Fratton Faithful Season Review 2016/2017: September

Last updated : 20 May 2017 By Jim Bonner

The league would be Portsmouth's only focus during September as there were no cup distractions to worry about. Having won the last two matches, Pompey fans were hoping for a third when Crawley arrived at Fratton Park.

The Red Devils were swept aside thanks to a dominant first half showing which saw Curtis Main finish a quality attacking move after just nine minutes before Gary Roberts curled in his fourth goal of the season.

Main then bagged a second before the break as the second half proved to be an exhibition of football which didn't result in any more goals, but it was a performance the fans could finally be happy with.

Highlights: League Two Matchday 6: Portsmouth 3 Crawley Town 0

Paul Cook had never won four matches on the spin since taking charge of Portsmouth but a home match against Wycombe would give him the opportunity to do so. However, it was the Chairboys who took the lead thanks to a strike by Paul Hayes.

Christian Burgess bundled an equaliser over the line and the lead came when Sido Jombati handled Gareth Evans' cross in the box and Roberts continued his scoring streak by converting the resulting penalty.

Wycombe hit back when more slack defending allowed Hayes to score his second of the match but a frantic first half was capped by arguably the best goal of the season as Conor Chaplin chipped the ball over the onrushing Anthony Stewart before deftly heading the ball over the stranded Jamal Blackman in goal. It was a mark of genius for a player whose stock was continuing to rise on the south coast.

The match was settled early into the second half as Carl Baker adeptly volleyed Enda Stevens' cross in at the far post to confirm a fourth win in a row for the Blues. It seemed like this was the Portsmouth team we had all come to expect when the season began.

Highlights: League Two Matchday 7: Portsmouth 4 Wycombe Wanderers 2

Pompey fans believed that their side had finally hit their stride and would go to Accrington and win to assert themselves at the top of League Two. However, it's when these expectations get too grand that Pompey ultimately let you down and that proved to be the case.

Paddy Lacey, a player who would be sacked by Stanley at the end of the season after he received a 14-month ban for testing positive for a metabolite of cocaine, scored a stunning goal in what was otherwise a dreadful game to bring the travelling supporters back down to earth about Portsmouth's prospects for the season.

Highlights: League Two Matchday 8: Accrington Stanley 0 Portsmouth 1

Thankfully, Pompey bounced back from that disappointment with one of their most resounding wins of the season. Barnet came to Fratton Park and had the gall to take the lead when John Akinde rolled the ball into the corner from the spot after a penalty was awarded for a Tom Davies handball.

That prompted a Pompey comeback as Chaplin slotted home an equaliser and then Roberts gave the home side the lead with a sublime finish having turned his marker inside-out. Baker then added a third when he was allowed to work the ball into the box before lashing it home with his left foot.

Mira Dembele was then given a red card for bringing down Chaplin in the box and Roberts stepped up only for his penalty to be well saved by Josh Vickers. That didn't stop the rout, however, as maiden goals from Milan Lalkovic and Danny Rose gave Portsmouth a resounding victory to get their promotion bid back on track.

Highlights: League Two Matchday 9: Portsmouth 5 Barnet 1

The final match of the month saw Pompey fans make the long Tuesday night trip to Bloomfield Road to take on Blackpool but there was to be little joy to come from England's entertainment capital.

Kelvin Mellor beat Forde to a free kick the goalkeeper was never getting to head the ball into an unguarded net but Chaplin equalised in spectacular fashion with an overhead kick which had no chance of being saved.

Unfortunately that piece of technical brilliance meant nothing as Forde could only spill a cross into the feet of Brad Potts who tapped in a second goal for the Tangerines and the game was over when Davies was robbed of the ball by Kyle Vassell and he bore down on goal before striking the ball past Forde to complete another miserable match in Lancashire for Paul Cook's men.

Highights: League Two Matchday 10: Blackpool 3 Portsmouth 1

That defeat had Pompey fans questioning if their players had the mettle to win enough games away from home to be promoted but the three home wins meant that the Blues were in contention once again with a difficult looking October on the horizon.