Let's get this straight up front. Southampton are a better team than Pompey at the moment. I'm not gonna go through the arguments about who is the bigger club, see my previous blog, Pompey win more trophies, Southampton beat Pompey more often in derbies. Having said that even if they had beaten us 7-0 today I wouldn't want to have been born a Southampton fan, I would never swap my home for theirs.
Right let's look at today's game.
Pompey were not very good today. We were lucky to get a draw. But we did. Once they scored I didn't see us getting back into it. What a feeling it must have been for local boy Joel Ward to get the equaliser and the nature of it, they way he bundled it in showed a determination that I thought was lacking from the overall performance. Lawrence wasn't fit and shouldn't have played. I don't like playing one upfront, especially not at home, Kitson is not playing well enough to lead the line. The frustrating thing about Pompey at the moment is if you look through the team the individuals are not doing badly. Pearce, Rocha, Halford are playing well. Norris and Mullins are doing a ok. The WBA boys are fitting in. But the team as a whole are not performing as a unit, are not doing well enough.
BUT you can not argue with the results. When we wrote about Appleton's appointment we stated:
'However the fixture list has been relatively kind, the upcoming games include three home games out of the next five and Pompey have the 4th best home record in the Championship. The Southampton game is on the horizon. Victory there would buy him a lot of credit. Before that he has home games against managerless Leicester and 21st placed Coventry currently second bottom in the form table and the only club with a worse league away record than Pompey having scored 4 goals away in 8 games. The away games are against 18th placed Burnley who have won 2 of their 8 home games this year and 21st placed Watford who have won 3 of 8. These games are eminently winnable. Whittingham and Grey have given him some momentum and a new manager 'bounce' could see us looking in a much healthier position in time for the scum which will be a lottery of a game.'
And so it has transipred. Victory against an awful Coventry, a good win vs Burnley, a draw against Leicester and a draw against top of the table scum. Only an awful game against Watford is a blot on a good start. Of course before that the caretakers had done a good job. At this point we have a game in hand on most and are 6 points off relegation places and 6 points off seven.
If I dealt in cliches I would say that a team not performing well and getting results is a positive sign. We wait and see, I'm not currently that optimistic.
I thought the banter was quite good today. I'm also not getting involved in the we were louder than you crap on twitter. Both were loud during their teams ascendency, I thought it was fun when we mocked the Lalalalalaana chant, and enjoyed the lualua chant. The stupidity of my fellow Pompey fans not giving the ball back when we were attempting to chase the game was also quite amusing!
Did the bubble work? Well yes. Did it impinge on people's human rights? Maybe but at least no one got their heads kicked in.
Now let's see if Appleton can push on in the new year. I hope the scum don't go up, if for no other reason I like derby day, but they are lot more likely than us to do it at the moment.
Play up Pompey. Who have not lost a home derby in my life time. I, 4-1, am quite proud of that.