The story of the season - Swansea (a)
2010/11 season v Swansea in the league at The Liberty Stadium, Friday 26th November 2010.
So, a nations passion with egg chasing meant that Pompey's 'should have been' trip to highflying Swansea on a Saturday afternoon was changed to a Friday evening - in many ways not a bad thing as it freed up the weekend, in another not good as football SHOULD be played on a Saturday at 3pm, so losing one of these is always bad!
Even so, this proved a most enjoyable trip...
Originally we were leaving, or at least meeting at Exeter, for around 2.30pm - this meant plenty of time to meet Trina from the train, who was coming to mine for the weekend, before heading off. This changed to a pick up of 12.45pm at mine, not too much earlier really. Nevertheless this still gave me time to walk up and meet her; her train came in at 12.25pm, and still be back here with a bit of time to spare. Killing two birds with one stone I also took Holly, the dog, for a walk.
Rob called at around 12.50pm, saying that he would be with me in a couple of minutes so I said my goodbyes and wondered up to our usual meeting place - sure enough, as I arrived, as did he. It had been a while since I had seen him, the league cup defeat against Leicester the last time in fact we soon determined. The usual catch-up chat, talk of football etc. took place on the journey to Newton Abbott, where we were picking up 'Pikey'. Pikey is a Manyoo fan who has been known to Ken and Rob for years, and occasionally makes a journey with them as he has a 'soft spot' for Pompey. It was the first time I had actually met him, although I had heard a lot about him. By the end of the journey I could see just why he is so well liked and felt like I too had known him for a long time, a top man who I would happily travel to football with anytime. On our approach to Exeter, to meet Ken and Richie, I got the call from Ken to say that they would be slightly late as he was waiting for Richie at Exeter St Davids to finish work - he was coming straight off shift to go.
We arrived at the met point around 1.45pm, and it must have been about 2pm when they showed. After the handshakes and how are you doing type thing we set off...
A smooth, and pleasant journey, soon took a turn for the worse and that is when jokes about getting to Wales and the game being called off starting to seem as though it 'could' become a reality as we encountered a blizzard in, and just exiting, Cardiff! When snow starts to seriously lay on a motorway you are in for trouble! We would not be beaten though; onwards we went, as we had not heard any news of a postponement. Quite how we 'might' end up getting home was only a 'minor' problem in our minds!
By the time we got to Swansea it was clear that we made the right decision as the roads, the fields - well industrial areas - and all surrounding areas were all snow free. It was cold, but that was it. So, we parked up near to the old ground, The Vetch, and then moved over to a 'spoons to grab a few drinks, and they went down nicely... Eventually we had to move on so we parked up nearer the new ground, The Liberty Stadium, where the plan was to go in the pub across from the ground - although it seemed too busy so we would go into the ground and get a drink after Ken had nipped, said hello and passed over a ticket to the friend of his daughters, I believe she went to university with Sue. As it happened it was not as busy as we thought and with Barry and Mike nearer the bar they said they would get us a drink, that was our in so we stayed! Rumours were going round that the kick-off would be delayed until 8pm, with the ground literally across the road even at 7.30pm it was decided there was time enough for another pint even if that was not the case, which it was not...
So, final pint sunk, we still made it into the ground in time and within moments we were 1-0 down - fantastic eh! Almost instantly Dainty Kitten, as Russellm would call him, or Dave Kitson to you or I, had a great chance to equalise but he blew it. We then had a goal disallowed, for what I was not sure but to be fair the linesman's flag went up very quickly so I knew instantly it would not count.
With half time approaching, and Pikey having already long since gone down stairs, Richie and Rob joined him in their attempt to beat the queues for a half time beer - as always Ken and I waited 'just in case' and how right this proved to be as, and not for the first time this season, this meant that a goal was not missed by going down too early. Dave Nugent, slipped through one-on-one, finished smartly to ensure that it was 1-1 at the break. That, to virtually all of us - which was confirmed by talking to people - would have been taken no questions asked. If we could end it now and go home we would! Fortunately that was not the case as Greg Halford rose to nod home the winner with around 20 minutes to play.
There was little pressure put on us in the final minutes, and we saw this through safely. A 2-1 win, that would do nicely.
So, 3pts safely in the bag, all we needed to do was get home! Whilst it would have been foolish to think we would have no problems, I was fairly confident that we would make it through fine - and so we did.
It was plain sailing all the way, arriving back to Rob's car for around 1am, which was not bad. Having said our goodbyes Rob, Pikey and I set off back home, Pikey was dropped off first and then I was next before Rob continued back to Plymouth. I was back in doors and into bed by 2am. Trina woke up and said hi but I soon, I think the beverage intake was catching up with me, crashed out...
A deep sleep was broken by one of my nephew's Cobie at around 3am. Cobie was staying with me for the weekend, and he wanted feeding - in my disoriented state I did not need asking twice if I wanted Trina to feed him, so she did. All fed he was soon off to sleep again, as were we, I was happy in the knowledge that Pompey had stopped the rot, picked up a good win and a bloody good time, to be fair as always, was had by all.
Roll on the next game, which we now know will be Norwich away as Burnley was called-off due to weather conditions...
PLAY UP POMPEY!