I hate work. I love away days. Combine them together? You can knock off from work at midday to travel to a midweek away game not too far away! Happy days.
I taxied around Portsea Island collecting a few mates before we shot up to Guildford for 15:00 where Chiv would take over the driving in his new Ford Monster Truck. The leg room is incredible, you’d pay a couple of extra hundred quid on a plane to get that sort of spaciousness.
We stopped for petrol so we could load the car up with Fruit Pastilles – I have to hold my hands up and say I ate about 2/3 of the sharing packet that was shared between four of us.
We arrived into Northampton at about 17:30, at this time we all decided we could probably do with some grub so we headed across the road from the car park next to the stadium for a KFC.
All my life I was under the impression KFC stood for ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’, but I actually found out it means ‘Kan’t F****** Clear-A-Queue-In-Less-Than-15minutes’… No wonder it’s an abbreviation.
To be fair, I didn’t really notice the queue at the time, it’s only once we got food I realised how long we were stood there. What I do want to moan about is their stupid PowerPoint menu they’ve got going on above the tills.
You’re stood there debating what size bargain bucket you’re after, and then all of us sudden the menus disappear and play some shitty video for a zinger wrap. So you’ve got to wait another 5 minutes for the menu to reload as you’ve completely forgotten what you were after. The food however was lush.
Walking over to the ground from KFC took minutes and we found ourselves approaching ‘Carr’s bar’ which seemed full of Cobblers fans. Funnily enough after ordering our pints from the very friendly staff we learnt it was the bar for home fans only as numerous Pompey fans were turned away.
It was so cold all of our jackets were zipped up so you couldn’t see who we supported. Other than our mate Ryan who had a low collar on his top – so you could easily see his white and red pin striped neck above the main blue base of the shirt.
So easy to spot that the steward approached him after he came back with his second beer and asked “Is that a home or away top you’ve got on under there?”.
“Home”. He buggared off.
You’d like to think that stewards would know which colour shirts their employers actually play in but we can’t complain. It was a really nicely designed bar and a friendly vibe. No football atmosphere however from the home fans. I’d like to think the away bar on the other side of the ground had a good atmosphere, if there even was an away bar.
Inside the ground we went. I imagined that they would have actually had a completed fourth stand by now as my last visit under Awford the stand to the right as you look out from the away end was a pile of rubble.
They have at least created the bottom tier. Unfortunately for the few hundred Pompey fans situated in that stand there was barely a back at the top. So when it rained, for them it poured. And didn’t it rain a lot. Fair play to all Pompey fans in that side stand.
They were okay spacious wise for the size of the stand and the urinals were nearly decent. I did actually need a number two but the bogs didn’t entice me in enough as they didn’t look that clean. As a result I have renamed the fields around Sixfields, Shitfields. No further comment. 6.5/10.
NTFC’s attempts to drown out away support was a good effort with extremely loud music in the away end right up till kick off, however most of the songs they played Pompey fans had chants for so it seemed it only boosted the atmosphere come 19:45.
We actually found ourselves situated in the stand away from the main group of singers. Any chant that was being sung we would be at least 5 seconds out of time from the main body due to distance and wind etc, so from where we were it was hard to get stuff going. The main group however were singing all 90.
My god were the dins out. Most probably last minute ticket buyers due to winning at the weekend we were surrounded by idiots. I think Attenborough should do a documentary on fair weather fans. I’ll explain shortly as I take the morale high ground.
Now I don’t like to single players out at all but McGee had a mare. Northampton’s move for the first goal was nothing short of brilliant but Lukey was so late coming out for the ball that it was to easy to slot through his legs.
Only minutes before that he flapped at a corner that went whiskers wide and again from a set piece later in the first half he flapped at and as a result we ended up 2 down.
It’s strange because he is so good on his day but it seems consistency is a struggle for McGee. That doesn’t however excuse any Pompey fan who heckled, jeered and sarcastically cheered right in front of McGee when he caught a slow pass from a Northampton’s drop ball. These are the dins I’m referring to.
Luke’s a kid. Support him or f*** off. One fan was almost reduced to tears when another Pompey fan confronted him about his twattishness. He didn’t heckle again.
We were poor first half. Really poor.
I didn’t hold out much hope for the second half but was soon made to eat my cynicism as O’Keefe and Kennedy grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. Those two were immense second half. Kennedy is the player Jackett spoke about after games earlier in the season, someone who likes to take defenders on.
It’s just a shame another McGee error cost us a third as we were started to get back into it and actually we’re dominate second half. At least his kicking is consistent… that is consistently bad. That’s one thing he does need to work on.
Lowe had the chance to have a hat-trick and has missed so many chances this season he really needs to take them. Again Chaplin started and offered nothing – he’s not the messiah, he shouldn’t start games IMO. We craved substitutes late in the second half but alas, nothing.
Another game to chalk off, but the first half cost us dearly and we couldn’t atone enough for first half errors. Their keeper was solid and we weren’t good enough in front of goal.
Keep the faith. If you need something to cheer you up check out #PAFC, they’re wetting their beds at the moment.
We would have been a different force with Hawkins up too, another game on a day that wasn’t ours.
If I had to give a Man Of The Match it would be to the Northampton steward who wore a rain poncho under his highviz. Ingenious thinking.
Photo credits: Jake Smith & Pompey Memes