The Fratton Faithful Awards 2016

Last updated : 22 May 2016 By Jim Bonner

It has been a week since Pompey's heartbreak at Plymouth so now would be a good time to look back on Pompey's best season for a few years, even if it ultimately ended in failure.

There are eleven awards to dish out this season and although my decision is ultimately final, those who voted on twitter for each category certainly helped make the decisions. Here are the winners this year:

Player Of The Season

This one ultimately came down to two players; Ben Davies and Michael Doyle. The former probably would have ran away with this if the season ended a couple of months ago due to his seemingly limitless energy and outstanding delivery but he has faded slightly whilst Doyle has kept going despite all of the injuries that threatened to derail his season.

Ultimately, the Portsmouth captain has just edged out his veteran team-mate. Pompey fans love a "fuck 'em up, get into 'em" player and Doyle did just that. If more players had his character, the team he led may well have won automatic promotion.


Worst Player Of The Season

Unlike in previous seasons where we've been spoilt for choice for this award, picking the winner for this campaign proved to be more difficult.

Brian Murphy may have made a few mistakes this season but that criticism could be levelledat the other four players to have appeared between the sticks at Fratton Park this season. He certainly isn't good enough to be a mainstay in a promotion winning side but he was a good shot stopper and kept a fair number of clean sheets, too.

Kieron Freeman hardly covered himself in glory during his short loan stay with the Blues. He couldn't oust Davies out of the team and his sub-par performances culminated with a stupid dismissal against Northampton which ended his season prematurely.

However, you get the feeling that circumstances may have conspire against the Sheffield United loanee and that we never saw the best of him. The same could not be said for Rommy Boco who looked woefully out of his depth during his four Portsmouth appearances.

Why Pompey fans were worried when Accrington manager John Coleman went back on the gentleman's agreement not to play him is a mystery. Boco would have fit in perfectly in last season's Portsmouth team and that is not an accolade to be proud of.


Best Loan Signing

Usually, this award is simply "best signing" but because Cook virtually signed an entire new team, I thought it would be best to restrict this one to loan signings this season.

Matt Clarke was at Pompey from the start and the 19-year-old struck up an excellent partnership with either Christian Burgess or Adam Webster. He may have found chances limited in the winter but he undoubtedly will be an excellent permanent addition to the squad.

Many fans may also wonder just how this season may have turned out if Pompey could have kept hold of Caolan Lavery. His quality shone through whether he played as a centre forward or in the hole and had he stayed then he may well have won this award.

Instead, the popular Marc McNulty claims this one. Arriving from Bramall Lane in November, the Scot replaced Matt Tubbs as the number one striker in the team. He scored eleven league goals despite his injuries this season and would certainly be welcome back at Fratton Park in the future.


Unsung Hero

Some players simply haven't got the credit they've deserved this season.

Michael Smith wasn't appreciated by all despite the donkey work he did up front for the team, not to mention the important goals he scored, too. The same could be said for Gareth Evans who rarely gets adulation from the stands and yet scored ten goals from midfield this season.

And how Pompey's form fell apart when Danny Hollands was injured during the winter. He formed a good partnership with Doyle as a holding midfielder and added some extra bite, too. Hopefully he'll decide to stick around for another year.

However, the winner of this award is someone who probably should have been in the League Two team of the season. As a member of one of the best defences in the division, the fact he also boasts a whopping twelve assists for his team this season is testament to how well Enda Stevens has performed this season, even if the left back isn't recognised by all.


Goal Of The Season

There were four main contenders for this award.

Firstly, Adam McGurk's only significant contribution to Pompey's league campaign was to belt in a 35-yard screamer at the Kassam Stadium which completely caught Oxford's Sam Slocombe off guard.

Then there was the "Barcelona" team goal against Bournemouth in the FA Cup which was rounded off nicely by Gary Roberts's strike. However, that goal is slightly overhyped due to the couple of interceptions by Cherries players during the move. Had it been "pure" possession then this goal would have been a real contender.

Another contender was saved until the final day of the league season as Kal Naismith stunned Fratton Park with a beauty from long distance that Adam Smith in the Northampton goal simply had no chance of stopping.

However, there can only be one winner and this year it's Michael Doyle's sweet volley from thirty yards at Accrington. The technique required to pull this off is remarkable and it also proved to be an important one as Pompey beat their promotion rivals.


Best Home Match

There were a few league games to choose from this season, namely 4-0 thrashings over hopeless Hartlepool and a woeful Notts County. The 6-0 demolition of York in the second half of that match was superb to watch, also.

However, the fans on social media made their feelings clear on what the best home match of the season was, and it wasn't a league game.

The second match of the season saw Championship side Derby County come to Fratton Park with millions of pounds worth of talent in their squad, only to be humbled by a League Two side.

McGurk took advantage of some awful goalkeeping to give Pompey the lead and although Jason Shackell headed in a corner, Conor Chaplin's strike won it as the Rams couldn't find an equaliser despite bringing on Tom Ince and Chris Martin. It was Pompey's biggest cup upset since 2010 and a worthy winner of this award.


Worst Home Match

You could've nominated any of the goalless draws at Fratton Park for this one as well as the Stevenage game when Boro snatched a stoppage time equaliser. The defeat to Oxford also hurt as Pompey were outclassed on the day.

Leyton Orient also came to Portsmouth and won once again as Paul Cook's men struggled to play their natural game whilst the Plymouth capitulation ended all hopes of automatic promotion despite Pompey dominating that game for large periods.

However, there was a runaway winner in the voting for this award and it's difficult to disagree with the choice.

After beating Accrington and re-establishing themselves in the race for automatic promotion, the Portsmouth players thought they could simply turn up and beat lowly Newport County. Instead, they suffered a 3-0 humiliation from the Welsh side as Gary Roberts was also sent off for supposed simulation. A day to forget, for sure.


Best Away Match

You could go all the way back to the very first away match this season as Pompey beat Plymouth at Home Park courtesy of a couple of penalties to earn a result that confirmed that the fans were in for a good season. The injury-time winner at Luton scored by Matt Tubbs was also a moment to savour.

But there were two outstanding results on the road this season. To beat Northampton on their own turf was a superb achievement but this was before they became "champions-elect" whilst the performance at Accrington's Crown Ground was even better in a high-pressure game which was capped by Doyle's stunning strike.


Worst Away Match

The late equalisers conceded at Carlisle, Exeter and Morecambe in particular (seriously, fuck Barry Roche) still rankle now whilst fans who travelled to Leyton Orient on Boxing Day are probably still scratching their heads over how that game went totally awry.

Out of all the matches I personally went to, the Tuesday night farce at Barnet was difficult to watch. Losing 1-0 to a contentious penalty whilst not getting one of our own was irritating but in truth the performance was so dire that a result wasn't warranted anyway.

The worst away match may well be the last one we saw given how heartbreaking it was. The performance wasn't great and to have the season end in that manner was extremely difficult to take.

Still, if there was any game worse than that this season it would be the absolute travesty at York. Reeling from the Plymouth defeat a few days before, Pompey's trip to Bootham Crescent to face a team on the brink of relegation should have been the perfect opportunity to bounce back.

Instead, a disgraceful performance meant that Paul Cook's team were two down at half-time to the team they had beaten 6-0 in the reverse fixture. A third was scored straight after the break and that was that. A truly terrible result.


Best Opposition Team

Overall, that is. When put to the twitter vote there was a landslide victory here. Leyton Orient may have been the only team to do the double over Portsmouth but that was more down to Pompey's own ineptness than Orient's brilliance.

Oxford, on the other hand, looked a class above when the Blues took them on. They were lucky to escape the Kassam Stadium with a 1-1 draw and were bossed at Fratton Park by Michael Appleton's men despite not playing so badly themselves. Pompey will have to wait at least a season to exact revenge.


Worst Opposition Team

This was also a fairly easy decision. York got a repreive for beating Pompey back in April whilst Bristol Rovers and Hartlepool were "doubled" but at least showed some bottle in at least one of the matches they faced Portsmouth in.

Dagenham & Redbridge, on the other hand, managed to hold their own in the first half in both of their matches with Pompey only to utterly crumble in the second. They finished bottom of the league and it's easy to see why based on this evidence.


There's usually one more award in "moment of the season" but missing out on promotion means there generally hasn't been one that stands out. Beating Ipswich or Derby, perhaps?  That late winner at Luton?

None of those would have compared to finally escaping League Two, at Wembley no less. Alas, hopefully next season this award will simply be for Portsmouth being crowned champions of League Two.

We now move on to next season after a break where, as Paul Cook says, "we go again" but in the meantime we can look forward to how the manager rebuilds his squad whilst England ultimately disappoints us all in Euro 2016.

See you next season!