Crewe 1 Pompey 2

npower League One - 02/03/2013 -  Crewe Alexandra vs Portsmouth'At Gresty Road'Portsmouth's Patrick Agyemang crosses the ball for David Connolly to score goal
npower League One - 02/03/2013 - Crewe Alexandra vs Portsmouth'At Gresty Road'Portsmouth's Patrick Agyemang crosses the ball for David Connolly to score goal
Samantha Quayle. Picture: Jordan Hampton

Flying start for Pompey with Cardiff swept aside

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A win.

Only the blackest of souls would deny fellow football fans that pleasure, that flicker of joy.

Especially over the agonising time frame Pompey followers have been forced to endure.

And there it was – after four months and 11 days – in the setting of the Alexandra Stadium.

It was still called Gresty Road the last time Pompey won a match, as one supporter joked.

In the context of the season, it was irrelevant – a trifling result which will have no impact on their league position.

Tickets for the journey to League Two were booked a while ago, certainly there have been some among the 51 players used who were reclining in their seats and enjoying the ride.

Saturday was special, though, an occasion which will unquestionably go down in Pompey folklore.

Granted, it was no FA Cup final, it was no AC Milan, it was no Wembley victory over Spurs and it was no Great Escape finale at Wigan.

It was Crewe. Yet the result was no less emotional for those long-suffering Blues fans across the world.

There was the spectacle of the brown coat-sporting pitch invader who left the confines of the away end to embrace the players on the pitch at the final whistle.

As stewards dragged him away, the likes of Johnny Ertl, Ricardo Rocha and James Keene furiously pleaded for his release.

Keene, marking the final match of his loan, hurled his shirt into the crowd and spoke of seeing fans crying.

The players, yes those players who had participated in the bulk if not all of that club record 23-match run, were embraced by those same supporters as if they had captured the league title.

High fives, hugs, handshakes, posing for photographs, the 485 away followers rejoiced with the players while chanting ‘we win when we want’.

It would have taken the hardest of hearts not to have been deeply touched by witnessing such genuine and emotional footballing scenes.

As for those who made it possible, who could begrudge a first win for caretaker boss Guy Whittingham, a man of infinite resilience and positive outlook?

For the likes of Jed Wallace and Dan Butler, such bright lights in the on-going fog, it was a maiden victory in professional football.

The backroom staff, their numbers routed and plundered by administration and Michael Appleton, were given rare cheer.

And the fans, those fans, who have earned gushing respect from opponents in every one of those wretched 23 matches. Regardless of their opinions on prospective owners and takeovers, for one night they were united in triumph.

The city of Portsmouth smiled on Saturday.

That Crewe result capped off-the-field developments which suggest change is indeed in the air.

By securing a £1.45m council loan, the Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust were allowed to subsequently flex their financial muscle to those who continue to cast doubt.

By attempting to scupper the plans at the last minute, Keith Harris and his cohorts showed their true colours in the process.

Then there was Stuart Robinson – working in conjunction with the Trust – securing Sacha Gaydamak’s land.

A property deal which will net the Trust in excess of £2m – and development of Fratton Park in accordance to council planning.

Inevitably, it will also see Robinson profit and a new Tesco constructed.

Let’s not be naive, clearly there is money to be made from non-football folk.

Regardless, it is tangible proof the Trust are marching towards capturing the club.

Then there was Saturday, yes Saturday, when the team themselves pulled off a victory.

Suddenly it is one win and three draws in the last five matches following a painful run of nine consecutive losses.

Shafts of daylight are beginning to break through the previously impenetrable gloomy clouds.

Well, until the next crisis.

At the Alexandra Stadium, though, it was all about football as Pompey won 2-1.

It was Patrick Agyemang who presented the visitors with that crucial early lead – producing a classy move in the sixth minute.

Liam Walker fed the ball into the big striker’s feet and, with his back to goal, he swivelled to catch marker Mark Ellis by surprise.

In one fluid move he struck a shot past the Railwaymen’s keeper and into the right-hand corner of the net.

The goal signalled a sensational opening 45 minutes from the former QPR man who was simply unplayable as his power and strength dominated the home defence.

On 29 minutes, Ertl intercepted a pass in midfield and surged forward through the heart of the pitch.

He fed Agyemang down the left channel and the on-loan Stevenage hitman crossed from the byline for strike partner David Connolly to bury home at the far post.

From goal-scorer to creator – and on the stroke of half-time he set up Wallace, too, only for the youngster to blaze over from inside the box.

It was 2-0 at the break for the Blues, a handsome position they had not experienced during their 23-match winless run.

It prompted the inevitable re-jig from Crewe, while injury to Connolly saw the entrance of Keene at the break for a final Pompey appearance.

The hosts began to dominate possession and, with Keene dropping back to help out in wide areas, Agyemang had become a counter-attacking option.

Crewe did pull a goal back in the 63rd minute after Byron Moore’s shot was brilliantly parried by Simon Eastwood.

The ball was played back into the danger area and there was Mathias Pogba at the far post to finish and reduce the deficit.

Cue a nervy end to the match for Pompey fans, yet the players responded magnificently, defending bravely and without hesitation.

The scenes at the final whistle between players and fans crackled with raw emotion – finally the club record had been brought to a halt.

A minor victory, nonetheless it should be celebrated. Those fans have endured enough in what is heading to be the worst season in Pompey history.

This football club has also endured enough of mismanagement and dirty tricks which continue to hamper its potential recovery.

But last week something changed. Actions rather than words came to the front.

Maybe, just maybe, even bigger wins are around the corner.