The calm before the storm

October contained fixtures that didn't look too difficult on paper. Lua Lua would miss a chunk of the season because he had caught Malaria, thankfully it wasn't life threatening. Even so surely we'd be able to beat Newcastle or Charlton at home? Surely we'd be able to muster at least six points from the likes of Boro and Sunderland? Right...?

01/10/05: Matchday #8: Pompey 0 Newcastle United 0

Newcastle had struggled at the start of their season, especially away from home so this game would be a great oppurtunity to finally chalk up a home win. Whatsmore, Newcastle were missing Michael Owen from their starting line-up so we were going to win this one for certain weren't we? Nil - Nil!? Suprising scoreline in a match we completely dominated considering we just don't do goaless games do we? It wouldn't have been goaless if it wasn't for Shay "Bastard" Given either, who produced save after save to deny us victory but it wasn't to be and the Pompey fans left Fratton Park frustrated for a third consecutive week.

Before the next match Velimir Zajec would leave his post as Executive Director for personal reasons, making Harry Redknapp's "He'll never last" prediction come true.

15/10/05: Matchday #9: Middlesbrough 1 Pompey 1

This would be the first trip to the North-East in two weeks for Pompey fans as Boro took on their resident bogey team expecting a win against a lacklustre Portsmouth. So how I laughed at all the boos that rang around The Riverside Stadium as Gary O'Neil put Pompey ahead following a big contribution from substitute Svetoslav Todorov. It would be a case of if we could hold on for a precious three points as Boro piled the pressure on. Much was made of Yakubu playing against his former employers so it was obvious that he was going to score against us though why oh why was Skopelitis marking the far post!? He's only four foot tall for christ sake! 1-1 it finished and yet again we had dropped points despite keeping our unbeaten record at The Riverside intact.

22/10/05: Matchday #10: Pompey 1 Charlton Athletic 2

Pompey seemed to have a reputation of only being able to play for 45 minutes a game this season and this was highlighted as once again we dropped points after leading by being beaten by high-flying Charlton. We absolutely mauled Charlton right from kick-off and deservedly took the lead when Dario Silva scored his first goal for the club. Chance after chance came as Pompey were rampant in the first half but the second goal wouldn't come as the half-time whistle blew but I felt we had played extremely well in the first half. So in true Pompey fashion we blow it as Murphy slots in a through ball for Ambrose to equalise and then poor defending allows Dennis Rommedahl to rifle in a winner which leaves the home side jaded as Pompey fans left Fratton Park even more frustrated than after the Newcastle game.

29/10/05: Matchday #11: Sunderland 1 Pompey 4

The pressure was mounting on Pompey amid reports of Laurent Robert calling crisis meetings and rumours of Alain Perrin being replaced. There was also the small news of Milan Mandaric and Harry Redknapp calling a truce on their feud which only fuelled silly rumours of Harry returning to Fratton Park. Who would be stupid enough to believe them eh? For the time being there was a very important match to prepare for though those preparations weren't helped when Laurent Robert stormed out/declared himself injured (delete as appropriate) and we were left with only four men on the subs bench before the match began.

The match didn't start particularly well did it? Brian Priske handling in the area early on to gift Sunderland a penalty that they duly converted as many Pompey fans were thinking "here we go again" and it stayed that way at half time in what was a dire performance from our team. I do wonder what Perrin said to the team at half time because they came out a completely different outfit, albeit helped by the hapless Sunderland defence. It wasn't long before Zvonomir Vukic equalised following some poor defending from the home side and not long after that we suddenly found ourselves in front following some comedy defending from Alan Stubbs and Kelvin Davis allowing Matty Taylor to tap in a second goal. His next goal was anything but a tap in as he spotted Davis off his line and proceeded to chip him from at least 40 yards in what is a "Goal of the Season" contender to send the fans behind the goal crazy! These are the sort of moments you get up at 4am and travel across the entire country for! Sunderland fans started streaming out whilst the ones that stayed booed Davis every time he had the ball. To add insult to injury Dario Silva would head home a fourth goal for Pompey to continue the celebrations behind the goal. What a day that was!

Perrin was safe from the sack.. for now though three points against Wigan would be needed previous to a nightmare run after that. That day would be a rare highlight in what was a torrid 2005 as things would get much worse from here on in.

Premiership Table After Matchday #11

12th: Liverpool: 13pts
13th: Newcastle: 12pts
14th: Portsmouth: 10pts
15th: Fulham: 9pts
16th: Aston Villa: 9pts
17th: West Brom: 8pts