Season Review 05/06: Part VIII: February
By Jim Bonner
Updated Friday, 19th May 2006
DepressionFebruary would continue to compound the misery of the Fratton Faithful with an unkind fixture list having to be overcome before things would eventually get better.
01/02/06: Matchday #24: Pompey 1 Bolton Wanderers 1
Big Sam began running his mouth again before this match about how life is tough in the Premiership as if we didn't know. This rant was similar to the warning he gave when we pasted them 4-0 two seasons ago but this game was nothing like that one. Pompey actually played well in this game but in the first half Bolton had the perfect oppurtunity to go ahead after Stelios went down easily in the box. Up steps Kaliou Fadiga to take the penalty and to our delight the ball is skied into Row Z to greet the chants of "Quashie" and "Wanker" aimed at him. Fadiga would soon have his revenge in the second half when Stelios again went down easily on the right which allowed Fadiga to take a free kick that caused confusion between Primus and Kiely in a "It's yours!" moment which allowed the ball to float into the net putting Bolton one up. It looked like it was going to be another defeat despite a truly magnificent debut from Andres D'Alessandro and a solid one from Routledge however if you ever needed to score your first goal for the club, then a late equaliser would be the perfect time to do it. So cue Azar Karadas to volley in a cross from the right two minutes from time to send Pompey fans into celebration. He scored a goal that you would never think a striker lacking confidence would have put in the back of the net. I was delighted for him and although a draw wasn't the best result, that performance was the best in ages and we finally had something to build on.
04/02/06: Matchday #25: Newcastle United 2 Pompey 0
Newcastle were in complete turmoil by the time this fixture arrived and many Pompey fans believed we could take full advantage of their plight after Wednesday's performance. Then Newcastle sacked Greame Souness and all of a sudden people weren't so confident anymore. That turned out to be the case as Newcastle were well up for this game whereas so many players who had performed so well against Bolton didn't turn up for this one. D'Alessandro must have got on the ball twice all game, Routledge didn't do anything and in fact the score would have been much more than two if it wasn't for Linvoy and Deano getting us out of jail time and time again. Charles N'Zogbia scored in the first half and you just knew that we would hand Alan Shearer the all-time Newcastle goalscoring record on a plate didn't you? All of the previous hard work had been undone and more doom loomed around the corner.
11/02/06: Matchday #26: Pompey 1 Manchester United 3
No annual three points at home against the Red Devils this season unfortunately as the game was over before half time. Ruud van Nistelrooy put United one up with a typical poach and Christiano Ronaldo scored a brace, one of which was a cracker to put United three goals to the good at half time. We dominated the second half when Man U took their foot off the gas and deservedly got a goal through Matthew Taylor late on in the second half but this was always going to be a good day for Fergie. Not a game to remember for Pompey fans.
25/02/06: Matchday #27: Chelsea 2 Pompey 0
Just your usual routine Chelsea win really. We battled them and kept the scores level until half time in a game that focused more on the terrible pitch condition rather than the match itself. A Frank Lampard strike put the Champions ahead and Richard Hughes should have equalised when a cross just missed his head in the box. Arjen Robben would seal victory for Chelsea as Pompey predictably lost once again.
Pompey were deep in trouble by the end of the month as some pundits and fans had already consigned Portsmouth to Championship football next season. The more optimistic of us knew that the worst of it was over and the fixture list would give us a chance of an escape act. For the time being though, the table looked a depressing reading for Pompey fans.
Premiership Table After Matchday #27
15th: Aston Villa: 31pts
16th: Middlesbrough: 28pts
17th: West Brom: 26pts
18th: Birmingham: 23pts
19th: Portsmouth: 18pts
20th: Sunderland: 10pts