Fratton and have not been beaten since 1971 a run of nine games.
And finally… it was going in
To Greece this week, where AEK Aethens striker Sergio Araujo treats us to some truly atrocious finishing. The forward somehow prevented a mis-cleared cross, that was destined to go in, from finding the net. He’ll Be Disappointed With That.