Date: 1st September 2012 at 7:35pm
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The Official site used this line ‘The official was certainly not endearing himself to the Fratton faithful` I would however put it slightly stronger!! All of the officials had absolute stinkers, they missed so much and allowed a mediocre game at best to boil over into a scrappy affair with players pushing and shoving each other all over the pitch and on the sidelines.

Carl Berry, the referee was simply atrocious I have not got the space to tell of all incidents he missed and it was certainly not always Pompey that suffered. Meanwhile he was insisting that free kicks were taken from the correct blade of grass and the ball was completely stationary when the home side wanted to take a quick free kicks deep in their own half.

Jordan Obita played upfront with Izale McLeod and was given a real working over by man mountain Jean-Yves M’voto and received no protection from the officials. Sadly at just seventeen Obita reacted to yet another clatter by getting himself sent off for his reaction. It took the intervention of the fourth official to ensure the referee evened things up by dismissing Cliff Byrne too another mistakes as it should have been Connor Brown!

However Pompey just could not cope with the physical challenge that a big Oldham side provided. The sort of side you might expect Paul Dickov to put together. The hosts seem to spend an inordinate amount of time pushing the ball across the back four with players waiting for movement upfront which did not happen. That is often the problem with players that do not know each others games and they would rather play a simple pass than look foolish and knock a ball into a space with no player there.

The goal that settled it had to be an own goal as debutant Johnny Ertl deflected a good cross from grounds past Mikkel Andersen. Not sure the game deserved a goal though.

Perhaps the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy meeting with Bournemouth on Tuesday night will give Appy a chance to experiment with formations and give his Bunch a chance to gel.

League One corner

Sack race has started – Coventry fire Andy Thorn – good start for the caretaker team of Richard Shaw and Lee Carsley as they dump neighbours Birmingham City out of the League Cup in extra time – they will want the job.

Good week for League One sides with Swindon, Carlisle, Crawley, Doncaster, MK Dons and Preston also knocking out sides from higher divisions.

Deals in the final week of the window included Jimmy Bullard to MK Dons,
David Prutton to Scunthorpe and Dave Kitson to Sheffield United!

Pen Pics – part three

Johnny Ertl – 29 – Austrian International defensive midfield player who stands well over 6ft tall. Played in his homeland for Sturm Graz and Austria Wien before joining Palace in 2008. After two seasons at Selhurst Park he switched to Sheffield United but had his contract cancelled at the end of the 2011/12 season having suffered a cruciate ligament injury in 2011.

Darel Russell – 31 – midfielder has had loads of experience at Norwich (two spells) and Stoke City. He has made well over 400 league appearance and scored nearly fifty goals. After being released by Norwich in 2010 he joined Preston who he left in May. A versatile player Darel has played at Right back and on the right flank as well as central midfield during his career.

Josh Thompson – 21 – defender from Celtic had trialled with Pompey in pre-season and eventually got his move after leaving the Scottish giants. A Stockport County product who joined Celtic in 2009. Had loan spells had several English clubs including Chesterfield and Rochdale.

Northampton or Wembley?

When I asked this question last week just Plymouthgraham let us know his opinion. Quite simply he loved the day out at the County Ground in his words ‘?????Northampton, any day of the week. I was actually thinking about this during the week so must have psychically linked up to the debate. I was at FP that season for almost every game and went to the most away games I have ever done in a season, so remember it fondly and think we would have won the league if Garwood had stayed. It was a great season, filling Fratton, matching the numbers of many ‘home’ supporters when we were away….a fat bloke singing ‘alla-wetta’ and ‘Pee-Orts-Muff’. Players you could talk to – I`ve met Alan Rogers twice down here in Plymouth – great days, standing terraces, and a few quid to get in.-.No contest ??????..`

Must say I agree with him and for all you younger fans let`s just relive that moment. That season had started well and hopes were high only to be hit by a very poor away record over the winter months – at the end of March defeat at Lincoln meant twelve away games without a win – Pompey were out of the top four.

There were just seven games left and only a miracle could see the Blues promoted. Next game was an April Fool`s day trip to Port Vale and Pompey were twice behind in the first half but the joke was on Vale as Joe Laidlaw and a late own goal stole the points. An away win!! Now to beat Hereford at home and 15,000 plus turned up only to see the Bulls defend stoutly and escape with a goalless draw.

The next Monday was Easter bank holiday and a trip to Aldershot for some reason attracted around 10,000 to make the trip to North Hampshire – possibly just to see Colin Garwood who had (for some reason) been sold to the Shots a few weeks previously. Reg Perrin and Laidlaw sealed a 2-1 win in the April sunshine.

Crewe at home the next Saturday and if my memory serves me right a certain Bruce Grobelaar was their keeper and played a blinder. Pompey had to settle for a point again, Alan Rogers grabbing a second half equaliser. Pompey had blown their chance now surely?

Halifax at the Shay was next and the meagre crowd of fewer than 3,000 saw Jeff Hemmerman and Dave Gregory net in a 2-1 win. Two games left and it was six points and pray for a miracle.

The Posh were Pompey`s last Fratton opponents that season and they were taken apart 4-0 with two Peterborough players putting into their own net. That meant Pompey still had a mathematical chance going into their final game at Northampton who themselves had a decent home record.

Pompey had to win and hoped either Bradford lost at Peterborough or the result in the Walsall v Newport game went their way. It was a strange week leading up to the game as the Local papers were on strike and being ten years before the Internet was invented there was no other way of getting any information about the game etc. Radio Victory though did its best to keep fans informed.

We all felt going to the game that our best bet was for already promoted Walsall to beat Newport and then a draw would do – only two points for win in those days remember! The County Ground was shared with the County Cricket Club and therefore had only three sides – Northamptonshire now call the ground Wantage Road – a covered terrace for the home fans, the main stand, a large open terrace and a piece of string.

Normal Cobblers` gates that season were around 2,000 but that was swelled a bit to 10,774 by kick off with ticker-tape covering the pitch and blowing in the breeze. It was of course a noisy place but a nervy please too. We needed information from other games and for that we had to rely on transistor radios and Radio 2 sport. They of course gave little attention to the Fourth Division and because of that rumours spread like wildfire. You could see groups of fans particularly on the large open terrace celebrating wildly and others asking ‘what`s going on?`

The game seemed to take an eternity but there was some relief when Steve Davey headed Pompey in front just before half time. The second half dragged on to until with fifteen minutes left Ian Purdie broke away and scored the second (his only Pompey goal!). Pompey were safe and the fans, still not really knowing what was going on elsewhere, decided to sing their team home.

The full-time whistle blew and the players ran for the sanctuary of the changing rooms as thousands and thousands engulfed the pitch. Are we up? Everyone was asking as the celebrating went on around us. We tried to get a response from the Radio Victory commentary team who were in the stand behind us but they too seemed unsure. All you could get on the radio were the First Division results and we were not interested in them!!

Then suddenly Jim Ware punched the air and that was the signal we needed to commence a party that would last most of the night. The team came out into the small Directors box and were mobbed by fans climbing all over the old rickety stand. Absolute pandemonium!! Still didn`t know the other score though but we were up!! As we left the ground car horns were blaring and champagne was being passed to anyone in blue and white.

It was not for hours that we learned how Bradford laid siege to the Peterborough goal and did everything but score eventually losing 1-0 – had they scored no promotion party. For the records Newport won 4-2 at Walsall meaning Pompey were promoted on goal difference.

What a day!!

I am glad too that Graham enjoyed it – does look old enough!! One point I have to disagree with him on is about Garwood. Colin`s last goal for Pompey was on 1 December and he had been out injured for a time before he was sold. I loved Colin as much as very Pompey fan but I think with a fit Garwood we might have won the league his sale made little difference.

Strange but true

Did you know our first game back in Div 3 football was at Plymouth in the League Cup – our last game after three seasons at that level was at Plymouth?

More TV time

Pompey`s League One trip to Sheffield United will be televised live by Sky Sports. The Bramall Lane clash will now be played on Monday, October 29 (7.45pm kick-off).
25 years ago..

History lesson

Twenty five years ago last Friday Pompey won their first Top flight game since November 1958 when they beat West Ham 2-1 at Fratton. They had to come from behind though and it was Kevin Dillon who netted both goals in the Bank Holiday sunshine.

Strangely the previous victims also wore Claret and Blue – Burnley!

PUP In Appy we trust!