Toast Season 4 # 31 - fighting performance
The St Georges' day international match failed to live up to expectations in the Fratton Park sunshine yesterday afternoon.
As goalless draws go this was not the worst I have seen except of course it had no goals. Pompey battled away against the odds to take a well earned point from a disappointing Swansea City side. The last time the visitors scored a league goal at Fratton was Christmas 1960!!
I seem to remember a certain ex-manager who used to constantly complained about 'being down to the bare bones' but with the state of the present Pompey squad he had nothing to moan about. Starting with just four substitutes the home side picked injuries to Dave Kitson and Richie De Laet and finished with Greg Halford, Aaron Mokoena and David Nugent limping. The question now is can they field a team in Monday's game at Burnley? With David Cotterill eligible they will run into the five loanees problem as well.
The game started well for Pompey and Mok should have put them ahead when he failed to finish with an unmarked header from just six yards. That was after just three minutes and although Pompey continued to probe they could not test De Vries in the visiting goal. In fact they only managed one effort on target when skipper Hermann Hreidarsson headed straight at the keeper midway through the second half.
Swansea who still have hope of automatic promotion offered little until the closing moments when manager Brendan Rogers made a positive substitution when Pompey were beginning to tire in the Fratton heat. It was all to no avail though as after six minutes injury time Jamie Ashdown could celebrate another clean and the team were given a good ovation by the home fans.
As for the Swans it is play offs at best for them and the second promotion spot would appear to be a straight race between Cardiff and Norwich.
A few items of note though - why was Hermann captain with both Mokoena and Kitson in the side, have they been passed over? Good to hear yesterday that the London Supporters club have voted Joel Ward as their player of the season. And finally and I know I always carp about them but the referee Darren Deadman had an 'interesting` game appearing to spend some time winding up the visiting fans as Mokoena received attention then to be given an ovation by the north lower a few seconds later. The thirty four year old Civil Servant from Peterborough appeared to want to have words with the crowd whenever possible; quite a character but still made some poor decisions.
Is it just me or does Swansea defender Alan Tate bear a strange resemblance to former Derby and Wales`s midfielder Alan Durban?
Former Pompey player Allan Brown died this week at the age of 84.
The Scottish international wing half spent three years at the club after joining from Luton Town in 1960 and made seventy four appearances scoring eight goals.
Born in Leven, Fife on 12 October 1926 Allan Brown was to play for a short spell at Pompey during the early sixties but could have been at Fratton Park for a great deal longer.
He joined local club East Fife in 1944 and after wartime service in the far east rejoined them three years later. The wing half attracted a great deal of interest from English First Division clubs. Pompey then the Champions made a move in 1950 but Brown decided he had a better chance of first team football at Blackpool and joined the Bloomfield Road club for £26,000.
He was to stay for six seasons playing in the same side as Stanley Matthews and Mortensen but injury was to rob him of the chance to play in both the 1951 and 1953 FA Cup finals but he did represent his country at the 1954 World Cup finals in Switzerland.
After six successful years on the seaside - In August 2006, Brown was voted by members of the Blackpool Supporters' Association as one of the inaugural members of the club's Hall of Fame - Allan moved on the Luton Town and here he made up for previous disappointments when playing in the 1959 Cup Final but lost to Nottingham Forest a club he would later manage.
Then nine years after rejecting Pompey he signed for manager George Smith in 1961 at the same time as Johnny Gordon returned from Birmingham City. The problem was the former champions were now a struggling Second Division outfit and relegation soon followed. Allan was to play a major role in ensuring that Pompey bounced straight back and he missed just to games in the title winning 1961/62 season.
The next season he lost his place to Harry Harris and eventually decided at the age of thirty six to retire. Brown then became player manager of then-Cheshire League side Wigan Athletic in 1963. Under his guidance, they won four trophies in a season and went on a remarkable 52-match unbeaten run. That success alerted Luton Town who snapped him up in 1966. He then went on to have spells managing Torquay, Bury, Nottingham Forest, Southport and Blackpool (twice).
At Forest he was responsible for bringing Tony Woodcock and Viv Anderson to the club, albeit indirectly as apprentices. He also signed Ian Bowyer amongst others, and starting the career of Duncan McKenzie. In essence he started what Brian Clough finished. He is fondly remembered by Forest fans for his contribution to the club's success.
A refreshing referee!
Scotland England Centenary Shield game at Inverness on Thursday Scotland break away and striker falls under pressure from a defender. Referee awards free kick to England and booked the Scottish player for 'simulation'. Meanwhile the Assistant Referee is frantically stood waving his flag and after some discussion with the players the referee goes over to talk to him. Now I do not know what the Linesman said as I am not a lip-reader but he was incensed and was clearly shouting at the senior official.
The outcome was the referee changed his mind awarded the free kick to the home team; he then apologised to the Scotland player and rescinded the yellow card!! How refreshing and something we would never see in the Championship!
Out of interest the competition is for U18 schoolboys and Scotland won the game with a late goal to share the title with Northern Ireland.
As you all know by now a special day is being arranged for the final home game of the season on May Day Bank holiday (2nd May). A special website has been set up here
We will write full details of the event next Sunday but please support the event a lot of hard work has been put in by the fans seeking sponsorship, raffle prizes and organising the whole day. While the club have been supportive this is a FAN'S day and is a celebration of all things Pompey.
Things already planned include a raffle with top prize of two season tickets and many others, rides, competitions, music, a bar, food stalls and lots more. The tifo we mentioned some time ago will be on the Fratton End only and is sponsored by Jobsite at a cost of some £3,000, that should quite a spectacle on Sky Sports!! The cards which are in fact clappers will spell out 1898!
SC on trials
Steve Cotterill is hoping he does not have to run the rule over a long list of potential recruits over the summer after deciding not to take a gamble on Scott Neville. The 22-year-old Australian defender spent two weeks on trial with Pompey and now appears to be heading to Sheffield Wednesday.
That's it for this week I am off to enjoy the current outbreak of Bank Holidays.