The story of the season - Ipswich (a)
2010/11 season v Ipswich in the league at Portman Road, Saturday 26th February 2011.
So, the Tractor Boys beckoned. Pompey were in pretty decent form, having come off the back of 3 wins. And what a difference it made? Talk on Vital was all about Play Offs, which I thought was perhaps a touch premature, but nonetheless, attention had turned from looking downwards, to looking upwards.
Ipswich is one of those places that you think is not going to take very long to get to. It is not terribly far north (not as far as Birmingham for instance) and should be a doddle, you'd think… However, I've been to Portman Road on many an occasion and know better! I reckon, all in all, that it doesn't take a lot longer to get to Manchester than Ipswich!
Claire, the missus, and I got up nice and early, despite a relatively heavy Friday night before, and were full of the joys of spring, well, sort of.
The drive up didn't really disappoint. Delays at the top of the M3, delays near Bluewater on the M25, but we still managed to get there in good time. An unusually tasty rat burger from a nearby stall, and a couple of pints of the local brew later and we were ready for the game.
We took our place amongst around 1,000 travelling Pompey fans, seeing some familiar faces as always.
A familiar list of names took to the pitch too:
Ashdown, Hermann, De Laet, Halford, Rocha, Ward, Mullins, Hogg, Cotterill, Nugent, Kitson.
Ipswich faced up with some real quality in the side, Connor Wickham, David Norris and Jimmy "Greedy Boy" Bullard to name a few.
The first half was like the Alamo. How Ipswich left the pitch nil-nil, I will never know. We had a few chances, such as a break away involving Nugent that fizzled out. However, it was all Ipswich. Ashdown did superbly well to keep them out, but to be fair Paul Jewell couldn't have been happy with the finishing of Scotland, nor the open goal miss from one yard that the useful Wickham managed to put well wide with his head.
Half-time saw me reach for a Bovril. Desperate times meant desperate measures. Talk was of how lucky we were to still be in the game, and no-one dared to venture that Pompey would come away with anything more than a draw.
The second half started as the first had ended, with Ipswich firing in a shot, well saved by Ashdown. However, the game then began to be slightly more balanced. Pompey grew in confidence. On 55 minutes, still largely against the run of play, Cotterill fired in a free kick that Nugent controlled and despatched into the bottom corner. 1-nil. How?? We all went wild, and thankfully I had finished my Bovril by this point, otherwise it would have been all over the poor lad in front of me.
On 77 mins Nugent latched onto a terrible goal kick and returned the favour of a decent pass to Cotterill who put us 2-up. We were in dreamland by now. And that was how it was to stay, despite Ipswich pushing on for something from the game, the least they deserved really.
So Pompey managed to string 4 wins together. And again, it was all about the second half. If only we could do something in the first half as well, we'd be top of the league. Not vintage football again either, but it was another case of "Win ugly".
4 games before this one, we were deeply worried about relegation but we left Portman Road having sung "We are staying up" for most of the second half. Its hard to see us going down now.
The drive home was a good one. Being able to listen to 5-live with a good, positive feeling about football makes a change. It doesn't make the callers in to 6-O-6 any more interesting however.
Back home for a leisurely 9:30. A good day, and may we have many more to come!
Written by Pompeytim.
The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.