Pompey season review - October
Summer, August and September 2006 have been reviewed. Pompey had started the season very well - beyond most of our wildest imaginations even - but October would see the big boys start to arrive.
Sunday 1st started the month with Pompey on the road, a trip to White Hart Lane and Spurs awaited. Both Matty Taylor and Benjani had to settle for places on the bench with Niko Kranjcar - for his league debut - and Lomana LuaLua coming in.
We made a dreadful start and some shoddy defending gifted Spurs a lead within the opening minute through Danny Murphy. We recovered well before a moment of major controversy saw Didier Zokora con the referee into giving Spurs a penalty under no challenge whatsoever from Pedro Mendes. The penalty was converted in the 36th minute by Jermain Defoe and Spurs were two up. We responded immediately through Kanu (40 minutes) and despite some pressure on the Spurs goal and a late chance for Lomana LuaLua the contentious penalty saw us suffer our first away defeat of the season.
The 2-1 defeat to Spurs made it back to back league defeats and we slipped a place to 4th.
The first home game of the month saw 20,142 fans at Fratton for the match with West Ham. This saw Matty Taylor and Benjani return with their replacements for the last game Niko Kranjcar and Lomana LuaLua making way. Manuel Fernandes - for his first league start - also came in for Sean Davis.
Midway through the first half Kanu's 24th minute goal put Pompey ahead. The three points were secured through substitute Andrew Cole in the 82nd minute, just 5 minutes after coming on - his first goal for Pompey.
The 2-0 win over West Ham saw us back up to 3rd.
Saturday 21st and we were off to Stamford Bridge to face champions Chelsea. The terms of Glen Johnson's loan meant he could not play and captain Dejan Stefanovic missed out, Noe Pamarot and Niko Kranjcar replaced them.
We gave them a game but it was not enough. After holding firm in the first half two goals in two second half minutes, the first through Andrij Shevchenko (55th minute) and Michael Ballack's 57th minute second looked like seeing Chelsea safely home, but Benjani made it a nervous final 20 minutes for Chelsea when he pulled one back in the 69th minute. We suffered our regulation defeat to Chelsea but at least we scored.
The 2-1 defeat to Chelsea saw us drop back down to 4th.
The carling cup returned on Wednesday 25th as we made the long trip to St James' Park for the 4th round encounter with Newcastle. A much stronger Pompey side to that which played in the last round included Andy O'Brien as the only non-first team regular to start.
Appalling conditions left the match played in farcical conditions, with it at times unbelievable to think the game was being played. Pompey had chances but by not taking them they were punished by two quick goals, the first on 48 minutes from on loan striker Giuseppe Rossi followed soon after by a 53rd minute goal from Nolberto Solano. A second from Solano in injury time made it three.
It may have looked a strong looking side but the carling cup dream was over after a 3-0 defeat to Newcastle. Not too many people were disappointed, but I was as this was a cup I thought we could have every chance of winning - and a cup is a cup, even more so when Pompey do not win things everyday.
The month concluded with 20,146 fans at Fratton for the match with Reading on Saturday 28th. Glen Johnson, captain Dejan Stefanovic and Sean Davis returned to the starting line up for the changes from the Chelsea game. Noe Pamarot, Manuel Fernandes - for reasons that later became apparent, this would have been his third Premiership match running - and Niko Kranjcar made way.
Pompey played some great football in this match and took a 9th minute lead through Brynjar Gunnarsson's own goal. More goals could and should have come but they did not until Kanu's 53rd minute goal, with a 66th minute Pedro Mendes effort coming soon after. Reading grabbed a consolation on 84 minutes through Kevin Doyle but that was as good as it got.
Were back to winning ways and ended the month on a high. The 3-1 victory over Reading saw Pompey down two places from the start of the month - but we were still in 4th spot at the end of October.
The month saw transfer activity at Fratton too, with Jamie Ashdown leaving for a loan spell with Norwich, Frank Songo'o went on loan to Bournemouth and Richard Duffy joined Coventry, also in a loan deal.
Three months into the season and Pompey were in 4th place in the Premiership, how many would have thought this possible a few months previously - but we were there on merit! What would November bring.
PLAY UP POMPEY!