Pompey 3 Plymouth Argyle 0
Pompey roared to the top of League One (well joint top) with a convincing win over old rivals Plymouth Argyle who are now rooted at the foot of the table.
Both sides were unchanged from their last outing Pompey at Doncaster and Argyle from the Carabao cup defeat at Millwall. New signing Andre Green was given the number 37 shirt and a place on the bench. The other new signing Joe Mason was introduced to the crowd at half time but was ineligible after signing too late on Friday.
The win, however, did come at a significant cost with Oli Hawkins (back), Jack Whatmough (Hamstring) and Anton Walkes (Groin) all going off injured. It is far too soon to know how serious these injuries are or how long they might be absent.
The Pompey goals this season are coming from their wide men. Yesterday Ronan Curtis who is really looking a snip of a buy from Derry City netted twice and set up the third and Jamal Lowe scored the other and put the first on a plate for his partner.
On 22 minutes Lowe broke through and after drawing keeper Macey rolled the ball to Curtis who could not miss. Pompey then should have extended that lead and almost paid for lack of concentration when Whatmough, Matt Clarke and Craig MacGillivray all hesitated as Ladapo broke clear and he dragged his shot just wide.
In the second half with the defence patched up on the right-hand side Pompey began to assert themselves and on 62 minutes Curtis put a beautiful cross onto the head of Lowe at the far post and his head did the rest.
The third on 69 minutes was all Curtis’ own work. He dispossessed Sawyer and bundled his way through beating Macey with a fierce shot from a narrow-angle.
That killed the game off and another three points were in the bag. Plymouth were a well-beaten side and they wilted in the warm Fratton sunshine.
Next week after Gillingham in the Checkatrade we have the visit of Shrewsbury who sit second bottom. Pompey are beginning to look a very good side and with more players to introduce they must just avoid complacency and the future looks very bright.
I need to check the records but I think five wins and a draw is the best ever start to a season. The last time they won the first five they lost the next 4-1 at Tranmere!
On checking back i have found one season 1948/49 when Pompey drew their opening game and won the next won the next six! We all know what happened that year – we won the Football League title for the first time!
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes (N.Thompson 46), Whatmough (Burgess 46), Clarke, Brown; B.Thompson, Naylor; Lowe, Evans (c), Curtis; Hawkins (Pitman 41)
Goals: Curtis 22, 69, Lowe 63
Subs not used: McGee, Close, Wheeler, Green
Referee: Tom Nield
Attendance: 18,872 (1,226 away fans)
This morning we are looking at two Pompey players from different eras who after leaving the club went on to make their names around the world.
Ron Newman passed away last week at the age of 84. He was a local boy (born in Fareham) who watched Pompey and then played over one hundred games scoring twenty-three times.
He joined Pompey at a time they were on the slide and played first-team football between 1956 and 1960 the period that saw Pompey relegated from the old First Division with that long winless run at the end of the 58/59 season, twenty-five league games.
Ron was an inside forward who was sold to Leyton Orient for £10,000 in 1961, not the £100,000 the News errantly reported earlier in the week as that would have broken the record before Dennis Law. He went on to make his name in the States and I remember repeatedly being told stories in the local press of his exploits in the USA and a number of American clubs made their way to Fratton Park for friendlies during the sixties and seventies. Dallas Tornado (Coached by Ron) were one who visited in October 1969 (not 1970 Pompey!). I was there but for the life of me I cannot recall the score. In 1978 both Fort Lauderdale Strikers (coached by Ron) and the Tulsa Roughnecks played friendlies at Fratton. Ron was inducted into the National Soccer hall of fame in 1992.
Ron will always hold a special place in my heart as he scored the first Pompey goal that I saw getting the winner in a 1-0 win over Plymouth in October 1959. Ron also netted in his final game a 1-1 draw with Southampton on New Years Eve 1960 in front of over 31,000. It was the first meeting at Fratton Park since 1927!
James co-incidentally played his final Pompey game at Crewe in 2013 when a long unbeaten run was finally broken as fan ownership approached – twenty-two league games.
Somerset-born James joined Pompey and made his debut in the final home game of the Premier League 2004/05 season against Bolton at Fratton Park coming on as a substitute for Giannis Skopelitis. His first start came the next week at West Brom.
The next season he was off on loan to at Kidderminster, Bournemouth, Boston and GIAS in Sweden. After that final loan, he signed in 2007 for Elsborg where he remained for seven years having several loan spells including that return to Pompey in 2013.
From Elsborg he moved on to Israel and India and now plays his football in South Africa with Supersport United. He has played Top flight football in three continents and played European games with clubs such as Napoli, Fiorentina and Valencia.
Still only thirty-two years old James has become a true journeyman footballer – he scored just one goal for Pompey in February 2013 against Colchester and played just eleven times with the only win that famous day at Gresty Road, Crewe.
Thanks to the Times for stirring that memory in Monday’s edition.
It’s a Tuesday night in Stoke. Last kick of the game. On his debut. 40-yard own goal. Injured in doing so. Welcome to English football, Juninho Bacuna. Thanks to FSF chair Malcolm Clarke for the tip-off on this one. Got to see this in person.
2018-19 Prediction League – September
Shrewsbury (h) – Saturday 8th September 2018 – click here.
Peterborough (a) – Saturday 15th September 2018 – click here.
Wycombe (h) – Saturday 22nd September 2018 – click here.
Rochdale (a) – Saturday 29th September 2018 – click here.