2008/09 Pompey in review - September
The first Fratton win of 08/09 came after the first win of the season, the 3-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park in our last league game, but this win would come a couple of weeks later as an international break was sandwiched between that Everton game at the end of August and the win over Boro on Saturday 13th September.
It was not convincing but it was another win! The winning strike from Jermain Defoe with around 5 minutes to go, his 2nd of the game and 3rd in his last two Pompey games, completed the comeback from a goal down to see us to a 2-1 win - a good way to start the month and set us up for our first ever uefa cup game...
European football for Pompey had been nothing more than just a dream for most of us for most of our lives, but we had been getting closer and the FA cup win ensured that we would have this in 2008 and we hoped into 2009, but sadly not - this kicked of on Thursday 18th with Vitoria SC from Guimarães, Portugal as our opponents in the two-legged encounter to see who would progress to the group phases, which would then ensure another 3 European games to follow, at least!
Unfortunately the TV people and uefa dictated that we would kick-off at a ludicrously early time of 6pm, all though I still think that Pompey could have said 'no, put it at a more reasonable time', but they decided to take the money. Looking back had we known how little coverage they would have given us as the tournament progressed, apart from the made rush for the Milan game, we might have had second thoughts - although with extra money for the coffers perhaps not...
Despite the 6pm kick-off time Fratton was of course sold out and the atmosphere electric - evening games are fantastic, but an evening game in European competition was even better, as future games would also testify too! It was a decent enough performance and we gained the upper hand with a 2-0 win thanks to a fantastically crafted and taken goal from Lassana Diarra - his last for Pompey I think - and Defoe, who also missed a penalty but not before Vitoria had also missed one before half time.
League action returned on the Sunday and the visit to Citeh, where we were royally spanked 6-0 after putting in the most appalling display.
The defending against a decent, yet not great, Citeh side that was never six goal better than us - although on the day they clearly were - was woeful, the midfield non-existent and the defence looking tired, static and aging... The less said about Sunday 21st September the better!
Then again things did not get much better on Wednesday 24th either when Chelski came to Fratton and promptly spanked us 4-0 to send us out of the league cup - the team selection was very much one of a 'this is not an important game to us' and basically typical of 'him' really and his thoughts when facing a 'big team'. You know, the 'no one expects us to win' mentality, they expect this even less when you field a weaker side, which although weaker should have still been good enough to have put up more of a fight!
So, the dream of returning to Wembley, at least in the league cup, was over for another season...
The footballing month ended with 'relegation threatened' Spurs coming to Fratton on Sunday 28th for the now notoriously famous 'Sol game', the one where Spurs fans were slatted for their actions from people all over, including their would be manager who branded them all manor of things! Of course the guilty parties were eventually found out, named and shamed with several punished.
On the pitch we got back to winning ways with Defoe - who made a point of not celebrating, not that he would have a problem later in the season when roles were reversed - and Crouch further building the partnership with a goal apiece.
Starting with a win and ending with a win made September a decent month, despite a couple of 'setback' along the way...
PLAY UP POMPEY!