The curse of St Mary's

Last updated : 29 January 2005 By Keith Allman
Leicester. Everton. Sheffield United.

Teams that seemingly always manage to get a result against us one way or another - usually via a last minute dodgy penalty which took a deflection off a mole. Now whilst that's relatively annoying in it's own way, I swear only Portsmouth could end up adopting their major local rival as their numero uno "bogey side". Please God, ANYONE ELSE and I wouldn't have minded. If we lost in a soul destroying manner everytime we played Preston, for example, it wouldn't be such a problem.

Let's recap.

December 2nd, 2003 - Southampton 2 Portsmouth 0
The League Cup paired us up and thousands of Pompey fans made the trip along the coast. The match nearly didn't take place at all as the team coach was nearly involved in a multi-car pile up; we should've turned round at that point and realised going to St Mary's EVER was always going to be a bad idea. But we dutifully trotted along, and lost. Arjan De Zeeuw even gave away a penalty and picked up a red card for his troubles right in the dying seconds. Arse.

December 21st, 2003 - Southampton 3 Portsmouth 0

It just got even worse. With a squad decimated by injury it was no surprise that we lost to a team who were, at the time, not doing that badly. The fact we didn't even put up a fight was perhaps the single most disappointing aspect. But even then it's not as if we could just lose in "normal" fashion - Jason Dodd scored direct from a corner whilst Schemmel watched the ball go over his head hopefully, whilst Pahars scored his first goal in well over a year. To add insult to injury, Jason Roberts was in the starting line-up.

November 13th, 2004 - Southampton 2 Portsmouth 1
This was THE chance. Steve Wigley had failed to record a single Premiership win in ten games of trying, whilst meanwhile Pompey were happily midtable and had beaten Manchester United just two games previously. To compound matters, Southampton had just lost in hideously embarrassing fashion to Watford, 5-2, whilst we had coasted past Cardiff. When we went 1-0 up after less than quarter of an hour, it seemed like finally we were getting what we deserved. Oh, but how silly were we to think that - Wigley ended up getting his first and only Premiership win, Dexter Blackstock got his first ever Premiership goal - set up by a Beattie handball - and to rub it in Patrik Berger hit the bar late on. A lot of bitterness rumbled over man of the match goalkeeper Kasey Keller, brought in under "special dispensation" from the FA when Southampton realised that Blayney and Smith, who had been the choices for the previous two games, were crap.

January 29th, 2005 - Southampton 2 Portsmouth 1
Chalkie the Clown
Out of all the games, this was perhaps the most crushing. With Harry Redknapp, Jim Smith, Kevin Bond and Nigel Quashie all having jumped ship within the previous months, the chance to go and beat "Judas" was there for the taking. The desire to absolutely thrash his new team was intensified by his pre-match ramblings about what a good job he did at Portsmouth, how he signed all the players, how only "morons" would give him abuse, how he saved the club - words that fans would love to ram back down his throat. But this is St Mary's, and we're cursed. Matt Oakley - out injured since the dawn of time - scored a goal that has since been christened "the best ever goal at St Mary's". Pompey got their first ever slice of luck at Southampton in years thanks to a dubious penalty after Kamara tumbled, but even then the footballing gods decided that would be too generous. Kamara got sent off shortly later - instant karma, you might say - but then to really rub our noses in it the linesman awarded a highly dubious penalty to the home team deep into injury time, which ex-Portsmouth striker Peter Crouch scored to give Southampton the win. Despite the fact we were the superior team throughout the match, played far better football, and at least deserved a replay.

Why couldn't we draw them at home?