The joys of following your team away from home.
It feels like you're throwing your money down a bottomless pit. Tickets, petrol, food, drink - and seemingly all at a vastly inflated price, especially if you have the misfortune to stumble into a motorway service station. And
But most importantly, defeats and a big blow to the "goals against" tally.
And then, every so often, something great happens. Something that we've only known four times before today in the last couple of years. Your team travels to someone elses ground and escapes out of the back door with three points. And guess what! That's what we did today! As if you didn't know.
The first half today - and especially the first half hour - I thought we were absolutely brilliant. We played some of the most exciting and slick passing stuff I've seen us string together in a long while and it was a miracle we didn't go in a goal or two to the good; we certainly had our fair share of chances.
Yeah, like I said, won't get into an angry rant about that one.
Still this was a day where the standard order of things took a back seat. We won away, after all, and since the space time continuum was experiencing a glitch in that respect the usual way of the universe completely collapsed in on itself. Because, dear reader, a football team - in this case us - actually got a lucky break at Goodison Park for the first time since 1895. It's often said that "Big" Duncan Ferguson is a danger in the air, usually in reference to his elbowing prowess but also his ability to head the football. So it proved after Robert whipped in a corner and he rose, Carl Tiler-esque, to deliver a bullet into the top corner.
Cheers Dunc. That's for the 93rd minute winner, for Rooney not getting sent off, for Rooney's ear-cupping antics and your niggly boring long ball victories. Not that I'm bitter.
Even at 1-0 up it still seemed unlikely that the strange other-worldly turn of events could possibly continue. "I'd still take a draw" lied many, myself included, knowing that in reality three points would be really rather nice
As if half an hour of nail biting heart attack inducing pain wasn't enough after our goal, the board for four minutes sent the majority of the crowd into a vicious flashback to last January where we managed to successfully shoot ourselves in the foot with seconds left on the clock. But again, not so, this wasn't like Pompey of old. With a bit of luck, a bit of skill and crucially a bit of calmness, it wasn't long before there were thirty seconds left on the clock and Vukic and Viafara were passing it between each other in front of the nearly-celebrating Pompey fans. Final whistle and everyone is happy, nay, delighted.
My special mentions go to;
Ashdown - Athletic, committed, dependable; an all-round brilliant display.
Diao - For a lad making his debut and supposedly suffering with injury he played fantastically, striking up a good relationship with Hughes. Much promise in this one.
LuaLua - Struck absolute fear and borderline terror into the hearts of Everton. What's more he seemed to have his "Team" head on today; none of this sulking by the touchline and wanting to play keepy-uppy he was at his creative best; never selfish and always looking for the right pass whereas previously he'd just have a shot for the hell of it. If not for Ashdown, surely man of the match.
Suffice to say the journey home seemed to be a mighty quick one tonight. Well done to the lads, a fantastic display at a ground that's a difficult place to go. If you wanted to find one possible negative it would still be the goalscoring issue - the chances we created versus the chances we scored, and the fact it took an own goal - but I've seen enough this season to know we're going to create, and enough to believe that we've got the players here who will get us the goals.
A real confidence booster and just what this club needed after a week where there's been a lot of doom and gloom, and the papers have been preparing their memorial service for Alain Perrin.