Pompey fans home safe after ‘successful’ derby day

7/4/2012 (NEWS)''The 33 buses leaving from Rodney Road, Portsmouth on Saturday 7th April 2012 to St Mary's Stadium in Southampton for the Pompey v Saints match.''Picture: Sarah Standing (121241-6893)
7/4/2012 (NEWS)''The 33 buses leaving from Rodney Road, Portsmouth on Saturday 7th April 2012 to St Mary's Stadium in Southampton for the Pompey v Saints match.''Picture: Sarah Standing (121241-6893)
Alex Clements-Fox has his hair cut for the first time in two years by Maria Norman in aid of The Rowans Hospice Picture: Keith Woodland

Alex has chop for charity

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JUBILANT Pompey fans are back home after snatching a last-minute draw against Southampton.

Police arrested five people – four home fans and one away supporter – for minor incidents of disorder but said the day was a success.

At full time the fans were escorted back onto coaches, ready to be escorted out of the city in a ‘bubble’ convoy to prevent any violence.

Supporters were not given their tickets until they were on the coaches en route to Southampton.

On their arrival the convoys were taken to a ‘safe’ area in Britannia Road outside St Mary’s Stadium, which is surrounded by metal barriers and heavily policed in a bid to stop rival fans from meeting.

Ahead of the match opinions from fans waiting at Fratton Park were mixed regarding whether the precautions were really needed.

Matt Hinks, 29, of Shadwell Road, said: ‘I think they are a good idea, we don’t want a repeat of what happened last time.

‘Some people are moaning about civil liberties but honestly it’s a small price to pay for keeping safe.’

But Mark Dover, 50, from Oxfordshire, said the arrangements had forced him to drive past Southampton only to head back there again.

‘I think in this day and age sensible policing should be enough,’ he said.

‘All these measures seem over the top.’

As the coach convoy made its way through Portsmouth fans not attending the match lined the streets and waved as they went past.

While on board the coaches Pompey supporters were warned they face a five year ban and a hefty fine if they so much as set foot on the St Mary’s pitch.

Fans have now entered the stadium and are waiting for the start of the game,

Darin McCloud, 47, from Stanley Road, Stamshaw, said: ‘It was really good coming up on the coach.

‘There was a nice bit of banter with the Saints fans but it was all light-hearted.

‘I think the precautions are a good idea if they’re keeping people safe and I’m looking forward to a great game.’

Pompey fan John Morton, 57, from Reading, said: ‘It’s been great so far.

‘We had a good time on the coach.

‘Hopefully it will be a good game.’

Following the Pompey’s late equaliser fans from both teams surged towards one another but were separated by police.

In total there were six ejections from the stadium and one man received treatment for a minor injury to his face after being hit by a coin in the crowd. There were also around five seats ripped up by away fans after Saints scored their second goal.

Police will remain on patrol in the city centre throughout the evening.