Date:Wednesday March 21 2012
What a difference a half makes, or more to the point I guess what a difference a half time talk makes, then again you could argue merely what a goal can do!
At half time last night to go in at 1-0 down I think most of us would have taken than as Birmingham, for the most part of the 1st half, looked ready to add to their early goal at anytime!
Yet again though, as so often happens and most definitely did at the weekend, we came out in the 2nd half like a totally different side.
Granted the sending off very much worked in our favour and the opening goal took quite a deflection it seemed, not forgetting a pretty obvious handball by Chuck in the build-up to our second goal, but all in all I think we deserved this fortune!
The whole atmosphere was flat but as soon as the Chris Maguire goal went in everything changed...
Appy's words of wisdom during the half time break helped do the trick though.
He asked for more and certainly got it: 'I said to the players at half-time that I was disappointed with the goal we gave away, because it was a soft one but I also said I thought the game was there for the taking. I told the lads to step it up and increase the tempo. I asked them what they were waiting for, because they needed to go out and express themselves.
'I wanted to see more energy and enthusiasm because before the break we never really threatened to get in behind them.
'I told them it was the last chance saloon - and they responded. We got in people's faces in the second half and created some good opportunities. The players worked harder for longer and as soon as Chris Maguire scored the equaliser you could see it lift everyone. It gave everyone that little bit of belief. It took the pressure off the players and made everyone relax a little bit.'
As I said, much like Appy has, the Maguire goal - deflected or not - breathed new life into us and he gained praise from Appy as did Kelvin Etuhu who made a real difference when he came on, scoring a goal within minutes: 'everyone has seen enough of Chris Maguire already to know what ability he's got. I've got a lot of faith in the lad.
'Kelvin has been a little bit frustrated on the bench lately but he's come on and taken his opportunity.'
As the saying goes 'one swallow doesn't make a summer' although this win could act as a springboard to a dramatic escape by Pompey?
Appy knows that there will be 'twists and turns' before the season is done but knows that victory at Coventry at the weekend would make things 'very interesting' in the closing games: 'there are nine games to go and who knows what`s going to happen. There will be a lot of twists and turns.
'We've got a big game at Coventry on Saturday and we'll go into the game full of confidence. And if we pick up a victory it will make it very interesting.'
Whilst I think we have to be mindful of getting too carried away it is possible that this time next week we could be out of the relegation zone 'if' we can beat both Coventry and Hull but lets take it a game at a time though eh!
Coventry is a massive '6-pointer' now.
If we really are to pull off quite possibly the greatest escape ever we must win that one and if we cannot go into that with confidence, following our best home win in 18-months, then we never will!
Bring on The Sky Blues...
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Date:Wednesday March 21 2012
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