Match Report and Pie Rating
Article By Greg Kitchin
A wet and blustery October evening on the uncovered terraces of Yeovil Town's Huish Park would only end in 2 ways; an evening to remember or one to very swiftly forget. Thankfully for the 1297 travelling Portsmouth supporters it was the former. If the reality of League 1 football hadn't of set in before today, it had after. Huish Park represents a quaint sporting venue with limited facilities in the away end. But the atmosphere that the home end can generate and exemplified at times during our visit could rival most Premiership teams. We had no roof which left us open to the rather harsh and wet elements of that Tuesday night, there was one set of toilets for 1300 of us and one reasonably priced snack bar without the usual over-priced beer. The staff were helpful, and strangely all Scottish, and not the jobsworth types you would encounter in the Premiership. You felt like you were visiting a real football ground and not one of these generic out of city grounds many teams have these days and this just heightened the footballing experience. This was my 73rd away day. I have visited Old Trafford, St James Park, Anfield, the Emirates, all the pantheons of modern English football stadia, to watch my beloved boys in blue but it was my trip to little old Yeovil that left me most satisfied. Not only that I walked away with 3 points, but the sense of pride that myself and 1296 other like-minded Pompey folk had brave the elements to sing our hearts out and spur our team on to victory. We felt involved. And all of this for £10.
To the game itself, Pompey met a Yeovil side operating 3 at the back as they looked to stem a run of 5 straight defeats. However, this played into Pompey's hands as Wes Thomas and Izale McLeod started the game well and Pompey gained a foothold knocking the ball around nicely. And on 13 minutes Pompey's pressure paid off as Wes Thomas slipped McLeod through who finished emphatically. More chances followed for the boys in boys as McLeod had another shot well saved, Wes Thomas missed an one-on-one chance and Jon Harley had a goal disallowed for offside as the home side could only muster a chance that Reuben Reid should have dispatched after capitalising on a Dumbuya mistake. As the half time whistle blow and the rain continued to fall on Pompey's support, Michael Appleton's only qualm must have been that his side weren't further ahead with his strike duo Thomas and McLeod looking very lively and the decision to pair Harley and Webster down the left offering Pompey more support and balance down that side.
In the 2nd half, Yeovil came out looking like a different side and after a lengthy delay due to an nasty looking injury for half time Yeovil substitute Youngs constantly threatened to make Pompey pay for their countless missed chances. As the pressure piled on and Yeovil had several corners Pompey's Jon Harley had a golden opportunity to finish the game on 61 minutes but his shot hit the outside of the post from 12 yards and minutes later Webster weaved himself a chance missed he put narrowly wide. On 68 minutes, the moment the visiting Pompey supporters were dreading arrived as Lee Williamson clumsily brought down Brown in the area and Chris Foy pointed to the spot and it would appear another decent performance blighted only by wastefulness in front of goal would scupper the Blues once more. Despite getting his fingertips to the ball, Andersen could not keep Reuben Reid's penalty out and the game was in the balance with 20 minutes remaining. Pompey needed to response to secure back to back wins in the league for the first time in the league this season and Wes Thomas spurned a golden opportunity to put the Blues ahead 2 minutes later but he scuffed his chance from 6 yards out after skipper Brian Howard had his long range effort parried. However, on 79 minutes Pompey found their hero as a goal mouth scramble saw the ball drop to big centre back Gabor Gyepes and he turned on a sixpence and guided the ball home past Yeovil keeper Stech from 8 yards in front of the delirious Pompey away end. 2 goals in 2 games for the big Hungarian. Pompey saw the game out with a relative of ease after that point capping a professional if not slightly wasteful performance. The midfield, inspired by an impressive Johnny Ertl, played higher up the pitch than in previous weeks winning more 2nd balls and making the transition from defence to attack that much more slicker. McLeod and Thomas look to be forming a deadly partnership with the former looking a lot more consistent. And as the vocal Pompey contingent sung off their victorious heroes, every single one of them would agree the trip to the cold, windy, rain-sodden terraces of Yeovil on a Tuesday night to watch those boys in blue was definitely worth it.
Pompey Ratings (/10)
Andersen – 6 – Very little to do. Was unlucky not to save penalty after getting hand on it.
Dumbuya – 6 - Seems to run with the ball down blind alleys a lot. Looked shaky at times.
Gyepes – 8 – Match-winner! Solid at the back and showed Midas touch in front of goal again.
Michalik – 7 – Another solid performance at the back. Did what was required.
Webster – 7 – A good performance from the youngster at left back. A bright future awaits.
Williamson – 5 – Dived in to give away penalty. Isolated on the right.
Ertl – 7 – Impressive performance in the middle of park. Made things look simple.
Howard – 6 – Improved performance compared to previous outings. Got forward more.
Harley – 8 – Brilliant in more advanced left wing position. Could have had a brace!
McLeod – 7 – Great 1st half capped by goal. Linked up well with Thomas. Faded in the 2nd half.
Thomas – 8 – Put a real shift in and looks to have formed a threatening partnership with McLeod.
Harris (for Thomas) – N/A – Provided energy and pace against a tired Yeovil defence late on.
Obita (for McLeod) – N/A – Provided much the same as Harris.
Chris Foy – 7 – Premiership ref gave a solid performance. Was probably right to award penalty.
Chicken Balti – 6 – Very average. Good temperature but filling lacked star quality.