Fratton Faithful Season Review 2016/2017: May

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 17 June 2017

The outstanding run of results that saw Portsmouth win promotion in April led to Paul Cook's men having a shot of becoming League Two champions if they could beat Cheltenham and both Plymouth and Doncaster failed to win.

Pompey fans were greeted with some good news as their match with the Robins kicked off as Grimsby took the lead against Argyle in the first minute.

There was never really any doubt that the Blues would put Cheltenham to the sword and the first goal was scored via one of their own players as Daniel O'Shaughnessy turned Enda Stevens' cross into his own net.

Dreams of the title seemed to disappear when news came through that Doncaster had taken the lead at Hartlepool as all three fixtures went into half-time. Not long after the break, Plymouth equalised at Blundell Park to further diminish Pompeys title hopes.

Pompey ensured they would at least do the job they went out to do as goals from Kyle Bennett and Kal Naismith in the space of a few minutes put the result at Fratton Park beyond doubt. Jamal Lowe's fourth would confirm that soon after.

Then, cheers around Fratton Park were heard as it had transpired that Hartlepool had equalised against Doncaster. Portsmouth were top of the league from that moment onwards as Gareth Evans notched a fifth from the penalty spot.

James Dayton's solo goal for the visitors was met with ironic cheers from the home fans who were no longer worried about their team's own result, although Naismith soon hit back with a sixth and final goal of the season.

Hartlepool then scored a second goal against Rovers to end their title challenge. Pompey fans then anxiously waited for news of the full time whistle at Grimsby to confirm what they wanted to hear.

That didn't stop some people prematurely invading the pitch at Fratton Park when the final whistle blew but it was shortly confirmed that Plymouth had failed to find a characteristically late winner and Pompey were champions of League Two!

Highlights: League Two Matchday 46: Portsmouth 6 Cheltenham Town 1

The celebrations went long into the night and the trophy was presented on Southsea Common the following day in front of a packed crowd who still couldn't believe what had transpired the previous day.

Those scenes will forever live long in the memory and it's just as well, because everyone associated with Portsmouth FC were about to be brought back down to earth with a bump.

Although the news of Enda Stevens' agreement to join Championship bound Sheffield United on a free transfer was hardly surprising, a few eyebrows were raised when skipper Michael Doyle revealed that no new contract had been offered to him and he was set to return to Coventry.

However, the big rumour was that Paul Cook was set to leave Portsmouth to join relegated Wigan Athletic despite claiming he never wanted to leave the club and was said to be personally angry about those reports whilst on holiday.

In the meantime, the fans voted in favour of Michael Eisner and his Tornante group taking over Portsmouth Football Club. It would herald the end of an era for Pompey's fan-owned life but there was no better way for it to end than to win League Two in such dramatic circumstances.

At the end of the month it was reported that the Pompey manager had turned down an improved offer from his current employers and on the final day of May, it was confirmed that Paul Cook was the new manager of Wigan.

It was news that hurt some Pompey fans whilst others weren't actually too bothered. Less than a week later, Kenny Jackett was installed as the new manager of Portsmouth to widespread acclaim and he will be the man charged with getting our club out of League One in good time.

The 2016/2017 season was truly an unforgettable one. Let's hope the 2017/2018 season is just as memorable!

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