Pompey Crimes

What a strange game…

I’m really not sure what to make of Bundeswehr 1 Royal Navy 2 right now. Part of me should be happy that for once, we actually looked like we gave a shit. An actual proper second half comeback that maybe – maybe – could have got us a result.

I cannot fault the performance after Hanson’s goal. It’s what we all want, after all. However, I can certainly fault everything that went on before it.

There was nothing unusual about the first half. A poor all-round performance, and it was no surprise that we were 2-0 down. And it could have been worse, if not for McDonnell’s feet.

If you can think of anything resembling an effort in the first 45 minutes, please contact your editor via the usual channels. I’m sure I’ve missed something.

Once Hanson got his absolute stormer of a strike – and boy, have we missed him – all of a sudden, that massive weight on the collective shoulders got lifted. It was backs to the wall stuff at times, and not our defenders either.

Though why Deji was on the wing, I don’t know.

Alas, we dug ourselves a hole too deep again, and it’s yet another defeat. Eight in ten now, isn’t it? Perhaps this club could even have an inquest into that…

But for those there, you’ll note that I’ve missed something out. Basically, NA came out about five or ten minutes before the team did. We kept not only Pompey waiting, but the referee as well.

So you have to wonder what happened at half time today, because something did.

We’ll never properly know, of course, but it’s fun to speculate. Did the players finally grow a spine and some testicles, and lock/kick our manager out of the dressing room? Did NA himself just walk out and tell them “All right geniuses, you fucking do your own team talk then”?

It nearly worked, though. We should do it more often – hell, do it before the game, then we wouldn’t be so shite in the first half either.

Newport away in the L2 promotion season sprang to mind here, and we almost (literally) got the same result. If we then put a run of form together now like we did back then, then we’ll be facing Pompey in the Championship next season.

That’s why today has turned out so strange, because one senses something finally came out in the open amongst those who have the power to do something about it.

To be fair, we sort-of started off OK. Better than Plymouth last week, although even stumbling out to the centre circle and taking a dump would have been an improvement from that.

But Pompey were starting to run rings around us, and it wasn’t much of a surprise when they scored. Nor was it any more shocking when they doubled it either.

There was a real sense of “here we go again” resignation outside at half time, and you can’t help think people are just shrugging their shoulders now. Much in the same way you do with dealing with a self-harmer who has no intention of listening to you.

Obviously things must have been fucked, not only with the first XI going AWOL for a bit, but the three substitutions before 80 minutes too. I feel a bit sorry for Piggott, who was apparently spewing up (make your own joke here) but the others? Well, you can’t say we missed them.

More on the replacements a bit later, but to quote somebody in the bogs after the game – we can’t keep putting ourselves through this…

Plus points: Hanson’s goal. A fightback. The subs.

Minus points: Yet another defeat. First half. Los Wardrobeles. Something that went beyond crapness.

The referee’s a…: Premier League official, wasn’t he? Oh, it was Lee Probert. It showed, as it took me until about 80 minutes to realise he was taking charge. Either that or the first 45 minutes blocked everything out of my mind.

Them: Didn’t need to get out of second gear in the first half, hanging on in the second. Their player giving a fist-pump of relief at the end was a recognition of that.

That said, if they had made it 3-0 they would have been looking at a healthy increase of their goal difference this evening.

Certainly rattled after we scored, and like most teams in this division they weren’t nearly as good once you have a go at them. Funny that.

Probably the last time they’ll get to play at KM, and I’m sure if we could have given them 3000 today they would still be asking for more tickets. Though a couple of their fans afterwards were a reminder why they’re not the most popular…

Point to ponder: And this is something which will prove I’ve only started watching us regularly again this season – what does Hartigan have to do to oust one of Trotter or Soares?

When he (and Hanson and Nightingale) came on, we looked better. Much better. An improvement to the point you’re left wondering what dogmatism keeps him benched.

NA really doesn’t help himself by persisting with the two wardrobes. I know his default setting is to go back in his negative mindset and try and win every game 0-0, but doing the opposite of that almost got us a point today.

And the next couple of weeks are a critical test of that. Our form speaks for itself, and there’s no reason not to give Hartigan and Nightingale the nod. And not just for the odd cameo, a proper run out.

If they don’t, and they continued to get hung out to try while the wardrobes get their continued free passes – if I was them I’d get onto my agents and ask to move on in January.

After all, if you make a positive difference on a game when the team is dead and buried, and you still don’t play much of a part after that…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) The Norwegian/Dutch/German kids in the roped-off section of the Chemflow. Better than the usual singers in that end 😉 2) 25c before kickoff. It’s mid October. 3) Somebody shouting “fuck off” when the players finally came out for the second half. No, it wasn’t Ardley.

Anything else? I’m genuinely struggling with this bit, especially writing stuff that has been said so much recently. But if you think there’s a sense of disorganisation around AFCW right now, you wouldn’t be reassured finding out the back bar was still shut at 13h50…

So, was it worth it? Stop laughing.

In a nutshell: Eight losses in ten. Enjoy your weekend.