The story of the season - Bristol City (a)
2010/11 season v Bristol City in the league at Fratton, Tuesday 8th March 2011.
A nice 'easy' and 'short one' this, and as they go - at least travel wise, ticket price of £25 was a bit pricey! - relatively inexpensive!
Bristol, as most of you will know with me living in Devon, is a close journey for me so being able to leave 'a mere' 4 ½ hours or so before kick-off and still arrive in plenty of time was fantastic and made a real change.
As I was in Dawlish, having travelled back here on Saturday evening after the Sheff Utd game, I did not have far to go to Exeter industrial estate to meet ken. As Rob was going I could get picked up from Newton Abbot, on his way through from Plymouth, which was only a short train journey from Dawlish. Traffic meant he was running late, although he still arrived before 4pm, we had arranged 3.30-3.45pm and I had only arrived myself somewhere between those times. In spite of this we were with Ken, and Richie who Ken had collected, by 4.15pm and on the road shortly after.
Having been laid low with illness, still undiagnosed as to what the actual problem was, I was not myself - I am naturally quiet but even by my standards I was almost dormouse quite!
'The Pump House' was the pub recommended to Ken so that is where we headed to, having been treated to a muffin supplied by Ken - having someone burst out with 'who wants a muffin' does leave you taken aback if you have absolutely no idea it is coming and what is being talked about. Also, given the 'humorous dirty nature' of most of us you can imagine we shared a few jokes. The pub was very nice I must say and very much 'up market' - especially by Westwood standards, and it was he who suggested this one to Ken. A power cut and then the disruptions of fire alarms made for something different and amused everyone with 'pay the bill, pay the bill, pay the bill' ringing out through the pub. Although I do not think that some of the clientele appreciated the football fans in the pub, which I actually think was the bar of a small hotel or restaurant? Funnily enough as you entered there was a sign that said 'no groups and no football shirts/fans', not that this put them off serving! It was later found out that the power cut had struck the city and did actually leave the game in doubt for a while, albeit very minimal doubt...
Sagre, the Portuguese lager of their choice, flowed. Not for me though, the previously mentioned thoughts of illness was stopping me, and would until I knew exactly what was wrong, from drinking. Coke is not the same, especially on a football day, but needs must and did make a change as being totally and utterly sober, not under the influence of any alcohol at all, was different especially for an away game! Although, to quote Darren, 'there is only so much coke you can drink!'
So, at around 7.30ish it was onto the game...
Our run was ended by a 2-1 defeat. I will say that I thought we played pretty well, especially in the 1st half - actually I thought we played some fantastic football at times. The problem that we had, as we had so much of our season though, was that we did not get enough support coming into the box and the 'strikers' certainly were not doing enough striking! Not enough effort came in at goal full stop.
We got into so many good positions, getting in behind their defence countless times, but the lack of support was criminal as was the final ball at times, which was occasionally way too short or just too long. All too often we delivered into the 6-yard box, and that will be bread and butter to Jamo all day long as he commands his area so well.
WHY Cotterill did not make changes earlier, and offensive instead of defensive when he did is beyond me? The game was crying out for a change, and what a difference Kanu - again - made! Why this did not happen earlier still puzzles me...
So, the run had ended. Of course this was always going to happen at some point and despite the good run, and some good times over the years, following Pompey and seeing us lose, especially on the road, is hardly new to me!
I do not think that any of us were particularly 'gutted' that we had lost, for mentioned reasons really, but most of ours thoughts were along the lines of 'why did Cotterill not change things offensively sooner?' Hey ho, the thoughts of the play-offs now being over took centerstage. Naturally we all want to see Pompey win each week but do not really want to go up, so that quandary is done and dusted now.
The search for a chippy took us around the houses a bit but eventually we found one, well I say chippy but it was a kebab house really. Anyway this was sufficient for Richie and Rob who went for Donner meat and chips, French fries really. Decent time was made going home and I arrived back, Rob dropped me at Ivybridge so I crashed at my parents place, a little after midnight.
So, all in all not a bad days travel, shame about the result, which ironically did not match our play for the majority.
With the run at an end, with a couple of days before I travelled again, it was time to get some packing done for my move of house soon before another whistle stop visit to Cosham at the weekend for the Boro game at Fratton, when we would be looking to get another run going...
PLAY UP POMPEY!