2008/09 Pompey in review - October
Thursday 2nd October and uefa cup football returned with our first ever venture overseas in the competition as we went over to Guimarães, Portugal to face Vitoria SC. A 2-0 1st leg lead was a nice cushion but the game was not over - as we would find out!
Going in at 2-0 down at half time was not in the script and the European adventure was in danger of collapsing... Thankfully our 2nd half showing was much better and the longer the game went on the more likely we looked like we would be winners as the Portuguese side tired badly.
Extra time was needed and, if I recall - it seems a million years ago now - right after Vitoria has a 3rd goal disallowed for offside we broke away and Peter Crouch scored that all important away goal on the stroke of half-time, when 2 meter Peter added his second in the 2nd half that was that, a 2-2 draw saw us through 4-2 overall - the blues went marching on, Group stages here we came!
What a fantastic adventure this was, anyone that was in Portugal, especially the afternoon of the game in that town square will take that with them for the rest of their lives - you cannot really put into words how amazing it was...
It was back to league action on Sunday October 5th as Stoke came to Fratton - again we were not convincing but the all-important 3pts in the bag were secured with a 2-1 win.
A fantastic acrobatic volley from Crouch, one of the goals of the season, put us ahead but from a long throw-in - surprise, surprise - Stoke managed to equalise through former Pompey striker Ricardo Fuller...minutes later Jermain Defoe scored another to secure the points, job done!
After an international break we would be on our league travels for the first time in the month - Villa Park, the scene of a fine win the season before, would be the scene of what would prove to be Jamie's Dads final league game in charge of Pompey, again - we had little idea of this at the time...
We had chances, but then again so did Villa but a battling display, with 10-men after Sean Davis was sent off, saw us come away with a point in a 0-0 draw - Saturday 18th October was unfortunately best remembered for the coin throwing incident though, was this aimed at him or the official it hit? Either way this should not have happened!
The first uefa cup Group game took place on Thursday October 23rd, this saw us return to Portugal to our previous rounds nearest rivals Braga!
We were well and truly spanked 3-0, the selection was wrong - did we want out of the competition or did someone know something we did not, me suspects more than a hint of both as the apparent lack of interest from the sidelines evident...
Some might think that 'he' had no idea that Spurs were going to sack their manager and he would then take over at White Hart Lane, but for news to first break very, very late on Saturday night and an agreement in place around midnight for him to take over would not have happened that quick - there must have been some inkling that Spurs were sacking 'one day' Ramos, so I suspect that he already had whisperings in his ear that they were earmarking him?
Ah well, nothing can change things but for me, the management went into this game with other things on their mind as it certainly was not on this game and ultimately this 3-0 mauling is what left us with an uphill task to achieve qualification...
So, having walked out for a second time, and on the eve of a league game Tony Adams and Joe Jordan took temporary charge of the team for the visit of Fulham to Fratton on Sunday 26th October.
This game was a definite sign of things to come over the months, the frustration at not seeing off a game that we should have and not opening the scoring before Crouch did with around 30 minutes to play was only compounded by woodwork denying us and chances missed with Fulham grabbing a point at the death, a point in a 1-1 was certainly 2pts lost, and like I say acted as a marker for the months ahead...
Adams was then officially appointed as manager and his first task as 'the boss' was to take his troops to Anfield for the easy matter of a game against Liverpool on Wednesday 29th October.
We set out with the lone striker, Crouch was the man selected and a certain Defoe was not happy - many think that this was the moment that he decided he was off, he did not like the fact that he was 'dropped' even though this was the right decision tactically, and acted like a spoilt kid. The fact that his mentor had snuck off like a thief in the night too played a major role in his eventual 'decision' to leave.
Pompey battled that night and were unlucky to be beaten, but beaten we were after a moment of madness from Papa Bouba Diop when he lunged at the ball with both hands - as it happens I am still not convinced that he touch the ball, but you can see why a penalty was given and Steven Gerrard did the rest to give the bin dippers a 1-0 win.
Defoe did get on, but was only given some 5 minutes or so, for me, despite a possible 'attitude problem' I would have had him on the minute the penalty hit the back of the net and would have rather we lost 2-0 or 3-0 having gone in search of the point instead of a 'damage limitation act', but there you go...
PLAY UP POMPEY!