Peterborough United 1 Pompey 2
Pompey beat Peterborough United yesterday to move to the top of the table. They are now the only unbeaten team in League One after this hard-earned win at London Road and defeats for Sunderland, Barnsley and Walsall.
Jackett brought back Ronan Curtis after his international soiree and preferred Ben Close to Ben Thompson as he searched for the correct balance in midfield.
The first period was fairly low key for a top of the table clash with most of Pompey’s chances falling on the head of Oli Hawkins and he could not find a finish. Pompey, however, had the majority of the chances.
The second period warmed up with a booking for Nathan Thompson and the hosts losing Cummins as a result of the challenge. Just after the hour, Curtis sent in a teasing cross which Hawkins headed down and as Jamal Lowe closed in confusing defenders the ball bounced into the net.
Twelve minutes later the same trio were involved in the second goal. This time Hawkins provided the cross, Curtis nodded down and Lowe coolly rolled the ball home from seven yards out. The Blue army were now in full voice and Pompey should have seen the increasingly niggly game home from there but with seven minutes of additional time halfway through Matt Godden got on the end of a move and slotted past MacGillivray – sadly the officials failed to notice that he was offside.
The whistle was greeted with relief and the three points were on the coach back to the south coast. It meant that after only eight games Pompey find themselves five points clear of third place – but of course, it is only the start but a very encouraging start.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; N.Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Close (B.Thompson 86), Naylor; Lowe, Evans (c), Curtis (Haunstrup 90); Hawkins
Goals: Hawkins 62, Lowe 75
Booked: N.Thompson, Hawkins, Close, Burgess
Subs not used: McGee, Rose, Wheeler, Pitman, Mason
Referee: Roger East
Attendance: 10,472 (2,513 Pompey fans)
The only downsides were the sight of Curtis limping off near the end and four bookings which could soon mount up.
Next up at Fratton Park are Wycombe Wanderers and their time wasting tactics. They are struggling at the present so will prove difficult opponents and of course when you are top of the pile everyone wants to shoot you down.
The BBC have done some research using FoIs about how much truth there is in the crowd figures Premier League clubs announce when there are rows of empty seats evident to all TV viewers.
(FoI – Freedom of information Act gives you the right to access recorded information held by public sector organisations.)
The responses received from either local or police authorities show some huge variations from the published figures. The worst culprits were West Ham, Manchester City and Southampton.
West Ham United: Newham Council says the average attendance at West Ham was 42,779 based on the 12 games it attended – which is 12,530 fans fewer than the club’s season average figure of 55,309.
Manchester City: Greater Manchester Police’s average figures were 7,482 lower than club figures, again based on 12 games.
Southampton: Hampshire Police figures were an average of 4,246 fans lower than figures issued by the club. Their attendance for Chelsea’s visit on 14 April was 31,764 but police figures show 6,945 fewer fans at St Mary’s. There was also a difference of 6,799 (31,778 – 24,979) for the home game against south-coast rivals Bournemouth.
Of course, the biggest factor is the number of tickets holders who do not attend. Because of the discount available to Season Ticket Holders they tend to pick their games, plus games rearranged for TV coverage don’t help.
Those who are recipients of Groupon offers will notice that tickets for tomorrows Southampton v Brighton game were available at 45% discount.
A further reminder to fans if you have a ticket and cannot attend a game let the club have it back for resale. With Pompey flying at the moment let someone else have your place and get £5 off your next season ticket!
Here is a call to support Bally’s night at the Kings Theatre next Friday. Tickets appear not to be selling well and the event is to pay tribute to the career of Alan Ball with any profits going to PitC and other charities. Should it run at a loss then the benefactors will suffer.
You can buy tickets here
And finally… odds behaviour
Non-League Russian football provides this week’s And finally… with these bizarre scenes. After scoring the most obvious deliberate own goal we’ve ever seen, the offender then berates his own manager before getting sent off and storming off the field.
2018-19 Prediction League – September
Wycombe (h) – Saturday 22nd September 2018 – click here.
Rochdale (a) – Saturday 29th September 2018 – click here.