Bolts From The Blue

Last updated : 11 March 2006 By Jim Bonner
The saying goes "Lightning never strikes in the same place twice." But today it did as two thunderbolts from Pedro Mendes ensured we still have hopes of survival.

Before this game started I said I would take a win in any possible way but I never expected the outcome to be quite like this! For starters I was pleasantly suprised to see Brian Priske start the match and he was excellent today, winning headers, getting forward and tracking back whenever needed. The defence looks so much more solid when he is in the team I just hope Harry realises that he offers the team a lot and keeps him in rather than Andy Griffin.

I thought the midfield was lacking a bit in the first half but then the whole first half was relatively scrappy however in the second half the performance was much improved as City were second best. Not many clear cut chances were created today, although Benjani should have done better with a close range effort he sliced over the bar. Before I go any further I have to express my disappointment at parts of the ground getting on Benjani's case, chanting for Toddy to replace him and ironically cheering when he won a header. The lad tried hard today and he's not going to get any confidence if our own fans keep getting on his case all the time.

LuaLua showed flashes of skill but this was matched by the amount of frustration as often he would get caught offside or just try to do too much and then lose the ball. Toddy had a decent shot saved after he was put through virtually one on one and D'Alessandro had a free kick go slightly over the bar.

So who do you turn to when you need a goal? Not Pedro Mendes in any ordinary circumstances that's for sure! However his first goal looked sublime from where I was, there was nothing City could do about it as it beat David James from about 25 yards. To be fair on City their defence was well marshalled by Richard Dunne limiting Pompey to a few chances as mentioned earlier. Dunne would soon make an even bigger impact on the game as City won their first and only corner of the match and as per usual we struggle to defend set pieces and after a bit of mingling in the box the ball was in the net with 7 minutes remaining.

I couldn't believe it... I was thinking that was it. Game Over. Season Over. We just don't get any luck and certainly don't score late winners, add to that the fact we haven't scored more than one goal at home all season too. That doomed feeling seemed to be justified when according to the Fratton End and Harry Redknapp's reaction we were denied a stone wall penalty for hand ball however I couldn't see the incident from where I was so I'll watch it on TV later tonight. Pompey kept piling forward and it was end to end but once Mendes seemingly forced his way past two City players and rifled the ball into the top corner from way out Fratton Park erupted! The entire ground (apart from the City fans of course!) went absolutely mental as did the Pompey players and even Harry Redknapp! What a goal! What a way to end the game! What a way to state to the rest of the Premiership we are not dead yet!

Of course there is still plenty more work to do. We need a result away to West Ham next week and then another one the following week against Arsenal because the fact is we're still six points from safety with nine games to go.

However let's not worry about that tonight. Let us just reflect on what surely has to be the moment of the season so far! You never know.. that "run" Redknapp goes on about may have just begun.