Portsmouth Season Review 2013/2014: August

Last updated : 19 May 2014 By Jim Bonner

The domestic football season is about to draw to a close with the World Cup on the horizon, so let's look back at what was another eventful season for Portsmouth Football Club starting with August, a month where all Pompey fans were brought down to earth with a bump.

Following some promising performances late on in the previous season, Guy Whittingham was given the manager's job on a permanent basis and he wasted no time in shaping his squad for the upcoming campaign.

Players who had performed well in the previous season such as David Connolly and Johnny Ertl were handed permanent contracts in what seemed like good decisions at the time.

A plethora of new signings were made with John Sullivan, Joe Devera, Sonny Bradley, Danny East, Andy Barcham, Ricky Holmes, Romain Padovani and Tom Craddock heading the list.

Pre-season began in the usual fashion with a trip to Westleigh Park where Pompey beat Havant & Waterlooville 5-0, with trialist Ryan Bird scoring a couple of flukey goals which ended up being enough for Whittingham to take a punt on him.

There was another win on the road as Portsmouth beat Bognor 4-2 in a match containing much sloppy defending and then Pompey were held to a boring goalless draw at Braintree. Looking back, these two games would sum up the majority of Pompey's season!

Pompey would lose their last three friendlies against tougher opposition. Charlton comfortably ran out 3-0 winners at Fratton Park before a 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth a few days later. The pre-season campaign ended with a 2-0 defeat to La Liga side Rayo Vallecano, who finished 12th in the Spanish top division come the season's end.

The opening day was in sight but there was more business to attend to as Simon Ferry was signed from Swindon and then Ricardo Rocha agreed to return to the club, only to then not sign a contract and so Bondz N'Gala was signed to a permanent contract instead.

Pompey fans embraced League Two with 10,000 season tickets sold and a near-sold-out Fratton Park for the visit of Oxford United on the opening day.

It seemed like there would be a happy beginning to life in the bottom tier when Patrick Agyemang headed in the first goal of the season but two goals from Dean Smalley and Alfie Potter turned the game on its head before half-time.

Ertl was sent off early in the second half and another goal each for Smalley and Potter underlined a devastating defeat that would see everyone re-evaluate Portsmouth's tags as "favourites" for the division.

Highlights: Portsmouth 1 Oxford United 4

There was more bad news during the week as Bournemouth beat Pompey at Dean Court once again to knock them out of the League Cup in the first round and fans then mourned the death of Steve Aizlewood who passed away at the age of 60 having been an important member of the promotion winning sides of 1980 and 1983.

Highlights: Bournemouth 1 Portsmouth 0

Pompey's first away trip of the season in the league saw supporters get up at the crack of dawn for the long journey up to Accrington for a game played in front of the Sky cameras.

More harsh lessons about life in League Two were learned as Stanley took the lead after Phil Smith was lobbed by Peter Murphy but Pompey hit back with two goals from Connolly and squandered other chances to put the game to bed.

That would come back to bit Guy Whittingham as Murphy headed in his second goal to equalise late on and begin what would be a recurring theme all season when it came to late goals being conceded.

Highlights: Accrington Stanley 2 Portsmouth 2

Pompey picked up Marcos Painter and it looked like they may finally had found their feet in the bottom division when Morecambe came to Fratton Park and were promptly rolled over. Goals from Jed Wallace, Connolly and Agyemang saw the game won before half-time although the Shrimps' Andy Wright was sent off.

Highlights: Portsmouth 3 Morecambe 0

Next up for the Blues was a trip to promoted Mansfield who provided a much sterner test and took the lead as another long distance screamer found its way past Smith.

Pompey hit straight back with Barcham scoring his first goal for the club and Connolly poaching another for the lead. Once again, that lead wasn't held as some calamitous defending from Smith, Devera and N'Gala gifted the Stags an equaliser and they may well have won the match in the end.

Highlights: Mansfield Town 2 Portsmouth 2

The final match of the month saw Chesterfield come to Fratton Park but not before the unveiling of the horrendous third kit (never again, Micah Hall!) and then came a game of football to match.

Referee Steve Brattin suffered a torrent of abuse during the game which reached its peak when Connolly was sent off for violent conduct having denied him a blatant penalty earlier.

It looked like the ten men would hold on but two late suckerpunches gave the Spireites the victory to leave Guy Whittingham extremely frustrated.

Highlights: Portsmouth 0 Chesterfield 2

That defeat meant Portsmouth ended the month with just 5 points from 5 games and in 19th place in League Two. That should have been seen as a warning as to just how tough this season would be.