Date:Sunday November 3 2013
Exeter City made their first visit to Fratton Park for over thirty years and left with the same result a 3-2 defeat. The game played in a great atmosphere was in truth made by and ruined by the wind.
Guy made three changes to the side that drew with Torquay with Ryan Bird rewarded for his goal and starting alongside big Pat, Thery Racon replaced Johnny Ertl and Sonny Bradley returning from suspension with Shaun Cooper missing out. Stories circulated the ground that John, the Marquis of Millwall had stormed out of the club after being dropped.
After the impressively observed Remembrance Day silence Pompey kicked off with the wind at their backs and played some nice football in the conditions but too often the wind played tricks with any pass over a few yards. Sherlock Holmes was particularly prevalent in all that Pompey created and showed the well known Exeter weakness to tricky wingers.
It was Holmes who opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time with a wind assisted fluke as he aimed a cross into the box but a huge gust of wind changed the direction of the ball and lifted it over hapless keeper Artur Krysiak.
The second half started with Pompey showing that they preferred playing into the wind and they opened up the visitors defence on a number of occasions before Rentokil crossed to the far post and Bird bounced a header of Krysiak to double the lead. The game then seemed to peeter out with Pompey passing the ball around and the visitors happy to let.
Guy then made a substitution on seventy minutes which I had been calling out for as Andy Barcham came on for a below par Jed Wallace. With his first touch Barcham exposed the Exeter weakness flashed away from his marker and his cross was powered home by the jubilant Bird. 3-0 and coasting? No, said Exeter and they began to make use of the wind and play high balls into the Pompey box.
Trevor Carson let a header from Groves squirm through his hands and then sub O`Flynn knocked home a loose. There was to be a nervous six minutes of added time before the whistle brought relief to the large crowd who had sung their side home in the final bum squeaking phases.
Grecians travelling army numbered 1,200 fans which is impressive for a small club and I heard one Exeter fan say to his mate after the game 'what an atmosphere! Never experienced anything like that`. Well at least one of them enjoyed the big day out.
Pompey now have three away games at Stevenage in the FA Cup, Newport in the JPT and AFC Wimbledon before six games out of eight up to the new year. The chances of moving up the table are there to be taken. They are still sixteenth but only eight points off the top with a game in hand. Any team can win this league now and Pompey need to make sure that they keep in the race which has slowed to a crawl.
What the Dickens was going on?
The season started with Great Expectations and the Chimes were ringing round the Bleak House that is Fratton Park. The Battle of Life had been won and the Hard Times were behind as the club looked forward to opening its Old Curiosity Shop in Pompey Way.
New signings arrived but strangely there was no sign of expected stars such as Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, Barnaby Rudge, Martin Chuzzlewit and David Copperfield. The new matchday programme turned out to be an interactive document not replaced by the Pickwick Papers as had been rumoured by our mutual friend, Little Dorrit.
November started with the Tale of Two Cities (Pompey and Exeter) and surely soon the Christmas Carol would be sung from the stands.
Sixteen Dickens books in 120 words not too bad eh and the Toast tribute to the great man! Well we are no literary masters you know!
The other four are The Cricket on the Hearth, Dombey and Sons, The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain and The Mystery of Edwin Drood and I am not too sure how I could fit them in. Dickens it shows was a man of foresight and the title of his books certainly seem to prove it. Would he have made a great Pompey fan? He used to write weekly/monthly columns perhaps he could have written Toast?
On the forum recently Chix has been asking have we done the 92? Meaning have Vital Pompey members between them been to every league ground and after covering the top three divisions we have one vacancy - Rotherham United. If you have been there pop over to the forum and claim your prize.
Screens all over place
Were you impressed with the new big screen and the plethora of flat screen dotted around the stadium?
Most did but asked who is paying for all this? This is the way the club told us in the week.
Portsmouth Football Club have struck a deal with Maritime Sport, to supply a new OneCom Big Screen at Fratton Park until the end of the season.
The deal has seen the old screen pulled down and a new, state-of-the-art version erected in its place.
Portsmouth`s Engagement Manager, Micah Hall said: "The screen is vital as part of our matchday experience and for the sponsorship and advertising revenue it drives.
"We have struggled on with the old screen but have come to the conclusion that a new supplier was required and a new screen to enable us to achieve the sort of interactive experience we want for fans."
Portsmouth intend to begin running video content from 1.30pm on matchdays showing highlights and interviews from recent games and video trips down memory lane.
Hall added: "We are also gearing up for the installation of concourse TVs in the next few weeks which will create vital revenue for the club and require no investment or maintenance cost. It`s vital to improve the fan experience as quickly as possible to ensure that the new family audience we are attracting are entertained from start to finish."
"The revenue from sales of food, drinks and merchandise are vital to the club and we want to make it easier for fans to regard Fratton Park as a destination where they can spend their entire match day."
Anna Mitchell from Maritime Sport said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with Portsmouth FC to supply a brand new high spec LED screen, which will help enhance the match day experience for the fans.
"Portsmouth FC is a great club with an ambitious and proactive management team, we are looking forward to establishing a long-term partnership with the club to help take it forward digitally."
Aaron Brown, Chief Operating Officer of OneCom, said: 'We're delighted to be supporting Pompey's digital media matchday experience.
"It's great to be able to offer our fellow supporters the opportunity to interact via the big screen using #pompeyonecom, enabling everyone to get more involved and boosting community spirit within the club.'
So were you impressed? And did Mike answer your questions?
Did you know
..all the current League Two managers were born in England except for York boss Nigel Worthington who was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland?
Firework night ahead
Pam Wilkins from the Football Supporters` Federation asked me to give this article an airing and I am only too pleased to oblige.
It can`t have escaped your notice that pyro - smoke bombs and flares - have been in the news since a linesman was hit by a smoke bomb at Villa Park. Football Supporters` Federation Caseworker Amanda Jacks looks at the consequences of using pyro...
The FSF shares the concern of the authorities and the police at the increased use of pyro - not because we`re all boring gits who don`t want fans to enjoy themselves but because the use of pyro isn`t backed by the majority of fans and can, for some, wreck their day.
In May a 15-year-old Villa fan suffered lung damage after being in close proximity to a smoke bomb and we`re aware of other cases where medical assistance has been sought.
Thankfully the linesman escaped serious injury (as did fans) after a flare was thrown at Old Trafford. However, it`s not scaremongering to say that they were fortunate and severe injuries are a very real possibility. It`s also worth mentioning that missile throwing is an offence in its own right and the definition of missile is very wide but will include pyro.
But it`s not just arguments around safety that concern us. Whether you agree with that or not, what isn`t up for debate is the legality of using pyro in grounds. Andy Holt, the Association of Chief Police Officers Lead on Football, has recently emphasised the seriousness of the offence.
We`ve covered the consequences before but it goes a little something like this - Football Banning Order, criminal record, possible prison sentence, and the FSF picking up the pieces explaining to your relatives why the law has stamped down on you. Yeah, you might be a nice lad trying to "bring back the atmosphere" but the law doesn`t care and you`re banned from football.
Also, think about the consequences for your fellow fan. We already receive plenty of feedback from fans who think they`re all treated like criminals. If your club has a reputation for using pyro, rest assured you`ll see more police and stewards at games which can only reinforce that impression.
There`ll be sniffer dogs, more thorough searches, more filming, and stricter security operations because it`s very easy to justify that when people repeatedly break the law. All of this costs money and who, ultimately, pays for policing costs in grounds? Supporters. You might even see away allocations cut.
So, still want to use pyro? Think about your fellow fans and the impact on them. Think about how your own future will be affected. Think about the impact on your family. Pyro doesn`t mean party but it could mean a banning order, criminal record and even prison.
and finally a very belated thanks
Vital Pompey is a huge site and is incredibly busy at the moment - so we must be doing something right. Sometimes the editorial team miss things and this week I stumbled across a comment added to an article over three years ago.
It appeared in the Alex Wilson obituary in 2010 and read - 'Hello, Alex Wilson was my granddad and we all appreciate the comments! We miss him very much! Maddie Wilson.
Well I doubt Maddie will read this unless she Googles her own name, but thanks from us all and those comments make it all worthwhile.
Date:Sunday November 3 2013
On this day in history...8th December (Sunday December 8 2013)
Toast 7#20 - Fred Brown who never won remembered (Sunday December 8 2013)
On this day in history...7th December (Saturday December 7 2013)
Boss Barker (Friday December 6 2013)
Someday, just not today... (Friday December 6 2013)
On this day in history...6th December (Friday December 6 2013)
Decision time (Thursday December 5 2013)
On this day in history...5th December (Thursday December 5 2013)
The month ahead...December (Wednesday December 4 2013)
Pompey vs Wycombe (Wednesday December 4 2013)
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