Scunthorpe United 1 Pompey 2
Pompey stretched their lead at the top of League One to four points with yet another away win – their first – at Scunthorpe’s Glanford Park.
Kenny named an unchanged team from the FA Cup win at Maidenhead with Oli Hawkins continuing up front.
Pompey deservedly led at the interval with goals from Tom Naylor and skipper Gareth Evans. Naylor hooked in after a deep corner was knocked goalwards by Jack Whatmough and Evans chipped home after being set up by Nathan Thompson.
The game seemed to firmly in the visitors’ pocket until on the hour Craig MacGillivray pushed out a cross and Lee Novak slotted home. That meant Pompey had to fight hard to maintain their lead and there were some hairy moments before the final whistle went.
This was away win number eight out of ten league games but it has to be said they are using up some luck in doing so. The only downside was Evans limping off with ten minutes left, hopefully nothing serious as he is such a key player.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; N.Thompson, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; B.Thompson, Naylor; Lowe (Wheeler 84), Evans (c) (Burgess 79), Curtis; Hawkins
Goals: Naylor 34, Evans 40
Subs not used: McGee, Walkes, Haunstrup, Close, Pitman
Referee: Martin Coy
Sat down on Monday hoping to see Ronan Curtis’ competitive debut for the Republic only to miss it because of a power cut. Most of the city was out for a spell on that evening but those of us in deepest Eastney the problem would continue for most of the week with reduced power and no broadband. I had to be content with listening to FA Cup replays on a battery radio by candlelight.
I wonder how Ronan will fare under the new management of his national side – it appears Mick McCarthy will be named manager today.
Uncle Pete RIP
Those that used to meet regularly at the Rutland a few years ago will have met my Uncle Pete who travelled to games from Bognor. Sadly, I must report that Pete died recently after a battle with Liver Cancer.
Pete was a lovely man who was popular with that met him and will be sorely missed by all his family and friends. It also means there will be an empty seat next to me on Tuesday too!
Virgil Van Dijk will not be the most popular player with Pompey fans because his connections with that lot down the road but on Monday evening he showed true compassion with the referee in the Germany and Netherlands Nations League game.
It is understood the 38-year-old official had discovered his mother had died in the build-up to the match but decided to carry on and officiate in this key fixture.
On the final whistle, Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan was consoled by Virgil van Dijk who had just scored the goal that meant his nation had qualified for the finals.
Van Dijk embraced the emotional Hategan and told reporters: “That man broke down, stood with tears in his eyes because he had just lost his mother, I wished him strength and said he had refereed well. It’s a small thing, but I hope it helped him.”
Pompey through Chief Executive Mark Catlin welcomed the Sky deal with the EFL for coverage over the next five seasons. The larger clubs in the Championship, meanwhile are ‘gravely concerned’ over the £595m agreement which was not discussed with the clubs by the EFL.
They give an example that last season Burnley received £120m as a Premier League club. That is same as all 72 clubs will share under the new scheme. That the Championship clubs believe will only widen the financial gap between the top two leagues.
Well done to the Academy after their 4-0 win at Crat Wanderers which was played at Bramley’s Hayes Lane on the 3G pitch. They now head to Liverpool in the next round.
A quick look at Pompeyrama.com shows that the last time Walsall visited Fratton Park in midweek at this level was back in May 1983. Pompey were top of the table and won 1-0 clinch the title – the late Steve Aizlewood scored the goal.
Another look on my record shows that this game will be number 1,000 competitive matches since my first in 1959.
2018-19 Prediction League – November
Walsall (h) – Tuesday 27th November 2018 – click here.