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Pompey Down After Derby Defeat
Portsmouth 1 Derby County 2
Portsmouth were relegated yesterday after a 2-1 defeat to Derby, although a win wouldn't have been enough as Bristol City beat Barnsley as was expected.
Jason Pearce was handed seven of the nine "player of the season" awards with David Norris and Ricardo Rocha picking up the other two. I would be surprised if any of those players were at the club next season.
The game itself wasn't a great performance from Pompey. The first half was littered by niggly fouls, poor passing and a lack of chances. It wasn't helped by a rather subdued atmosphere at Fratton Park as news filtered through that Bristol City had taken an early lead.
Things got even worse when Lewis Buxton headed in Jamie Ward's corner just minutes from the break. Ward had been getting stick from the crowd for his time wasting antics and theatrics, but he would feel further wrath from the home fans later in the game.
The lively Scott Allen then almost scored a cracker as he took the ball past a couple of Derby defenders before hitting the far post with a curling effort.
The first half was brought to an end and if it was to be the final first half of football played by Portsmouth at Fratton Park, it wasn't going to be a memorable one.
The second half saw a marked improvement with youngster Ashley Harris, making his first start for the club, try his luck with a long range effort before eventually going off with cramp.
The best chance of the game came when Dave Kitson beautifully controlled the ball to set himself up for a volley at close range but blazed the ball over the bar.
An equaliser did come when substitute Futacs sent Varney through on goal and he finished the move against his former club but despite the loud cheers, relegation had been virtually confirmed courtesy of Bristol City's two goal lead over Barnsley.
A win would have at least offered the Pompey fans some consolation but even that wasn't going to happen as just three minutes after the equaliser, Pearce conceded a penalty.
Sitting at the other end of the ground in the Fratton End, I must admit I thought it was a penalty but it's safe to say that panto villain Ward dived and Pearce was unlucky.
Jamie Ashdown, who had earlier produced a brilliant save to prevent Craig Bryson's header going in, got a foot to Ben Davies' penalty but couldn't stop the the ball from hitting the back of the net.
The final minutes of the game petered out as Pompey fans started ironically singing about promotion and travelling to Shrewsbury next season.
Given how high the spirits in the stands were, a stranger watching the match wouldn't have believed that Portsmouth were going down after one of the worst seasons in living memory.
The irritating referee dashed down the tunnel after blowing the final whistle and the Pompey players soon followed. They soon re-emerged for their lap of honour and whilst some should be commended for their efforts, there were a couple who took part (and one that didn't) that I would like to see the back of next season.
That is, of course, if there is a next season. The threat of liquidation still looms and nobody is really sure just how viable a community takeover is. Is there enough interest, and more importantly, money to do it? Given from what I've read and heard in the last week or so, the answer is "not yet".
Things will be much clearer after the creditors' meeting this week. There is no doubt about it, this club is well worth saving as a going concern and I'd much rather be supporting this club on a League One tour next season than a new club in non-league.
But if, and ONLY if the people responsible for this club's demise have nothing to do with Pompey any more. They have all contributed to our downfall in the last four years and they are all to blame for our relegation to League One yesterday.
If this club can be cleansed of all those that has polluted it and the right people take charge, then there is no reason why we can't bounce back to the Championship in the forseeable future.
Pompey Player Ratings
Jamie Ashdown: 8 - A couple of great saves, hopefully he'll stay with us next season after turning around his Pompey career again.
Joel Ward: 5 - Was given a tough time by Derby's pace.
Ricardo Rocha: 6 - Did OK.
Jason Pearce: 6 - Unlucky to concede penalty.
Karim Rekik: 6 - Got forward well at times.
Greg Halford: 5 - Below average.
David Norris: 6 - Didn't see much of him as an attacking force.
Scott Allan: 7 - Has such a bright future. Another quality showing.
Luke Varney: 6 - Scored but was a bit frustrating.
Dave Kitson: 6 - Worked hard. Should he be retained next year?
Ashley Harris: 6 - Looked bright at times, should start again at Forest.
Marko Futacs (Harris 61): 6 - Made a difference.
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