Southend United 3 Pompey 3
Pompey embarrassed both themselves and their fans in front of the TV cameras yesterday when they strolled into a three-goal lead and then chucked it away!
Kenny Jackett changed formation to 4-4-2 and played Oli Hawkins alongside Omar Bogle up top. Anton Walkes replaced the injured Nathan Thompson at right back. Viv Solomon-Otabor made his debut in place of Ronan Curtis who dropped to the bench.
The first half hour saw Pompey breeze into a 3-0 lead with goals from Bryn Morris following good work down the right by Bogle and Jamal Lowe, Ben Close with a neat volley from the edge of the box and Hawkins tapping in after Morris hit the post. From there they should have cruised home and kick-started their promotion push.
But this is Pompey and they allowed their hosts into the game on thirty-six minutes when Simon Cox rose to head in his first and they could have added a second moments later when Turner sliced wide following a corner.
The second half started like the first but Pompey could not get the fourth goal to kill off Southend and as the half went on the home side came more and more into the game. Curtis and Gareth Evans replaced Solomon-Otabor and Bogle but on 76 minutes Morris tripped Kightly and Cox scored from the spot and inevitable on 88 minutes Cox again collected a pass and neatly tucked away his hat-trick.
Pompey created chances to pinch it at the death but two points had been blown away in the Roots Hall breeze.
Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke (c), Brown; Lowe (Vaughan 88), Morris, Close, Solomon-Otabor (Curtis 71); Hawkins, Bogle (Evans 75)
Goals: Morris 8, Close 20, Hawkins 31
Booked: Walkes, Vaughan
Subs not used: Bass, Casey, Haunstrup, May
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Attendance: 7,300 (1,239 Pompey fans)
Pompey now have four games in the next two weeks to define their season – Bristol Rovers, Barnsley, Bury and Bradford City. Surely only four wins will suffice!
After the game the Blues boss told the official site: “It’s obviously very disappointing because we were three goals up and in control – we should have seen it out. We’ve given a really sloppy one away just before half-time when Cox managed to get the wrong side of Clarke.
“Then after the break we’ve had a really big chance go get a fourth when Omar was sent through on goal. But we’ve bundled their forward down unnecessarily for the penalty and Southend’s equaliser was from a bit of quality.
“We’ve lost a few defensive players, with Thompson, Whatmough and Naylor all out. They’re the type who could have helped us to see the game out. Now we have to be tough enough to go again and realise the position that we’re in. We’ll be okay for next week because, in football, that’s what you have to do.
“I felt it was the right decision (to change to 4-4-2) for this game because we’ve got some good options going forward, and I wanted to look at Bogle and Hawkins up front. Omar’s just getting cramp in his calves in the second period of games, but I thought it was a positive partnership.”
So, what was the reason for the collapse? Was it the change in formation, missing Tom Naylor protecting the back four, Matt Clarke having a very rare bad game or over confidence and the lack of desire to dig in and defend what you have?
Banks of England
To the very best of my knowledge, Gordon Banks never played at Fratton Park but he will always be remembered lovingly by Pompey fans for the role he made in winning the FIFA World Cup in 1966.
In the 1960’s some goalkeepers were known for their fancy apparel like Peter Bonetti’s gloves and over exaggerated saves but Banksie had none of that. He was dependable, always in the right place and with a very safe pair of hands.
I was lucky enough to see two of England’s games in that winning run sadly not the final though and Banks was an enormous character dictating his box and working so well with his defence – back four as it would now be known.
Sadly, his career was cut short by the loss of the sight in one eye in a car accident else I have no doubt he would have played into his forties.
Rest in Peace Gordon.
Normally I write long and detailed obituaries of former Pompey players but so much has been written this week there is not much more I can add.
It was nice to see that the order of service carried the Pompey badge and that his Hall of Fame award was atop his coffin thanks to a magnificent fund-raising effort by Pompey fans.
By your efforts Pompey fans, you gave Mick the send-off he deserved. Thanks for the memories, Mick.
To Serie B for this week’s And finally… where Salernitana goalie Alessandro Micai scored a bizarre own goal while attempting an eye-catching diving-punch. Micai’s tomfoolery cost the Salerno side dearly as Benevento took all three points. Thanks as usual to the FSF.