Pompey kept their Championship lives in tact yesterday but only just. An injury time equalizer last week was followed by two last minute goals at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Pompey have a very good record against Doncaster and have only lost in Yorkshire to them on one occasion. After just five minutes though that record appeared in tatters as they found themselves 2-0 behind and just about to be counted out by the referee – sorry not a boxing match – but they managed to get to half time for what must have been a hell of an ear-bashing from boss Michael Appleton.
Dave Kitson had already replaced a limping Kelvin Etuhu halfway through the opening period and Appy decided o pull off Luke Varney and give young Ashley Harris his first decent look at the action.
It was then that the Pompey fans decided to show their neighbours what supporting your team is all about. On Friday we all saw Southampton fans sat on their hands as their team slumped to defeat making no effort to raise the team and booing them at times. The blue side of Hampshire though does things rather differently though starting the second half with a conga and singing their hearts out in total support of their team.
It worked as two Greg Halford goals brought Pompey level within twenty minutes – Habib Beye who had scored the first home goal saw red for his part in the first penalty – after watching it in slow motion contact was outside the area.
It was expected that against ten men Pompey would now go on and win the game but they were in for a big surprise as James Coppinger put a shot through Jason Pearce`s legs to put Donny back in front on 67 minutes.
The game entered the final minute and Chris Maguire hit a hopeful cross which JP did well to nod back a Dave Kitson bundled the ball over the line from a few inches – he is deadly from that range.
Then deep into injury time Marko Futacs – on for Rekik – picked up the pieces after a Joel Ward punt was not cleared and calmly slotted the ball past the keeper. After the game Appy would only say he was relieved rather than elated at the result.
Well Donny fans it was a bad day for you as you sink back to League One but it is still quite possible that we will see you again next year.
We will have to say a few fond farewells in the coming few days as many of Pompey`s current squad play their final games at Fratton Park.
For loanee Chris Maguire Tuesday`s visit of Crystal Palace will be his last home game as he is unable to play against his own club Derby County. Chris has certainly given the attack great impetus since his arrival and shown to his boss Nigel Clough that perhaps he is worth a starting place in the Rams line up.
It would be nice to see Chris stay but I doubt the club whoever is the owner would be able to afford the fee of around half a million pounds necessary to tempt Derby to sell.
Scott Allan the young Scottish midfielder on loan from West Brom has also impressed with willingness to chase everything and is a great prospect but again he would be well beyond Pompey`s budget.
Others known to be off include Benjani who will not be offered a new deal. Benjy won the hearts of fans in the 2006 Great Escape with his work rate. His first goal though was a long time coming but worth the wait as it came at Wigan the day Pompey were confirmed as safe. He eventually became a regular goalscorer – topping the Premier League charts for a spell and that tempted Manchester City to pluck him away on deadline day 2008 for £8m.
He returned of course at the start of this season which has seen him play in less than half the games and score just one goal. Fratton Park though will want to say farewell to a real legend.
Benjy has a special game to look forward to in May as he has been awarded a testimonial game in Harare to thank him for his services to Zimbabwean football. A list of African players have been invited to take part including Steven Pienaar, Bongani Khumalo, Lucas Radebe, El-Hadji Diouf, Kolo Toure, Didier Drogba, Alex Song, Yakubu and Michael Essien.
The King is abdicating?
The last on the list of course is the King. It appears as though Kanu will be allowed to leave at the earliest opportunity. If he does he will waive his agreement what would have been an interesting coaching contract. I know that every single Pompey fan would want the chance to say thank you and good luck for the future.
There are so many things to thank him for other than the winners in the 2008 FA Cup semi-final and final. Plucked from the depths of WBA reserves he scored twice on his debut as a substitute against Blackburn – missing a penalty for his hat-trick in the final minute. He scored twenty Pompey goals in nearly one hundred and fifty games and probably the most notable outside of Wembley was the second against Milan when he swept home Glen Johnson`s cross at the Fratton End.
King was not known for the greatest training regime in the later years of his Pompey career usually seen at the Eastleigh site in flip-flops. Perhaps that is where his career was similar to that of Paul McGrath who would play admirably week in week out for Aston Villa but would only work in the gym on his fitness.
He is of course still a great ambassador for African football and has the Kanu Foundation which raises money to help underprivileged African children and young adults, living with different heart ailments in Nigeria and other African countries respectively, obtain the cardiac surgical operations needed.
He holds a few records too like the Premier League player to make the most substitute appearances.
King we will never forget you!!
We have heard a lot about our players being loyal to the club now we will find out who meant it.
With the financial restructuring of the club an absolute necessity if survival is to be achieved, new contracts whatever the division will be on reduced wages. TB told fans on Friday that is League One he would expect players to be paid between £2-3k a week – which would equate for a twenty man squad to the reported earnings of TBH.
There will be a mass exodus at the end of season without doubt and it will be interesting to see who if any of the established stars remain.
To survive the summer months income will need to raised in transfer fees and a few of the squad could demand a decent fee.
Up and down
The end of the season could be rather strange for Hayden Mullins as he could be celebrating promotion and relegation in the same season!
Funny game football!!
PUP and keep the faith