Portsmouth Season Review 2010/2011: October

Last updated : 24 May 2011 By Jim Bonner
The first two months of the season had proven to be a struggle but with consecutive wins against Leicester and Bristol City under their belt, Pompey were finally going in the right direction.

The next test was a visit to Teeside to take on Gordon Strachan's struggling Middlesbrough side. Despite a good performance in the first half, Steve Cotterill's men found themselves going into the break 2-0 down courtesy of Matt Bates' strike and a Barry Robson penalty.

Pompey showed their character, however, and came back into the game when Nugent headed in Lawrence's cross and the Irishman would then level things with an 88th minute spot kick after Mokoena had been floored in the box by Robson, who was subsequently sent off.

That comeback kept momentum going on the pitch but there was mixed transfer news the following week as local boy Matt Ritchie was seen as surplus to requirements and sent packing to Swindon but Hermann Hreidarsson agreed a new contract until the end of the season which he signed at the end of the month.

Next up for Pompey were Watford at Fratton Park. The Hornets were flying high in the league and were unbeaten away from home until their visit to Portsmouth.

Hayden Mullins set the ball rolling with a thunderous long range strike but Pompey were pegged back in the second half when Martin Taylor headed in a corner and then fell behind at Stephen McGinn turned in a cross past Ashdown.

The new reinvigorated Pompey would not lie down, however, as Dave Kitson equalised almost straight from the restart with his drilled effort and the comeback was complete when Michael Brown curled in a winner ten minutes from time.

There was little time for respite and reflection as a trip to Millwall on a Tuesday night was something the Pompey fans relished and Steve Cotterill borrowed Greg Halford from Wolves before the game, handing him a debut on the day he signed.

In a surprisingly low key affair that was more notable for Sulaiman Al-Fahim's presence in the crowd, Liam Lawrence scored the only goal of the game from the spot after Chris Hackett had hacked Nugent in the box.

Things were looking good on the pitch but every Pompey fan was about to be stunned by the announcement from Andrew Andronikou the following Friday.

The Portsmouth adminisitrator claimed that Sacha Gaydamak had demanded a significant payment up front for Portsmouth FC to come out of administration, a sum of money which the club could not afford and would therefore have to be liquidated.

It turned out that the statement was premature and emotional blackmail on behalf of the board for Gaydamak to cough up the cash so Pompey could exit administration. but that didn't stop many Pompey fans thinking that the football club they had poured so much time and money into was just about to die.

Strangely, that news didn't affect the performance at the KC Stadium the following day as Pompey continued their excellent run of form with a 2-1 win over Hull.

Nugent bagged a goal just before half time after breaking from the Tigers' defence and Halford scored his first goal of the season just after the break with a deflected free kick. Nick Barmby pulled one back for the hosts but Pompey held firm for the victory.

There was more good news that day as UHY Hacker Young formally announced Portsmouth FC's exit from administration with Balram Chainrai, Deepak Chainrai and Levi Kushnir taking control of the club and securing its short term future.

The final day of a dramatic month saw Pompey defeat Nottingham Forest in a close fought encounter. Ibrahima Sonko headed in a corner only for Lewis McGugan's cross to be met by the head of Paul Anderson for the equaliser.

Liam Lawrence grabbed the winner with a fortunate deflected strike as Pompey fought hard to preserve their narrow lead until the final whistle blew.

That result brought an end to one of the most important months in Portsmouth's recent history. The club were now out of administration and a superb run of results had seen Pompey climb to within a point of the play-off places, with some fans believing that promotion was now the target for the season.