Portsmouth Season Review 2010/2011: December

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 04 June 2011

The final month of a torrid year looked if so it would provide Pompey's small squad with a huge challenge because of the amount of fixtures that had to be played.

However, the first match of the month against Burnley was postponed due to the blizzards the previous week. Pompey's first test was a trip to Carrow Road to take on high-flying Norwich.

Despite getting battered during the game, Pompey scored a superb goal late in the second half as David Nugent took the ball past half of the Norwich team from his own half before teeing up Kitson for a tap in.

Another run from Nugent then ended with Leon Barnett fouling him in the box, allowing Halford to score a stoppage time penalty and seal one of Portsmouth's most impressive results of the season.

There was some bizarre news to come from the Pompey camp that evening as it was revealed that both Michael Brown and Richard Hughes would be awarded automatic contract renewals on their same salary after playing a certain amount of games for the club.

This meant that unless the situation was resolved, both players could only make one more appearance for the team. Peter Storrie may have gone, but his legacy at the club still remained.

Brown's final appearance in a Pompey shirt was set to come in the upcoming home game with Scunthorpe United but this fixture also fell foul to the extreme weather conditions and therefore the next game would come against Millwall on Boxing Day.

Liam Trotter opened the scoring in  a poor first half showing from the home side but Nugent restored parity with a tap in during the second half as the game petered out into a frustrating draw.

The final game of 2010 came at Elland Road and this would be Richard Hughes' final game of his Pompey career after eight years of service, and he would have his part to play.

For the people who didn't miss the first half due to the coach arriving late, they saw Leeds take an early two goal lead with goals from Max Gradel and Jonny Howson but Nugent, who was having a superb month, pulled one back before the break.

Simon Grayson's men restored their two goal lead when Bradley Johnson volleyed past Ashdown but Pompey responded immediately as Halford's cross fell to Hughes whose shot took a big deflection off former Pompey defender Andy O'Brien.

O'Brien then gifted his former club a point in injury time when he collided with Kasper Schmeichel and tapped the ball into his own net for the second time in the game.

That late Christmas gift ended what was one of the most difficult years in the history of Portsmouth Football Club. Administration had come and gone as had two trips to Wembley as it looked like Pompey could have gone bust.

2011 was just around the corner, and it didn't start well...

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