Appy: Now I understand the south coast derby

18/12/2011 (SPORT) POMPEY_SAINTS''Portsmouth FC v Southampton FC at Fratton Park on Sunday 18th December 2011.''Pictured is: Portsmouth FC manager Michael Appleton before the match.''Picture: Sarah Standing (114426-6953)
18/12/2011 (SPORT) POMPEY_SAINTS''Portsmouth FC v Southampton FC at Fratton Park on Sunday 18th December 2011.''Pictured is: Portsmouth FC manager Michael Appleton before the match.''Picture: Sarah Standing (114426-6953)
Pompey hosts Fulham Under-21s tonight in the Checkatrade Trophy

Pompey v Fulham Under-21s – Live

0
Have your say

If he didn’t know what the south coast derby was about beforehand, Michael Appleton got an idea when the Fratton Park dressing room started to shake 90 minutes before kick-off.

The Blues boss is no stranger to derby clashes, having taken part in some spicy encounters during his West Brom days up against local rivals Wolves.

While he expected he would experience something that little bit different in his first south coast derby, he wasn’t quite sure what.

But if there was any doubt beforehand, Appleton now knows the strength of feeling between the two clubs – and admits he’s almost relieved to have got his first one under his belt.

He said: ‘I did say jokingly to the lads after the game that “the game is done now”.

‘It felt like there was a massive preparation towards the game with everything that goes with it

‘It will be nice to not mention the word “Southampton” for a couple of months and concentrate on climbing up the league and getting on with the rest of the season.

‘But as any derby in the country, it’s right up there.

‘Even an hour and a half before the game – as the players were getting ready for the warm-up – I was sat in the dressing room and could feel the place rocking.

‘You knew the Southampton fans had arrived.

‘There were already plenty of our fans in the ground and you could get a feel for the kind of intensity and the rivalry there is between the two clubs and that showed in the game.

‘It was a fantastic atmosphere and the place was really rocking.

‘Nobody wants to lose the game, first and foremost.

‘But if you win, fantastic because the fans get the bragging rights.

‘So both sets of supporters went home reasonably happy yesterday.

‘They have got a couple of months at work where they don’t get a little bit of stick in the office until we will all go at it again.’

In a scrappy affair, there were precious few goalscoring opportunities at either end.

Pompey struggling to create any clear-cut chances before Joel Ward’s late header rescued a point.

Appleton said: ‘Apart from the (Guly) do Prado chance when Stephen (Henderson) made a great save – and the two goals – I can’t think of another chance in the game where either keeper has actually had to make a save.

‘We cancelled each other out a little bit.

‘But that’s the only thing with these derby games.

‘There is so much of that intensity and rivalry that sometimes the two teams forget to play.

‘They forget there is another opportunity to get three points and to go out and express themselves.

‘There were not enough people who were prepared to put their foot on the ball and show a little bit of composure.

‘It was 110-miles-per-hour for the whole game.

‘It’s a little bit disappointing we didn’t get it down and play a bit more but it’s difficult when the opposition are like that as well.

‘The two teams were right at it and were not prepared to shift.

‘There wasn’t that much in the game and I thought it was a fair result.’