Bury 2-0 POMPEY- A View From the Stands
By Jonny Barrett
I wonder if we will ever have a week where the focus is on that weekend’s game. Once again, matters off the field overshadowed the trip to a Bury side that have had a recent upturn in form, after a poor start under the stewardship of new manager Kevin Blackwell. After Michael Appleton’s departure to Blackpool on Wednesday, despite having heard ‘nothing from Blackpool’ on Tuesday, Guy Whittingham took charge of a Pompey side that’d lost their last four games.
As the news came through that Guy had made three changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Brentford at home in mid-week, the travelling army were in good voice. Ashley Harris came in for his first start up-front for the first team, something Appleton refused to do, with Akos Buzsaky missing out with a hamstring injury. Darel Russell returned from a long lay-off, replacing Adam Webster, whilst Mikkel Andersen regained his place in goal from Simon Eastwood.
Before the game, there was an impeccably observed minute’s silence to remember those who have lost their lives in combat. Pompey came out of the blocks, looking the livelier of the two sides with Harris volleying wide and high from outside the area, and top scorer McLeod driving narrowly over. However, it was Bury, with their first real attack, who opened the scoring.
A corner was unconvincingly punched away by Andersen, who appeared to be pushed by a Bury player, and Adam Lockwood did well to drive the ball through a crowded penalty area into the bottom corner.
Pompey looked a little shocked to be behind in a game they’d shaded but almost immediately, we should have been level. Izale McLeod showed brilliant feet down the left to get himself a chance in the area but blazed over when he really should’ve scored. The Blues kept coming and a great ball from makeshift right back Lee Williamson allowed Ashley Harris to pull back for skipper Howard, whose shot was blocked before putting the rebound harmlessly wide with the goal gaping.
The rest of the half was mainly compromised of long range efforts from Bury and decent build play from Pompey, with the final ball lacking.
HALF TIME: Bury 1-0 POMPEY
Johnny Ertl replaced Gyepes at the start of the second half but this new defensive setup nearly conceded within 30 seconds of the restart, Hewitt racing through one-on-one with Andersen only to be brilliantly denied by the Danish keeper.
Andersen denied Hewitt again a couple of minutes later, although the Bury man was offside. However, the game exploded into life in the 55th minute when Bury were awarded a penalty. Dominic Poleon got the better of Carl Dickinson down Bury’s right but the Watford loanee recovered brilliantly to get a foot in and win the ball back. A couple of Bury players looked half-heartedly towards the referee who was unimpressed but the assistant on the near side flagged. A rightly incensed Dickinson was booked for his complaints and Schumacher sped the ball into the back of the net.
It was turning into a nightmare birthday for the new caretaker, who reacted to the goal by bringing Jack Compton on in midfield Jon Harley.
The second goal killed the away side’s competitive edge with Lee Williamson’s free kick easily dealt with by the Bury keeper Carson being the only chance for Pompey in the following ten minutes after the goal. Gibraltan international Liam Walker replaced Darel Russell on 65-minutes and almost had an immediate impact curling a brilliant left footed effort just wide of the target.
The last 25-minutes were played by two sides that just appeared to be knocking the ball around until the final whistle. Pompey looked considerably less assured in possession than they had done in the first half with countless simple passes going astray.
Carl Dickinson had a an effort which went wide from the edge of the area with 5 minutes to go and Schumacher hit a couple of efforts way off target before the referee did everyone a favour by blowing the full time whistle.
FULL TIME: Bury 2-0 POMPEY
Pompey Pages’ Man of the Match: Very difficult choice in a performance as poor as this but I’d have to go for Danish stopper, Mikkel Andersen. Wasn’t incredibly convincing for the first goal but made some good stops in the second half to keep Bury at 2-0.
There was a really good pre match atmosphere, and we were loud for the majority of the first half. Westwood continued his idiotic rampage into the world of international politics singing ‘No surrender to the IRA’ after the minute’s silence but was roundly ignored. The second half was much of the same, good volume, even louder when singing about the assistant who had awarded the penalty. The last ten minutes was fantastic, the stand was rocking, people were doing the conga, absolutely hair on the back of your neck stuff. I should probably mention the Bury support; a few rounds of ‘Come on Bury’ after the first goal. I have no pretty much told you about the entire Bury support.
A decent first half performance, overshadowed by and awful second half display. There was a lot of talk about who to replace Appleton with, some realistic, some not so realistic. Those mentioning the likes of Redknapp and Coyle are living on another world. Given our financial situation, I think the appointment will most likely be internal, with Guy Whittingham appearing the most likely. This is the time to be realistic; it was a lack of realism that got us into this position. Whoever is appointed must be someone who is willing to operate in the parameters set out by the Trust, and if that means it’s 10, 15 or even 20+ years before we get back to the top flight then so be it. Stability is the key, stability is something we haven’t had arguably for decades and stability is what the Trust is offering. If we can stay in this division this season, I think it’ll have been a successful season and if we keep this squad together I think we will. One thing is certain though; anybody who is expecting an overnight solution is going to be very disappointed.