Pompey Zero’s to Heroes
By Guest Writer Joe Rawson.
It has been one of the most astonishing turn around’s in the history of the game. Portsmouth football club just hours away from going out of business, forced in to administration and then relegated from the Premiership are F.A cup finalists.
Nobody gave the south coast club a chance going in to Sunday’s semi final with Tottenham some bookmakers even offering odds as high as 12/1 for the Portsmouth win. They were given no chance.
What a danger it is though to write a team off even before a ball is kicked. Something I’m sure Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp wouldn’t have dare do.
The match itself was as good a goalless game you will see. Both sides throwing everything they had in to it, incidents at either end and two great goal keeping performances. The only shadow cast by a horrendously poor Wembley pitch that would have been more in tune with hosting the Dancing on ice final than two teams trying to play the beautiful game properly.
With Possession Largely dominated by the favourites and Tottenham laying siege on the Portsmouth goal it was indeed the pitch that gave Pompey the chance to craft this amazing story. A harsh free kick conceded by Spurs centre back Michael Dawson was floated in to the area and Frederick Piquionne took advantage of Dawson’s costly slip to fire home from eight yards.
Tottenham continued to press in search of an equaliser desperate to try and craft an opening but valiant defending from Portsmouth particularly Mark Wilson and man of the match Ricardo Rocha made it almost impossible and when they did breach the back four a magnificent David James got in the way, again laying down his claim to be England’s number one.
A break from Portsmouth then gave them the chance to seal an unlikely victory, Wilson Palacios hauled down Aruna Dindane in the penalty area and former Spurs star Kevin-Prince Boateng added another layer of irony on this semi-final of many sub-plots by rifling home the penalty.
The Portsmouth fans where sent in to a state of ecstasy while the spurs fans headed for the exits. This was a day of joy for Grant and his players, who mixed desire, determination and occasionally desperation to record a landmark triumph.
Spurs will rue miss chances and now hope that they can get over their disappointment and push on to secure fourth place but for Portsmouth this was their day.
This was a classic case of ever underdog has its day. The players echoed this was for the fans and after a season of turmoil and so many downs they now have a meeting on May the 17th to look forward to against Chelsea and be sure they won’t be as quickly wrote off as they where today.
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