Vital Football

From the vault - 'that Pedro Mendes match'

From the vault - 'that Pedro Mendes match'

Seen as 'on this day' back in 2006 we witnessed one of the most memorable days in our history - I think 'that Pedro Mendes match' was one of our most memorable, right? - it is fitting that we look back at an article written and published back in November/December 2007 by myself...

March 11th 2006, one of those days that will forever be etched in the memory of any Pompey fans. What a previous encounter, an encounter when our survival bid was well and truly kick-started.

The 'Pedro Mendes' match will never be forgotten will it. Well, it is a day that I will certainly never forget, even though I actually did not see the game nor did I hear the most part of it, bar the final couple of minutes plus the all important injury time...

It was a great day, but also a horrible day... living where I do and the financial constraints I then faced - they are not as bad now, but still I do not see many games - meant this was one of many games that I missed, not having Pompey World as it then was or being able to play the match through the net on the Quay meant I was restricted to listening to whatever game was on radio 5 live and making do with the online scores and what Soccer Saturday had to offer... it was torture!

Every now and then whatever game was the main commentary on the radio on that day kept crossing to Fortress Fratton for an update but it was never good news, not bad either but not good, it was a must win game. Then on the hour, the words 'lets cross to Fratton Park' were spoken, with fingers firmly crossed - tighter than they already were - it was a 25 yard screamer from Mendes that put us ahead, delight would be an understatement but I still had 30 minutes of this torture to go!

Our failure to score a 2nd worried me more and more as the time went on, knowing also that we had not kept a clean sheet in some 3 months made me nervous and when, with less than 10 minutes to go they 'crossed' to Fratton again my heart sank... even more so when they said that Richard Dunne had equalised.

A point was not enough, we had to win, we just had to as our plight was that bad - this would have basically been the final nail in the coffin. I had never given up hope, but at Christmas and early in 2006 we looked screwed, but then into injury time and one of the greatest and most important goals Pompey are ever likely to score came...

By this time the commentary had switch permanently to Fratton, Svetoslav Todorov and Lomana LuaLua had gone close, but from 30 yards after an exquisite touch Mendes did it again, beating the then Man City keeper David James who lashed the ball wildly into the crowd as the ball came back out of the net to him as the crowd went wild, along with the players and every single Pompey fan around the world - I went berserk, I really did.

The name Pedro Mendes was well and truly etched into the record books for Pompey and he will never be forgotten for as long as Portsmouth Football Club are going.

Both goals were fantastic, but the 2nd goal was special for so many reasons - we still had a lot of work to do to avoid relegation that season, but that was the moment that I not only knew, not thought, I knew we were destined to not only stay up but our future was going to be a magically one - and so far so good...

Ok, in many ways things are not so 'magical' now, but this magical moment will ALWAYS be magical, right?


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Date:Thursday March 11 2010
Time: 9:01AM


Great memories of a GREAT afternoon at Fratton Park. I also still argue the Richard Dunne goal was offside. Mind you that would have robbed of the great finish and the impetus that gave the 'Great Escape'
11/03/2010 09:56:00
Just a massively emotional day; I never considered relegation was going to happen again that season; never doubted the great escape was on. Even after the frustrating heart breaking result against Charlton a week or so later.
11/03/2010 10:06:00
Was a great day, I remember I had the house to myself and was listening to the game on The Quay. And when that 2nd goal went in I screamed the house down in celebration.
11/03/2010 15:17:00
After 35+ years of going to Fratton Park, let alone numerous away days, certainly a wonderful moment to witness. Such a shame we had to let him go after the Cup Final.
11/03/2010 16:56:00
Great article. I had to listen on radio 5 as well. I remember going absoutley loopy when Mendes scored, much to the delight of my then 6 year old son. And moments later there was a replay of the commentry for the goal in the headlines for Radio5' 'Sports Report' ..I went loopy again
11/03/2010 17:30:00
Just re-read my match report, can't remember writing it!!
11/03/2010 18:30:00
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