Pompey 5 Bradford City 1
Pompey got their league form back on track with a bang, thumping five past a hapless Bradford City but the win came at a cost with Oli Hawkins, Nathan Thompson and Ronan Curtis picking up nasty looking injuries and losing Matt Clarke with a badly cut head.
Kenny Jackett named a near full strength side with Christian Burgess surprisingly being fit to resume in the back four. Jamal Lowe regained his place on the right flank.
Pompey simply got back to their old ways with Hawkins as the spearhead of their attack and City could not handle him. With better refereeing, Oli would have got more protection but on 23 minutes as a corner came over he was thrown to the ground and Gareth Evans slammed the spot kick into the top corner.
Just before half time an Evans corner was knocked on to the bar by Curtis and Tom Naylor smashed the rebound home. Two nil at half time and both goals from former Bantams.
The second half saw City improve slightly and after Craig MacGillivray made a fine save from the resulting corner Akpan reduced the deficit. That had panic amongst the crowd but not the team who reacted immediately pouring forward. Lee Brown put in a dangerous cross and Lowe flung himself at the ball to chest home.
It was then time for Ben Close to take over first diverting an Evans shot home and then when Curtis got away on the left the ball dropped for Ben to hit a left-foot volley into the corner.
The game was delayed on the hour when a Leeds United drone was spotted hovering over the ground – now that was a first for me. That and the clash of heads between Clarke and Thompson meant there were ten minutes added on by the officials.
Pompey (4-1-4-1): MacGillivray; Thompson (Walkes 77), Burgess, Clarke (Donohue 84), Brown; Naylor; Lowe, Evans (c), Close, Curtis; Hawkins (Vaughan 69)
Goals: Evans 23 (pen), Naylor 41, Lowe 67, Close 70, 87
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Solomon-Otabor, Pitman
Referee: Oliver Langford
Attendance: 17,657 (493 away fans)
After the game assistant boss, Joe Gallen was optimistic that all four injuries were not severe although Thompson may have had some teeth knocked out by Matt Clarke’s forehead!
Wemberley – are you going?
This has been the big questions on most Pompey fans lips since Tuesday evening. The reason, of course, is quite simple as the vast majority of fans have boycotted the Checkatrade games to date (and there have been seven of them too) in protest over the Football League’s invitation to clubs outside of the bottom two divisions to enter their U21 sides.
My own view is that the protest has been made with gates no higher than 3,000 for home games but now is the time to change the type of demonstration.
The last time Pompey were at Wembley they had been relegated and were heading into freefall down the league structure. That was in 2010 and since then the club has imploded and only been saved by US, the fans. We should be proud of what we have achieved and pack the National stadium to celebrate that. However, at the same time the protest can continue in some form – should it be banners inside the stadium or a demonstration outside?
Fans should be proud to be with THEIR club at Wembley not embarrassed by the rules of the competition and the apparent defecting from the protest.
We will also have a change of view at Wembley too. For all the previous five visits Pompey have been housed in the East end of the stadium, this time it will be the West.
Sorry there was no Chimes last week but I had the grandchildren staying and took my grand-daughter to her first game and she really enjoyed it – not many did enjoy the Bristol Rovers game though.
After the Barnsley game walking back through Specks Lane I noticed a large number of Tykes’ fans were wearing flat caps – that took my mind back a few years!
Four Four Two recently ran a greatest own goal’s feature and surprisingly this was rated number one!
The winner was Festus Baise and even after multiple viewings, it’s difficult to decipher Baise’s intentions. The cross from Hong Kong FC’s Jack Sealy was underhit and unlikely to find a team-mate, but Baise had clearly calculated that a simple header away wouldn’t suffice. The Sun Hei centre-back instead opted for an extraordinary scorpion kick and could only watch in despair as the ball flew into the far corner.
Good but this is nothing compared to Noel Blake’s at Wimbledon in 1984!!
On the Bradford city website yesterday advice to fans visiting Pompey, “On Milton Road close to the ground is the Brewers Arms which is popular with away fans.” Absolutely, so popular that it has been demolished!!
Someone needs to ensure that this information is kept up to date as I expect a number of Bantam fans are still walking up and down Milton Road looking for the much-missed Gales, pub.
Bobby Doyle 1953-2019
More sad news this week when the death of former Pompey midfield star Bobby Doyle was announced.
Bobby was a rangy right-footed player who was signed by Frank Burrows from Blackpool in 1980 making his debut at Sheffield United in December of that year.
His played over 170 games in five and a half years netting sixteen goals, mostly penalties before making his final appearance on the opening day of the 1985/86 at Hull who he signed for a few days later.
Bobby also played alongside the late Micky Kennedy throughput the 1984/85 season.
Bobby was in the Third Division team of the season in 1983 when Pompey won the title – earlier in his career he won the same honour in the Fourth Division in 1975 when at Barnsley.
On the same day, I also lost my brother at the same age of 65. Rest in peace John.