Portsmouth Season Review 2013/2014: December

Last updated : 31 May 2014 By Jim Bonner

The final month of 2013 turned out to be just as tough as the previous eleven as Pompey's fortunes didn't improve heading into the new year.

Andy Awford's final game in his first spell as caretaker manager was the rearranged home match with fellow strugglers Wycombe Wanderers.

Poor defending from a long ball allowed Matt McClure to fire the Chairboys into the lead and Danny East left the field on a stretcher at the end of the first half after a nasty, but fair, challenge.

David Connolly came on for the second half and won a penalty only for Matt Ingram to save it. Parity was eventually restored when Andy Barcham struck home an equaliser and when Patrick Agyemang headed in a second goal for Pompey late on it looked like three points would be on the cards.

However, Pompey's knack of conceding late goals reared its ugly head yet again and Bondz N'Gala was punished for needlessly hoofing the ball out for a late corner in stoppage time which an unmarked Anthony Stewart scored from at the death to break the home fans hearts.

Highlights: Portsmouth 2 Wycombe Wanderers 2

The news then finally came that Richie Barker would be appointed as the new Pompey manager as Awford returned to the academy thinking that he would not manage the club again during the season.

Fans were sceptical of the choice due to his poor recent results at Crawley and the board having overlooked some better candidates but they were happy to see veteran manager Steve Coppell arrive at Fratton Park to assist him.

In other news, former Pompey player Sam Sodje came under investigation for spot fixing after a covert film of him allegedly claiming what he did when he was sent off at Oldham was revealed by an undercover journalist.

As for Barker, his first match would be against opposition managed by a candidate for the job that was now his in Justin Edinburgh. Pompey fans were hopeful that a new man could fix the problems in the squad and galvanise them to victory against Newport.

But that wasn't the case as Michael Flynn scored twice in the second half to condemn Barker's men to defeat, the second of them being scored after a long throw evaded numerous blue shirts in the box to highlight just how tough the new manager's job was going to be.

Highlights: Portsmouth 0 Newport County 2

Anthony Williams was brought in as Barker's assistant and he rang the changes ahead of what was now a relegation six-pointer at Bristol Rovers.

The replacement players still performed woefully as goals from Ollie Clarke and David Clarkson saw Rovers canter to a comfortable win. Barker then proceeded to barrack his entire squad in the post-match interview, something that would become common during his time at Portsmouth.

Highlights: Bristol Rovers 2 Portsmouth 0

Christmas had arrived but there was hardly much good cheer for Pompey fans before the Boxing Day encounter with Dagenham & Redbridge at Fratton Park. It was a terrible game but Romain Padovani's header just before half-time was enough for Barker to win his first game as manager and Pompey's first win in nine games.

Highlights: Portsmouth 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 0

The players were lauded for their effort as it seemed that Barker's words had hit home. Pompey fans were optimistic as rock bottom Northampton Town were to visit Fratton Park three days later.

However, the year was to end on a disappointing note as Barker's team were held to a dull goalless draw at home following a terrible game of football with little goalmouth action; something else that would become a staple of the new manager's tenure.

Highlights: Portsmouth 0 Northampton Town 0 

Portsmouth ended 2013 in 18th place with 25 points from 22 games in League Two. Great strides may have been made off the pitch during the year but things were still fairly dire on it. 2014 would also be a rollercoaster as the transfer window was officially open for business.