Pompey 2 Peterborough United 0
Pompey brought down the curtain on a relatively successful season with a straightforward victory over visitors Peterborough in a shootout for eighth place. Two more goals from Brett ‘The Hitman’ Pitman in the first half created a party atmosphere in the Fratton sunshine.
Kenny Jackett gave a league debut to young keeper Alex Bass and recalled Kal Naismith in four changes to the side that lost at Bury.
The first came when Pitman fought his way through a crowd of players at the near post to head in a Gareth Evans corner. The second when he tapped home a Jamal Lowe shot after the winger had cut in from the right. The announcer gave the goal to Lowe but the Pompey top scorer clearly got the final touch and ended the season with twenty-three goals from just thirty-five games. That is one goal every 138 minutes. How many more would he have scored if he had not missed those eleven games through injury?
There should have been more goals with Pitman hitting over from inside the six-yard box and thus missing the chance of a first Pompey hat-trick.
The second half, however, was instantly forgettable except for Bass who without too much trouble marked his debut with a clean sheet.
Being the last game of the season there were a number of farewells most of which will not be known until the contract discussions take place in the next few days. Naismith was replaced on 77 to a standing ovation and certainly showed in flashes his true self, chasing and pressuring defenders into mistakes.
Others who may have made their Pompey farewell include Matt Clarke who was awarded the Player of the season trophy before the game, had his normal game storming forward whenever the opportunity arose. Stuart O’Keefe on loan from Cardiff had his best game in some time and may have done enough to persuade Jackett to sign him permanently.
It was also farewell to Jobsite who have stuck at being main sponsors through nine horrific years at Fratton Park. They certainly need to be given an enormous vote of thanks for that but for their efforts, they will always have their name on the shirts of a cup final side in 2010 and the League Two winners last season.
The result saw Pompey finish eighth in their first season back in the third tier and five points adrift of the play-offs. I am disappointed though as I had predicted before the season started that Pompey would finish ninth! Never was much good at the prediction game.
Pompey (4-1-4-1): Bass; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup; O’Keefe; Lowe, Evans, Close, Naismith (Kennedy 77); Pitman (c)
Goals: Pitman 13, 25
Subs not used: McGee, Donohue, May, Ronan, Chaplin, Hawkins
Referee: John Busby
Attendance: 18,118 (598 away fans)
Jackett was upbeat after the game telling the official website: “The crowd came out in great numbers again and gave us their backing, so we wanted to impress and send them home with some optimism for next season. We played very well in the first half and could have scored even more goals to be over the hill and out of sight.
“You know with Peterborough that – even if they’re not playing well – they’ve got very good attacking players who can turn a game in a moment. But the second half just sort of petered out and we weren’t able to dominate the midfield like we had before the break.
“Overall, though, it was a deserved win and now we need to work hard over the summer so we’re ready to come back fighting for pre-season on June 27.”
Jackett said: “Have we consistently been one of the best six sides over the course of the season? The league table says we haven’t. We’re just on the fringes of it and there’s some degree of frustration, but top 10 in this division shows we’ve been very competitive.”
The University of Portsmouth is to become main club partner. This seems to fit with the current vogue to link clubs with local places of higher education. Charlton were linked recently with the University of Greenwich and there are other examples which at the moment have slipped my mind.
The club announced just prior to kick-off yesterday that season ticket prices will be frozen for next season. The deadline for early bird prices is 29 June.
2018/19 Season Ticket Prices
Early Bird (until Friday, June 29)
Senior (64 and above on January 1 2019): £275
Young Person (18-22 on September 1 2018): £240
Junior (17 and under on September 1 2018): £80
Special Concession (proof of DLA or PIP)
Wheelchair User: £199
Child (9 and under on September 1 2018)
Free in Nelson’s Family Zone when accompanied by a full-paying adult, senior or special concession
Good luck to Nicke Kabamba who announced yesterday he was being released by the club.
We now know that Sunderland, Burton and Barnsley will be joining League One next term after an extraordinary afternoon in the Championship.
The season is over so head for the beach!! Wait with anticipation for the retained list and if the club can attract some early arrivals.
and finally ……
Normally the FSF dig up obscure games from around the globe for this feature but here is one most of you will have seen in the week.
Behold, James Milner’s fantastic own goal for Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final victory this week. A real gem.