By Matt Fry

We set off at 7am to embark on the trip up North to our hotel in Grimsby, arriving at midday after a quick refreshment break at the services. Drinking a couple of beers we made the decision to walk from the Premier Inn to Blundell Park…It’s a trek!

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Blundell Park is run down (being polite) but it was nice to see not only hoards of Pompey fans but also a good turnout from Grimsby. The home fans were lacking in atmosphere but that didn’t stop us bellowing out the Pompey Chimes.

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Pompey looked great, solid at the back, tight and well drilled in the central midfield, attacking midfielders driving at the defence and Smith up top played superbly as target man.

In particular, Doyle and Burgess were playing like men possessed, the former tackling with intent and seizing every loose ball, the latter stepping in to intercept and calmly deal with any threat Grimsby posed. They both needed a professional performance after the incident two weeks ago and they provided it.

Who would have known Grimsby had the top scorer in the league? Both centre backs had Omar Bogle firmly placed in their pockets although being honest he didn’t have much support up top. Grimsby tried spreading the play wide time after time and each time found the fans to our left. This was a credit to our high pressing game, the Grimsby midfield couldn’t pick a pass and this was imperative in limiting chances on Fordes net. There were a couple of speculative efforts from Grimsby, but we were never really under threat of conceding.

A few good opportunities came and went and we didn’t exploit these as clinically as perhaps we should have. The game needed something special…and after Baker was bundled over Naismith stood over the ball with Evans next to him. I put the jinx on Naismith saying he wouldn’t score…only to see the ball fly towards us and nestle in the top corner. The players bundled Kal in front of the dugout and it was exactly what we deserved and needed!

Comparisons to the last Scotsman (Mark Burchill) who scored in a 1-0 win were made among us and the magic last 5 minutes which saw us grab 3 points back in 2002 were matched with Naismiths’ curling effort. Perhaps this is the tonic we needed to hit form and with favourable fixtures coming up, we could close the gap and put ourselves back in the automatic position mix.

Let’s all get behind the lads next Saturday against Hartlepool as James Parkhouse said on Twitter: “We’re all in this together. They aren’t the reason we’re in this league, they are the solution.” I couldn’t agree more and the more we show unconditional faith and support we will see the back of this league!

Play Up Pompey!

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