Toast 6#9 - Crewe cut down to size
Another sleep in the Fratton sunshine yesterday afternoon as Pompey cruised into an early two goal lead and only the referee punctuated the proceedings with the needless repeated flashing of his yellow card.
I can`t remember the last time Pompey scored as early as the second minute but Wes Thomas got his head on the end of a John Harley ship after another poor Brian Howard corner had only been half cleared and Pompey were on their way. It was Thomas who was fouled fifteen minutes later to give Pompey their third penalty in successive matches. This time Izale McLeod snatched the ball away from Akos Buzsacy and slammed the spot kick home.
Not really sure why there was the altercation between Izale and Buz but it was something skipper Howard should have sorted out but after the goal the Hungarian noticeably did not congratulate the Pompey leading scorer.
Appy shuffled the pack and made a few surprises; John Harley started on the right of midfield, Lee Williamson moved to right back had his best game for the club, Buzsacy started on the left. The side in this shape looked better set up to go forward and that showed with number of chances created in the opening half. Gabor Gyepes and Lud Michalik were solid at the back despite GG obviously feeling his back and stopping to take some painkillers during the first half.
Referee David Phillips booked six Pompey players in a game which was never dirty and they did not fit with the game. Only Howard`s was warranted and those to McLeod - persistent misconduct, Buzsacy - taking a free kick too quickly and sub Luke Rogers for time wasting in the final seconds were not necessary. Some might and certainly did use other words.
The crowd spent most of the afternoon giving their backing to Appy and letting the Football League know that they want to run THEIR club. One song declaring that intention drew applause all around the ground. The crowd incidentally was 11,829, an increase over the last game and with Shrewsbury at the Park next week let`s hope the attendance can be over 13,000. Pack the Park has to be the message.
So the saga goes on and on! The Football League met on Thursday and as far as I know issued no statement to let US the fans know what is going on. We thought the Premier League were bad!! The League will no doubt want their ten points as penance.
The mixed messages coming out from that meeting do not help as the sad affair stretches on. The bids are in and somebody MUST make a decision soon. Of course Mike Hall has not helped with his excellent piece of investigative journalism that I know he has been working on for years. He has often given those of us who sat with him at the old PVA meetings in the past odd snippets of what he was uncovering. Great stuff Mike and thanks from every Pompey fan!!
All farewells recently - now it is Owen Coyle sacked by Bolton after a bad start. One of the nice men in football and always honest, he will always be remembered for the remarkable way he handled the Fabrice Muamba incident in such near tragic circumstances.
Interesting to hear that Muamba is to meet FIFA President Sepp Blatter and could be offered an ambassadorial role by the sport`s governing body.
Maeanwhile with vacancies in just about every Lancashire club Appy is being linked with jobs at Bolton, Blackburn, Burnley etc. Would you blame him if he took one?
Life in the lower reaches means that although we won the FA Cup four long years ago, Pompey have to enter at the First Round stage with games being played on Saturday November 3rd.
In the draw with Pompey and the other forty seven league clubs will be thirty two non league outfits. I can remember games with Bideford, Minehead and Boston in the seventies all safely overcome (and attracted five figure crowds) and of course there was Barnet as recently at 1991 - Guy took care of them on his own, but who might we get in next weeks draw?
The non league sides would love a trip to Fratton but non will be trying harder than a certain Gosport Borough who travel to Slough Town next Sunday in the Fourth Qualifying Round. That would be a real fairy tale for the Borough a club with such close ties to Pompey. Other local sides still with a chance include - AFC Totton, Blackfield and Langley, Dorchester Town and Woking.
Interestingly Richard Money who we talked about last week welcomes one of his old club`s and 1959 Cup Finalists Luton Town to Cambridge`s Abbey Stadium.
Next week`s draw will be interesting!! Remember that the early rounds are no longer regionalised which often means League Two (or even One clubs) get a long trip to a non league side and don`t fancy it and along comes an upset. Fancy a trip to Workington or Barrow anyone? I have picked those two because even with my knowledge of English football and geography I have no idea where South Park are located - thought it was a Cartoon series!
(P.S. It is in Reigate)
Take the bus
Those of you who travel to Fratton Park by bus will be interested to know that come 18 November all the bus services in the City change. First Bus will make some efforts to let the public know of this upheaval but there are website around the globe that will need updating after this change.
For instance fans leaving the Gosport and Isle of Wight ferries will have hopped on the number eighteen to god`s green acre. They will have done that since 1930 too but now the service you need will be a number one. Visit the First Bus website if you want more details it will be confusing for a time no doubt.
St James' is back..
Some time ago I asked if you would sell the name Fratton Park for a sponsorship deal - that coming hot on the heels of St James` Park being renamed the Sports something or other arena. Well Wonga have given the ground back the name it was born with - hoorah we all say.
The Toon army though are not totally happy with the Wonga deal. They are referring to the new sponsors as legal loan sharks. Better to have them as a sponsor than an owner most Pompey fans would echo.
The type football story fans love to talk about happened this week when Edgar Davids elected to help his local club Barnet out by becoming their player/manager. As one fan put it had enough of Ashley Cole and John Terry - 'this is what football is about'. Ere, ere I say, sadly though Barnet could not make a fairytale start and slumped 4-1 to Plymouth at Underhill. Maybe next week eh!
Trust in Appy - PUP