Last time Pompey went to Prenton Park they were four up after just forty eight minutes – that was in fact Pompey`s last away win of the twentieth century. This time round they twice came from behind to earn a valuable point at the League leaders.
Guy rang the changes bringing together what I would think is his best defensive pair in Gabor Gyepes and Ricardo Rocha. As expected Simon Eastwood took over in goal and Nathaniel Mendes-Laing came in on the wing.
Pompey opened well but as Rovers came more into the game and Ash Taylor gave them the lead from close range. Guy and Andy had a job to do at half time and whatever they said worked as Pompey were level within five minutes of the restart when Gyepes headed home from a Brian Howard free kick. Pompey then had the better of the exchanges but the home side were to take the lead with a quarter of an hour left through Michael O`Halloran again from no distance.
Pompey though this time responded immediately and sub Jake Jervis scored a neat goal after being found by Johnny Ertl – in fact I gather Sky Sports News named it a contender as goal of the day! After that both sides could have won it but Scott Allan was just wide and Pompey ended with a deserved point.
Man of the match appeared to be Eastwood who has been transformed from a non league keeper and that is obviously a real triumph for goalkeeping coach John Keeley. Keeley is really an unsung hero as Fratton Park but has certainly a great record of turning out great keepers and is highly regarded by the likes of David James.
Still despite the welcome point it is nine games without a win and that is worrying. The busy Christmas period is now upon us and after next Saturday`s visit of Preston the games come thick and fast. No games are easy in this League but Pompey need to amass a decent total by the New Year for many reasons not the least the impending deduction if Administration is exited. Pompey adrift at the bottom would make it difficult to attract players in the January window.
So Pompey`s next appearance will in an all too familiar surroundings, the High Court. There Administrator Trevor Birch will ask the court to allow him to sell Fratton Park to the Pompey Trust at a price the judge will fix.
Independent valuations of between £2-3m will be given in evidence, while for the opposition Portpin will argue they are owed £10m plus and expect to receive full recompense.
Now I am no lawyer nor pretend to know too much about the Chancery Division but surely the courts will play fair and only value an asset realistically. I would have thought too that the professional valuations would also carry a lot of weight in the judge`s deliberations. Whatever we will soon know – the case is set to run for Thursday and Friday (13th and 14th December) and whether the judge will reserve his decision or decide on the day remains to be seen.
Quite simply now, if the judge goes with PKF then the Trust takeover will go ahead and that will be a fantastic achievement for everyone involved. If a higher figure is ordered then liquidation will become a real possibility. That now after all we have been through in the last three years and to have almost made it through that would be so cruel.
We all now have to trust in English Law and pray for a successful outcome and a future!!
On the subject of clubs in trouble sad to see Coventry are the latest to be threatened with winding up over £1m unpaid rent for the Ricoh Arena …..Charlton fans broke into spontaneous applause yesterday to remember a win over Pompey twenty years ago. Why? It was their first game back at the Valley after a period of enforced absence…..Welcome to Phil Smith another new signing as back up keeper to Eastie; how many players is that? Someone must be counting surely!
Wake up call
Life has been very quiet in Vital Towers recently in fact you could hear the echoes along the corridors a times – bit eerie! Well with football back and a massive day in Pompey`s history coming up it is time for fans to get talking again.
I gather Christmas is around the corner too! Got any ideas of Pompey presents for fans? No neither have I really. A good stocking filler would be a copy of the News` Mail Memories that tracks the history of the now defunct Sports Mail. Priced at just £1.50 it includes 109 front pages from the papers 109 year history and brings back great memories for fans of any age.
Quite rightly the games and editions selected are not just the highlights but also the lowlights of the long history of the club and the Football paper. From the first edition on 5th September 1903 where the main story is all about the coming season – a cartoon of the sides in the Southern League over the headline ‘to the music of the Town Hall chimes Pompey full of life and vigour reappears upon the stage of the Southern League.` Now who said the chimes was not that old? Price of the paper that day was one halfpenny. The final edition was the visit to the MK Dons earlier this season when the price was 55p – or in old money 11 shillings – that is a price rise 2640%!
A bit amateurish is places where you can see the papers curled at they were placed in the scanner and the detail is poor so items cannot really be read with a magnifying glass.
Personally I can remember some of those front pages very well including the 1967 game at Spurs with the headline ‘G men smash Pompey` Alan Gilzean(2) and Jimmy Greaves score the goals – Greaves was offside for one of those too!!
So kids buy the paper and wrap it in a cardboard tube and some nice blue Xmas paper and Dad can spend all of the holidays reading his once favourite paper again.
Trust in the Trust