Portsmouth Season Review 2011/2012: August
Feature by Jim Bonner
Updated Saturday, 12th May 2012
Nine months of pain and suffering started here.
The opening day of the 2011/2012 season brought much excitement as the new owners had been saying the right things and the team was being rebuilt under Steve Cotterill.
The first trip of the season was the longest one, an over 300 mile hike to Middlesbrough that almost saw some Pompey fans involved in a serious coach accident.
Having arrived at The Riverside Stadium in tact, things didn't get off to a great start as Marvin Emnes gave the Teessiders the lead. David Norris levelled things after the break but Pompey fell behind again to Rhys Williams' strike.
Just when it seemed like it would be a miserable trip back to Portsmouth having endured a torrid monsoon up north, Christian Dailly (remember him?) struck a speculative shot that fell to Luke Varney who equalised in stoppage time and prevented Pompey falling to a fourth consecutive opening day defeat.
The first home game of the season came in the Carling Cup against League Two survivalists Barnet and what an embarrassment it was. Mark Hughes headed in Mark Marshall's cross as the Bees completely outplayed a lethargic Pompey side that didn't seem to care.
Unfortunately the league campaign at home got off to a bad start as League One champions Brighton came to Fratton Park and escaped with a 1-0 win courtesy of Craig Mackail-Smith's scrappy goal on the stroke of half time.
Liam Lawrence had the chance to score what would have been his only goal in a Pompey shirt for the season in the very last minute but he struck his spot kick against the post to hand the Seagulls the three points.
Prior to that match, Benjani's return to Pompey had been announced and most of the fans cheered the news. The benefits of hindsight, eh?
Speaking of hindsight, who would have thought that Reading would have been crowned Championship winners after they were well beaten the following Tuesday night? Dave Kitson scored the only goal of the game.
After that result Pompey fans were thinking of bigger and better things as the irresponsible spending continued with Erik Huseklepp joining the club from Bari for a reported £1.2 million.
The Norwegian made his debut in a late cameo at Ashton Gate as Pompey were held to a goalless draw by Bristol City.
Steve Cotterill saw that a result as a need to boost his firepower and so brought in Hungarian under-21 forward Marko Futacs from Werder Bremen.
The final competitive match of the month saw perennial play-off bottlers Cardiff City come to Fratton Park and it was a disappointing affair. Andrew Taylor slotted past Ashdown for the opener but Kanu was once again cursed by the Welsh as he headed in an equaliser.
The last piece of business to attend to for the month was in Spain as Real Betis got the friendly game they wanted eventually. Steve Cotterill sent a weakened team out to Seville and as a result they were battered 5-1.
Still, the month ended with Pompey in a healthy 12th place in the Championship with most fans thinking that this season would be a comfortable one despite the dire football under Cotterill.
Oh, how wrong we were.