May Review/End of Season Summary
Portsmouth's first season back in the second tier was coming to an end and the final home game of the season was against Norwich. At the close of the Division 1 season 8 years ago, Pompey's last home game determined that the Blue's would be confirmed as Champions, lifting the trophy there and then in front of a joyous Fratton Park. This time around it would decide who gets promoted, but sadly for Pompey it was the visitors who were searching for the magical 3 points that would take them to the Promised Land.
The Canaries knew that following Cardiff's loss earlier in the day, 3 points would secure 2nd place and see them automatically promoted to the Premiership with QPR. The atmosphere was party like at Fratton Park, albeit mainly from the away fans and the television cameras were there to experience every second of it. Pompey had shocked Norwich earlier in the season with an impressive 2-0 victory at Carrow Road, but there was to be no shock today as the visitors outplayed a toothless Portsmouth side in a scrappy encounter.
The breakthrough finally came 5 minutes after the restart, with Simeon Jackson on hand to stoop and head home at the back post after a deep cross from David Fox. Jackson had been guilty of missing one of several guilt edge chances before this, but the goal spelt redemption for young Jamaican/Canadian and sent the visiting fans into delirium. Pompey pressured Norwich in the latter stages, but failed to penetrate the resolute Norwich backline as the visitors held on to their narrow lead, clinching the vital 2nd spot and celebrating with a well deserved pitch invasion, much to the dismay of some home fans who had to wait for their own end of season lap of honour.
The final game of the season gave Pompey fans the chance to experience the other escape route from the Championship, as they travelled to already relegated Scunthorpe in front of just over 5,000 fans. The travelling Portsmouth fans were in fine voice all afternoon, but it was the home fans who were rewarded with the opening goal after a decent start, with Ramon Nunez beating Ashdown from distance. Ashdown redeemed himself in the second half making some fine saves, first from another long range Nunez effort, a second from a Michael O'Connor free kick. Pompey had chances to get back into the game, and David Nugent had already struck the frame of the goal before grabbing the equaliser in the closing stages, finishing via a deflection after an almighty scramble. A goal which ensured Scunthorpe finished rock bottom, and send the Pompey fans into a rendition of "We are staying up."
Despite their late leveller at Glanford Park, Pompey had a dismal end to the season, failing to win any of their last 8 games in a season where consistency was non-existent. The Blues had bounced between being relegation fodder to possible playoff contenders, so perhaps the mid-table finish was inevitable, with the side ending up finishing 16th.
Statistics spoke volumes of the power of confidence in performance, as Pompey went on 3 hot streaks, being undefeated in 7, 4 and 7 respectively. Outside of these streaks, Pompey only managed 1 win their remaining 28 games, and 3 times going 8 or more games without a win. The Blues also had trouble finding the net at times towards the end of the season, failing to score more than once in any of their last 12 games.
David Nugent was Pompey's top scorer and struck 15 goals during the course of the season, which was only 38 less than Messi. Incidentally, Lionel Messi managed to score more goals this season than Portsmouth's entire squad. Stevie, sign him up.
One final word on Steve Cotterill, he came under some sever criticism this season when things weren't going his way, and sometimes even when things were, but he assembled the squad on a pittance, and despite having a severe shortage of players he managed to put together a team that proved it could cut it with the big boys in the League. His man management skills and tactical guile was scrutinised continuously, but as a professional it's important to trust his decisions and accept them.
So 2010/2011 will be remembered for many reasons, our return to our 'spiritual home' of the Championship, the money wasted on installing 7 seats for substitutes in our dugout, the highs and lows of 'real football' and of course the lingering threat of liquidation coming close to striking, only to be removed permanently (for now at least).
With new owners in place for the upcoming season, the future is finally looking a bit brighter at Portsmouth Football Club.Pre-Season Review - hereAugust Review - hereSeptember Review - hereOctober Review - hereNovember Review - hereDecember Review - hereJanuary Review - hereFebruary Review - hereMarch Review - hereApril Review - here
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