Post Match Thoughts – Portsmouth
Over the last “few” years my dad has developed a catch phrase to sum up most of the away trips we do which generally goes “it was a superb day out, apart from the 90 minutes in the middle”.
This weekend I spent a cracking couple of days down on the south coast with friends and family for the Portsmouth game and it’s got to be a sign of genuine progress that, for the second away trip in succession, the match was again the high point as opposed to a downer on the day. Herewith some thoughts on the day’s events.
- I’ve been to Fratton Park a couple of times before yesterday but admittedly not for a few years. I have to say it was unbelievable how old skool the ground was, with facilities reminisant of Millmoor or Meadow Lane. Whoever thought it was a good idea for a club of this stature to spend the money they did wants shooting.
- The Rams fans last away day carnival was definitely in full effect. In no particular order I saw Nuns, Bananas in Pyjamas, Mexicans, Mr Incredible, Scooby Doo, the Pink Panther, an Air Hostess, a Nurse, Sailors, a Clown, Batman, Superman, two Where’s Wally girls, several beach balls and around a thousand black and white balloons.
- Before the game Maguire turned up on the pitch presenting some awards to a few kids. The on pitch announcer unbelievably introduced him as “our very own, Chris Maguire”. Cheeky Monkey.
- Bryson and Hendrick are in truly superb form at the moment. The Pompey midfield couldn’t live with them for long periods and the pair of them looked absolute quality. Jamie Ward was also back to his old self following his injury and loss of form – busy, skilful, niggly and winding their fans up at every opportunity!
- On a slight negative, the other three strikers were generally poor. After a great season Theo seems to be struggling to get involved at the moment and Steve Davies had one of those anonymous games he occasionally has. Tyson continues to be an enigma. He is obviously desperate to do well and is almost trying too hard. However despite a couple of runs and crosses, nothing came off and there was more than a hint of negativity about him amongst the Rams support (although there was also a noisy element shouting for him to take the penalty). He just needs this season over and to come back firing next year.
- As well as Tom Naylor’s done, it was good to see John Brayford back in the side & somewhere near his best. However I’m not entirely convinced by his decision to go brunette. Check it out next Saturday.
- As you can imagine Pompey weren’t the greatest opposition, but it’s worth mentioning that Greeny wasn’t missed at all. With the midfield two in such imperious form and Bails in the mix too, I agree with the club that it wasn’t worth pushing the boat out on this one. There is also the continuing emergence of……
- …Will Hughes looked a class act when he came on and did more in 25 minutes than Theo had done in the previous 65. Confident on the ball and with good technique I expected, but he was also a lot stronger than I thought he would be. It would have been great if he could have headed in the chance that Tyson put over for him but he’d just not quite gelled his hair high enough. It’s going to be interesting to see how he comes on next season.
In summary, this wasn’t a perfect performance by any means, but it was a fully deserved win and another good sign that this Rams side really isn’t that far away.