Date:Sunday April 16 2006
Pompey exit the bottom three
For the first time since late November, and the first time since the return of Harry Redknapp, Pompey moved out of the bottom three and the relegation zone.
After the recent performances of late, most fans expected Pompey to win against boro’ but few would have been prepared for the tense nature in which they achieved it.
Boro’ started brightly for a team supposed to be in the comfort zone, and although Kiely’s goal wasn’t really threatened it was definitely them on top for the first twenty minutes. With Pompey struggling to find their feet, a small rumbling which grew into a majority of fans started singing “harry give us a wave” this was met with some Redknapp fist pumping, and suddenly Fratton park exploded with noise, the players responded and started to play with some cohesion, and at last started to look a threat. Todorov had one shot deflected wide, and then Brad Jones saved well at his feet after he followed up another deflected effort.
The second-half started similar to the first, when almost out of the blue came the moment all Pompey fans where dreaming of, Benjani and Todorov combined to shovel a pass out to Gary O’Neil and his right foot did the rest, cue bedlam all round the ground and chants of “we are staying up” seemed to carry genuine belief. When Benjani made his customary exit on the hour , he received a standing ovation, the Pompey fans recognising that although his drought goes on, he plays with passion and a true fight for the cause.
O’Neil almost made it two, shimmying on to his right foot and forcing Brad Jones into a stretching save, and then half-time substitute Routledge came to life, skipping in from the right and again forcing a good save from Jones. As the game wore on, Pompey started to play deeper and deeper, the tension on the pitch clear to see, this invited Boro’ pressure and Pompey scrapped for their lives, not aided by some curious refereeing decisions.
The defensive solidness was typified again by Linvoy Primus, who had an outstanding match, asserting his influence early on with incisive interceptions and stoic tackling on old friend Yakubu, who’s every touch was somewhat unfairly booed by the fratton faithful.
So, another match, another three points and Pompey’s phoenix like raise from the open door of the championship continues, Arsenal achieved what they couldn’t Wednesday, beating our rivals West Brom 3-1, and now Birmingham face Aston Villa on Sunday in what is going to be a good pointer as to the final outcome of the season, Villa are by no means safe yet and need a win as much as brum to stay clear of the battle raging below them.
Monday brings Charlton and Pompey will go hunting a London hat-trick, and possibly another vital three points, for the first time since November safety is our hands, let’s make it count!
Play up Pompey
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