Pompey penalty jinx is back – after 34-year sabbatical

Michael Smith missed from the spot against Bristol Rovers. Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Smith missed from the spot against Bristol Rovers. Picture: Joe Pepler
Nicke Kabamba. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey loan watch – weekend report

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POMPEY have netted just one of their past seven penalties.

Yet the current spot-kick jinx has entered familiar territory for those Fratton fans of a certain age.

For Bobby Campbell’s 1982-83 side endured the same agonising run – and still managed to win promotion.

Eoin Doyle’s second-half miss against Crawley was the sixth spot-kick spurned by the Blues this season.

He joins a band which includes Gary Roberts (twice), Michael Smith, Kal Naismith and Conor Chaplin in failing from 12 yards.

In fact, Roberts’ penalty in the 4-0 triumph over Mansfield in November, represents the only successful conversion in their last seven attempts.

Pompey had similar issues almost 35 years ago in the backdrop of Division Three.

When Bobby Doyle’s shot was saved by Wrexham’s Eddie Niedzwiecki in September 1982, it represented his first penalty miss in 13 attempts.

However, it also yielded the team’s run of one netted in seven spot-kicks.

Doyle scored in a 1-1 draw at Oxford United the following league game, only to miss against Millwall at Fratton Park.

Alan Biley (Bournemouth), Doyle (Preston) and Neil Webb (Cardiff) also failed to register.

Trevor Ross, on-loan from Everton, joined the growing list when his attempt against Gillingham was saved.

Pompey, however, discovered a reliable presence in skipper and centre-half Steve Aizlewood.

Handed the duty in November 1982 against Doncaster, he went on a spot-kick spree of scoring four successive times.

Although he did fail against Huddersfield, having earlier scored from the spot.

When Aizlewood was unable to face Wigan in March 1983, Colin Sullivan took over – and missed.

Upon the arrival of Kevin Dillon from Birmingham City, he displaced Aizlewood and scored twice from the spot against Reading to kick-off a Pompey career consisting of 34 penalty successes in 43 attempts.

Campbell’s troops scored eight of their 16 spot-kicks that season, yet still claimed the Division Three title by five points.

Back to the present, this season began with Roberts scoring with his opening three and then four from six, before losing the honour.

He remains the sole Pompey player to net from the spot during their 10 attempts this season.

The question now is who takes the next one?