2016-17 Champions Review: September
Despite not having the most encouraging starts to the season, Pompey had turned their form around with back-to-back victories at the end of August and although they didn't resemble promotion contenders just yet, things were starting to look up.
September began where August had left off (naturally!), and Pompey produced their most comfortable performance of the season with a first half demolition of Crawley at Fratton Park. Defending and goalkeeping errors were to thank for Pompey's 3-0 half time lead thanks to a Gary Roberts goal sandwiched between a Curtis Main brace. Pompey eased off in the second half but still had plenty of chances (15 in total) to add to their lead. At the other end Forde kept his 4th clean sheet in 5 games.
A week later and Pompey were back at Fratton for the visit of Wycombe, it what was an entertaining game to say the least! The visitors took an early lead before Robert's levelled from the spot. Then insanity ensued with 3 goals in first half stoppage time, starting with Robert's giving Pompey the lead from the spot. The lead lasted only a minute when Paul Haynes equalised with a fine outside of the foot strike. However, the half was still not over when Conor Chaplin produced a moment of magic to lift the ball over the defender before cheekily nodding over Jamal Blackman: a goal which was voted Goal of the Season. Carl Baker's deft near post finish at the start of the second half was enough to put the game to bed as Pompey won 4-2 for their 4th consecutive victory which lifted them up to 2nd place, a point behind Plymouth.
But all good things come to an end, and Pompey's run grinded to a halt the following weekend at Accrington. Paul Cook returned to his old haunting ground, bringing many of old faces with him and despite edging the first half it was the hosts that took the lead through Paddy Lacey early in the second. Pompey controlled possession but barely threatened after that and left empty handed as Stanley saw the game out comfortably.
Pompey were back to winning ways a week later however as Fratton Park was proving to be a fortress once again. Barnet were the visitors this time and once again Pompey had to come from behind after former Blue John Akinde's tame penalty squirmed past Forde. Pompey's strength came to the forefront soon after as Chaplin got the Blues back on level terms before a second half onslaught which saw goals from Roberts, Baker, Lalkovic and Rose. In amongst all that Robert's missed a penalty after Chaplin had been hauled down while 1-on-1, an incident which saw Bira Dembele receive a straight red card.
As good as Pompey were looking at home, they were struggling to recreate this form on the road as the month ended with a disappointing midweek trip to Blackpool. The Tangerines took the lead early on through the head of Kelvin Mellor, but Pompey were soon level thanks to another wondergoal from Conor Chaplin, who adjusted his body to produce an acrobatic overhead kick. Unfortunately this was as much as Pompey could muster as defensive mistakes led to two Blackpool goals in the second half, Brad Potts and Kyle Vassell putting the final nails in the Pompey coffin.
Pompey had slipped to 4th at the end of September after 10 games, and were one of 4 teams on 17 points. The table was starting to take shape and a lot of teams were throwing their hats in the promotion ring. Winter was coming, and with it was a crucial few months of football.
Written by PompeyFrippy and originally posted in the forum.
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2016-17 Champions Review: August.
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