The story of the season - Millwall (h)
Waking up and Boxing Day and preparing to go to Fratton Park was nothing new, as going for the first home fixture immediately following Christmas has become a tradition. But this year there was a spanner in the works. Instead of waking up at my Dad's house and making the 20 minute journey to Fratton Park, my journey instead started 157 miles north of Portsmouth, just outside Stoke-on-Trent.
This year I was spending Christmas Day with my mothers side of the family, who had flown from all corners of the globe to meet in snowy Stoke, including my auntie from Hong Kong, and myself from Ireland. Christmas Day itself was much more low-key than usual, with my younger cousins getting spoilt by Santa, and most of the household falling asleep by 10, which boded well for me as I have troubles functioning without at least 9 hours of sleep.
Boxing Day I was awoken at 7 by my alarm, and started making sure all my stuff was in order to leave the house. With the trains not running, I had to rely on air-travel, which had not been my friend in recent weeks, and with the snow seemingly here to stay, I wasn't counting my chickens just yet. I arrived at Manchester Airport nice and early, around 8:30 in preparation for a 10:10 flight, and sat in the lounge whilst catching up on my e-mails on my brand new laptop (Thanks Santa).
The plane was slightly delayed, but nothing too major, and we landed in Southampton at 11:10, and was then picked up by my awaiting family, including my Dad, younger brother, Grandad, uncle and Dad's mate. The conversation for the 30 minute journey was mainly about Pompey, todays team, Christmas & last visits to Fratton Park. It was then that I realised I hadn't been for nearly a year, the 4-1 defeat to Arsenal on December 30th the last time I had been present. Of course, I had seen us play at Wembley twice since then.
By the time we had parked up and got to the pub (Mr Pickwick's) it was exactly 12, as the Fulham - West Ham match was just kicking off. We washed down/topped up on the previous day's drinking and managed 2 quick pints before heading off to the ground at around 12:35. We had a managed to secure 6 seats beside each other in the upper south stand, right next to the Milton End, and the view was half decent, despite being impeded by as many as 4 pillars.
The match itself was end to end, and pretty entertaining. The general consensus of the group as we left was a point was a fair result, but I quietly disagreed, I thought we created enough opportunities second half to win it, but a point is better than none. The crowd seemed a bit quieter from the south stand, and Millwall done their best and made a fair bit of noise.
The journey home was short, as we escaped right as the final whistle blew, just in front of the crowds, and had no traffic problems whatsoever. On the journey back we reflected on missed opportunities, pondered on whether Nugent's disallowed goal was offside and discussed the importance of the 3 fixtures coming within the next 8 days. The 'P' word was mentioned several times, as was the 'R' word, and a few wins or losses can see us climb or fall quite quickly.
All in all it was a good day, the cold wasn't as bitter as expected, and the match itself lived up to my expectation of the Championship, which I haven't stopped enjoying since our return. A great day and looking forward to the next visit against Hull on the 3rd.
Play Up Pompey.