SEASON REVIEW: October
The month of October started with some bizarre off the pitch happenings. Portsmouth players had not been paid for the month of September and fans wanted answers. After postponing a meeting with certain fan groups, Sulaiman Al-Fahim was 'reportedly' taken to hospital after fallen victim to kidneys stones. Al-Fahim sent 'proof' of this with a picture of a hospital tag with an expensive watch. Something was up.
Back on the pitch and Pompey travelled to Molineux to try and end their losing streak. After a controversial (yet in my opinion, correct) decision to award a corner, the ball dropped for Boateng, whose pinpoint cross was steered into the net from Hassan Yebda's diving header. It was his full league debut for the club and it was the first time this season Pompey had been in the lead. It was a tense match between two teams fighting at the foot of the table and chances were few and far between. Luck had been against Pompey so far this season, but this all changed shortly after the hour mark, when a cross was 'chested' out by Marc Wilson. Replays showed that may have just clipped his hand, or maybe it was a blatant diving save which Gordon Banks would have been proud of but nobody could deny that Pompey needed this win badly.
Pompey had a weeks rest thanks to another international break but off the field things had fallen apart, and less than 6 weeks as owner, Al-Fahim was left with no choice but to sell 90% of this stake in the club to Ali al-Faraj, and step down to the position of non-executive chairman. Although reports claimed he 'sold' his shares in the club, Al-Fahim said he didn't receive any payment for the club.
The win against Wolves should have brought with it a bit of momentum, but the break between fixtures meant the visit of Spurs to Fratton Park was a tough one, even more so by the endless links between the clubs. This showed on the pitch as well as in the crowd as things started passionately and never really died down. Defoe was a nuisance and had already seen one shot saved by James before hitting the post minutes later. At the other end, Boateng had a few half-chances but Aruna Dindane managed to enter Portsmouth's miss of the season award three times, the worst attempt he blazed over from 4 yards. Pompey paid for these missed opportunities as Ledley King popped up to put Spurs into a deserved lead. This lead was doubled on the stroke of half-time when the old enemy Defoe beat David James after a great ball through from Jenas. This should have ended the game but Pompey came out second half and changed the game in the space of two minutes. Boateng scored a fantastic goal on the volley just a minute before Defoe made everyone's day by getting himself sent off for a stamp on Mokoena. The final half hour saw opportunities for Dindane, Piquionne and Smith, but it was not Pompey's day. This was confirmed as Michael Brown was given his second yellow card in stoppage time.
Next up for Pompey was a visit to the KC Stadium against Hull. A match which despite showing some great battling football, didn't give many opportunities. Aruna Dindane and Tommy Smith came closest to scoring for Pompey, whilst at the other end David James easily kept out any efforts from the hosts. Pompey now had played 10 games and amassed just 4 points. Worse still, Ali al-Faraj wasn't exactly the savour that Pompey needed as news started to emerge that wages may be late once again this month.
Next up was another Carling Cup match, this time at home against Stoke. With both teams making numerous changes going into the match, it proved to be the hosts night as Pompey took the lead after 17 minutes when Piquionne beat Simonsen with a header. Pompey had chances to double their lead before the interval but had to wait until the 55th minute when Danny Webber drilled the ball into the net. Five minutes after Piquionne put the game out of reach for Stoke with his second and Pompey's third. King Kanu ended the rout with minutes left after coolly rounding the keeper.
Pompey had only scored 5 goals in their 10 league games, whereas in the Carling Cup we had netted 11 times in 3 games. Paul Hart must have had this in mind going into the last fixture of October at home to Wigan.
Pompey were rampant and Brown and O'Hara could have scored a goal apiece before Dindane opened the scoring with a delicious dink over the keeper. Deep into first half stoppage time it was 2 when Dindane played in Piquionne who raced clear of the defence and finished with aplomb. Pompey continued to show their dominance second half and Dindane got his second after good work from Kanu. Kanu once again was involved in the final goal as some neat footwork earned Pompey a penalty, which Dindane buried to complete a fine hat-trick. 4-0 was a result that flattered a poor Wigan side and was much needed going into November.
SEASON REVIEW: Pre-Season - here.
SEASON REVIEW: August.
SEASON REVIEW: September.