Date:Saturday May 7 2011
Portsmouth's first season back in the Championship ended today in a suitably fitting fashion with a rather anti-climatic yet somewhat entertaining affair at Glanford Park. Around 1,500 Pompey fans made the 9 hour round trip up north to show their support, and after the dismal performance against Norwich they must have expected a much improved performance.
But for the first 45 minutes, there was no guile or spark to the visitor's game, as the Iron looked to capitalise. After a lacklustre 20 minutes, Scunthorpe carved the first opportunity, which Mokoena done well to defuse. But it wasn't long before the hosts took the lead, when a poor Ashdown kick found its way to Honduran international Ramon Nunez, who went on a mazy run before firing past Ashdown.
They nearly doubled their lead within minutes when Joe Garner was put through on goal, but Ashdown stood up and pushed his attempted dink away to safety. Before half-time, Pompey did show some attacking threat, as Kanu looked for a ball through to Nugent, but the pass was cut out and Pompey ended the half a goal down.
Although the performance was poor, the away fans were magnificent, constantly singing throughout the half in a carnival like atmosphere, showing that despite another season of turmoil, they will never lose their sense of humour or loyalty.
These thoughts must have been shared by Steve Cotterill at half-time, as the players ears seemed to be ringing as they came out for the second half. Within minutes of the restart, the Blues should have been on level terms as a corner from Liam Lawrence was met by an unmarked David Nugent, who headed straight at Scunny 'keeper Josh Lillis.
Nugent was at the heart of the next attempt, drilling a fine 25 yard shot of the foot of the post with Lillis well beaten. As Pompey started to assert their dominance on the game, Lillis decided he'd had enough, going off to what seemed to be a hand injury, and replaced with third choice 'keeper Sam Slocombe.
He was forced into action straight away, as he palmed another Nugent shot wide of the post as he searched for the equaliser. The search ended with 10 minutes left on the clock after a massive scrap in the box fell kindly to Nugent, who this time made no mistake and put the ball in the back of the net, via a generous deflection off Sam Togwell.
The match faded after this equaliser, and despite a few half chances for the hosts, a point seemed to be a fair result in what was a typical end of season encounter. The point saw Portsmouth finish the season in a suitable 16th place. Scunthorpe finished the season bottom on goal difference, and based on the size of their crowd today, will be more at home next season in League 1.
A final thought to the season, which will be reviewed in depth soon, after an inconstant 9 months which saw our form rise and dip every few weeks, is that next season we desperately need some investment, as our current set-up, combined with the amount of loans and out of contract players, a major overhaul is needed, as is more squad depth. Gone should be the days of naming 4 substitutes.
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Date:Saturday May 7 2011
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