Pompey season review - March
Summer, August, September, October, November, December 2006, January and February 2007 have been reviewed. What a great start we made but the last few months had seen our season go badly south - would there be any signs of a rival in March?
Saturday 3rd saw 20,219 turn out for the match with Chelsea at Fratton as the month began - we could have thought of an easier start to the month but there you go. Glen Johnson missed out under the terms of his loan, injury kept out Pedro Mendes and Andrew Cole's run in the team was ended. Djimi Traore, Richard Hughes and Kanu came in.
A vastly improved performance - as is often the case when we face the big fish, particularly at home - saw Chelsea pushed all the way but Didier Drogba opened the scoring for Chelsea on 33 minutes. Petr Cech expertly denied sub Andrew Cole and Kanu in quick succession before Salomon Kalou broke away for a second on 82 minutes.
A brave performance but another defeat after the 2-0 loss to Chelsea saw more ground lost, but we remained in 8th.
After a two week break we were off to Reading. Five changes were made as Glen Johnson, captain Dejan Stefanovic - after a lengthily injury, Arnold Mvuemba - for his first league start, Niko Kranjcar and Benjani all returned as Noe Pamarot, Djimi Traore, Sean Davis, Matty Taylor and Lomana LuaLua stepped aside.
Harry Redknapp was as usual content with a point but we were a little more adventurous in a much improved away showing. An entertaining match could have gone either way but Richard Hughes came the closest when he thundered against the post late on.
The 0-0 draw with Reading saw the poor away run at least end, but we still dropped to 9th.
Saturday 31st - again after a two week break - saw the month conclude with another away game. This time we were off to relegation threatened Fulham. The players out were Glen Johnson and Arnold Mvuemba as Lauren and Sean Davis returned.
Niko Kranjcar opened his Pompey account in the 4th minute with a fantastic individual goal, as he showed the kind of skill and finish we knew he was capable of. Chances came and went at both ends with Anti Niemi being the busiest of the two keepers, denying Svetoslav Todorov a goalscoring return after coming on as a sub. Having struggled with an injury for the last 20 minutes it was inevitable that Ian Pearce would be involved with something more in this match - and he snatched a 90th minute equaliser via a deflection.
Fulham's last gasp goal meant we had to settle for a 1-1 draw. No change in the league though as we remained in 9th.
March saw more transfer activity - and the last of the season - as two players exited Fratton for loan moves to championship sides. Frank Songo'o went out on loan for the second time that season, this time to Preston. Andrew Cole left for what was expected to be the last time as he joined Birmingham on loan for the rest of the season with the view to a permanent move - he came back and is still here.
One defeat and two draws was at least an improvement on the previous couple of months but it was still not good enough. Uefa cup football at Fratton the next season was not beyond us - but looking a long, long way off now as we had lost further ground, dropping another place from our position at the start of to a season low of 9th.
PLAY UP POMPEY!