Pompey 0 Stevenage 0

Pompey midfielder Therry Racon goes flying after winning his battle for the ball with Stevenage's Anthony Grant at Fratton Park on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey midfielder Therry Racon goes flying after winning his battle for the ball with Stevenage's Anthony Grant at Fratton Park on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin and Brett Pitman. Picture: Shaun Boggust

Fans have say on Pompey attack debate

0
Have your say

That’s the football match out of the way, now on to more pressing matters.

Of course, try telling the 11,505 Pompey supporters present on Saturday that the visit of Stevenage didn’t mean anything.

Nonetheless, there is a date with the High Court approaching – a fixture that will dictate the club’s immediate future.

Everything else in the build-up seems largely irrelevant, particularly the football at this moment in time.

A ridiculous scenario, granted, but Pompey supporters are used to being more concerned about off-the-field matters rather than who is playing left-back.

Certainly the most talked about issue on social media and message boards from Friday onwards has been the details of Keith Harris’ £6.3m bid for Fratton Park.

Well, other than 90 minutes during a lacklustre goalless draw with Stevenage.

Not that the football match provided much for those present to discuss or even take their minds off other matters.

It was dull, unimaginative, forgettable and only came to life 12 minutes from the end during a bit of good, old-fashioned handbags.

Even then, just two yellow cards were brandished in the aftermath of such antics involving almost every player on the pitch.

Still, that £6.3m Harris agreement to effectively remove the Portpin charge from Fratton will form the crux of Balram Chainrai and Co’s court case.

It’s a valuation hearing which will begin Wednesday. Or maybe Thursday.

The verdict delivered by the judge could be made public Friday, or it may even be next week.

There may be room for an appeal. Then again, there may not.

However, there is one thing which is certain – Pompey’s existence in its current form depends on it.

The latest drama will unfold in the Rolls Building and is set to attract some Blues followers as fascinated spectators from the gallery.

No draws to be gleaned here, the result has to satisfy somebody. The alternative is really not worth thinking about.

Potential club owners, The Pompey Supporters’ Trust, have tabled £3m for Fratton Park and have independent valuations worth less than that.

Portpin have Harris’ bid to counteract such an offer.

The danger for those who favour the Trust is the valuation is judged to be high above the figure they can afford, forcing them to pull out.

Of course, in the meantime there was a football match on display on Saturday – the penultimate one at Fratton Park this season.

In theory, that court case could decide it is the penultimate one ever at the famous old ground. Not that Pompey fans need reminding.

Once more all talk is about non-footballing matters – as were some of the questions put to Guy Whittingham afterwards.

With a shrug of the shoulders, the caretaker boss insisted he was going to remain focused on the football. If only it was that simple.

If the case is resolved to the satisfaction of the Trust, the first thing they must do is appoint him permanently.

Whittingham has proven during a run of two defeats in 12 matches that he can lead the club forward, particularly if the bulk of this current Blues squad can be retained.

Assembled on a shoestring budget, this gang of freebies, discards and loanees continue to impress and prove their worth.

Whittingham, unquestionably, warrants the right to be at the helm next season in League Two. If that is where Pompey are playing, of course.

Talking football, Saturday was unimpressive, relegation-affirming even. Nonetheless, the positives continue to stack up.

That is now more than two months the Blues are unbeaten at home, while they haven’t conceded in their last 423 minutes at Fratton Park.

Suddenly the defence is proving to be watertight – the foundation for any prospectively successful side to be built upon.

Admittedly, the absence of striker Patrick Agyemang against his parent club was glaring, with John Akinde struggling as a replacement.

Whittingham afterwards pointed to the striker’s lack of game time being the cause, with the Stevenage game being only his second start since arriving at Pompey.

Regardless, he helped highlight how crucial it is to retain Agyemang when his Stevenage contract expires this summer.

Not that Akinde should be made culpable for the subsequent goalless draw – there was a lack of creativity throughout the side.

Liam Walker was brought back for Jack Maloney, Ricardo Rocha came in for Sam Sodje and, of course, Akinde replaced Agyemang.

While defensively the Blues remained strong, offensively they struggled to carve out anything meaningful.

Too often they took up promising positions, only for poor decisions to bring an abrupt halt to the move – much to the frustration of the Fratton faithful.

Jed Wallace and Walker, in particular, during the second half were at fault as attacks petered out.

The duo, though, were involved in Pompey’s best move of the match in the 10th minute.

Wallace pulled back a superb ball from the right-hand touchline which was cleverly dummied by David Connolly.

That created room for Walker to run on to, only to prod his shot past the post from a glorious position.

That was about as good as it got from the hosts, although substitute Adam Webster did see a header gathered and a snap-shot just clear the bar late on.

It was a similar story for Boro, who saw Dani Lopez drive straight at Simon Eastwood in the first half and substitute Marcus Haber strike the top of the bar with a header deep into stoppage time.

In truth, neither side deserved to take a win from an insipid end-of-season fixture.

It leaves Pompey two points adrift of safety with three matches remaining – a trip to Brentford next up.

Crucially, fifth-from-bottom Oldham have three games in hand on the Blues and surely cannot be caught.

Even if they were, the Football League’s impending 10-point deduction would still relegate Pompey.

Anyhow, what does that matter anyway at this moment in time?

This week the latest step to untangle the club from Portpin reaches the High Court.

A city will watch with hope that a resolution can be found to keep its football club alive.

Last week Pompey celebrated its 115th birthday. This week could well dictate if there will be many more.