James Richardson (@JamesMRich10) shares his thoughts on the trip to Carlisle.
Brunton Park was the scene of a fan-inspired Easter resurrection, as the players came back from 1 goal down. But, the scoreline was only half the story of my day at Carlisle.
It started pretty early for a student, when I was thrown out of bed at 8am by my Dad. By this time, Portsmouth-dwelling fans were probably well on their way up for their 700 mile round trip to the ‘northiest’ part of the North-West.
We then picked up Rob Morris from Lichfield Trent Valley station, quickly grabbing a lovely bacon and sausage sandwich from a Southsea girl who owns a van by the station. We’re everywhere.
Our journey then began, taking us three hours, bantering, singing, chanting and admiring some wonderful scenery in the Cumbrian fells around the Lake District.
We stopped off at a service station, which was more like an Austrian log cabin in the heights of the alps. It had a farm shop, with one of the best pies I have ever eaten. Wonderful.
Finally, we arrived at Brunton, and after a quick pic with Pompey Boofle and their mascot. We headed to the Rugby club next to the ground for a pint. It was rammed full of fans from both sides, something which I love.
After that we headed in, me and Rob dancing to the music that stadium was playing, on some kind of ‘Pie-high’ which had made us all buzz with energy. We met with a couple of other fans, including Chris Ebbens, and waited for the game to start.
It wasn’t really something worth waiting for. Pompey started incredibly slowly, and a lot of misplaced passes. It was inevitable that we would go one goal down and that is exactly what happened. A fine half-volley through a crowd of bodies. Pompey silenced before we had gotten going.
The next 20 minutes or so was some of the worst football I have ever seen while watching Pompey. Every pass was wrong, players trying too much. Jed was having a nightmare of a game.
The fans were beginning to get on his back, I hate that, I cannot stand it when people scream at players telling them they are not good enough. Especially since, as I said in the first blog, this season is already over and has lost it’s significance.
I turned to Rob and my Dad and said: “We’re still going to win this, and it will be Jed, whenever he starts badly, he ends up scoring and then playing really well”
The Pompey drummers clearly had the same opinion as me, as they then started a fast drumroll to drown out the fans and began to sing. 90% of the crowd began to join in and you could visibly see the transition in the players as the game headed past the half-hour mark.
It was an Easter resurrection, which the Pompey fans were causing, pushing the players to go harder, faster and better. We were pushing, and looking better and better. It was like incredible to watch. The singing never faded, never died and never stopped. True support, from true fans. The thing that makes Portsmouth fans, the best in the world.
We were rewarded on 38 minutes, Jed Wallace found his form and tore down the left, a bit of skill and cutting inside and smashing the ball into the goal from 25-yards. A wonderful goal, silencing all of the haters who were slagging him off only a few minutes before hand.
The goal in my opinion, proved that Jed is a rare breed of footballer. One with pure talent. He might not have the footballing brain we all want him to have, to cross and pass at the right time, but he really is a wonderful player on his day. If he works on his thinking, he will be an incredible player. Way above League 2.
This incredible goal from Jed only buoyed the fans even more, we were jumping around and screaming in celebration. Then it was straight back to singing, twice as loud as we were before.
Then, right on half-time, Jed was in the same position again, this time he fainted out wider, and whipped in a low ball, whizzing past Taylor and finding Tubbs who slid in at the far post to give us the lead.
Queue euphoria in the Pompey end. It took us until half-way through half-time to finally calm down and realise what had just happened. From the ashes and the dust of another poor Pompey performance, we had risen, stronger and it was all down to the crowd.
The second half was a little more nail biting, we had plenty of chances, corners, a disallowed goal, but we never looked comfortable, we needed the third goal. Getting that goal, would have made all my predictions correct that day.
That is also what made it so crushing, when in the 95th minute (with only 4 added on), Carlisle equalised.
We were whistling, just about to celebrate the 3 points, when a scramble in the box ended with the ball beyond Paul Jones. Gutting.
It was really a mixed game, so if you had said that it would be 2-2 after 25 minutes, then I would have taken it, but after an hour we looked certain for the win.
I had had an amazing day, the banter was top drawer. The food was good, the journey was good, the company was brilliant and the game wasn’t too shabby either. It truly was a Good Friday.
What this game did confirm to me, is that Portsmouth fans are unique. We have a strange ability to get on the players backs, and shout and moan and scream about how terrible we are playing. Unleashing some of the vilest abuse I have ever heard.
But when it comes down to it, we can be the best fans in the country. We can change a game just by turning up, we can push this club further than it’s players can. It must be something to do with being marinated in Portsmouth sea air.
We are what makes Portsmouth the club they are. Fan owned, Fan run, Fan motivated.
…and I love it!
Play up Pompey and #VotePies.