Blackpool 1 Pompey 1

Brandon Haunstrup and Jack Whatmough

Whatmough passes latest milestone en-route to Pompey return

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The message was loud and clear at Bloomfield Road – and across the nation: ‘Get out of our club’.

Sky television cameras captured the moment, a timely presence for the beginning of what fans have promised to be the backlash.

Supporters have had enough of the mismanagement which has become part of the fabric of their football club.

It is often said when their backs are to the wall the Fratton faithful come out fighting.

Now Blackpool fans – and the TV audience at home – have seen it for themselves at first hand.

What’s more, expect the protesting voices to crank up the volume for the visit of Ipswich tomorrow.

Blackpool was a mere taster of things to come.

Those 1,400 supporters, though, did their club proud once again with their passion, their resilience and their humour.

From 10 Elvises doing the conga in the second half to seven smurfs smurfing around, this was unlike any other away day.

Then, at the sounding of the whistle to indicate the start of the second half, almost every one of those visiting supporters conjured up a Poznan.

Interestingly, the concept had attracted criticism from some Blues followers in the build-up.

They were concerned it may be seen as turning their backs on the players.

Greg Halford, speaking afterwards, certainly didn’t see it that way. Neither, he insisted, did his team-mates.

Still, almost every Pompey fan present joined in with that two-minute message, chanting ‘Michael Appleton’s Blue & White Army’ in the process.

Filmed by the television cameras, it was crucial publicity as the first shots were fired.

And, of course, national coverage is priceless.

In addition, stickers sporting the heads of Balram Chainrai, Andrew Andronikou, Sacha Gaydamak, Vladimir Antonov and Peter Storrie were unveiled in Blackpool.

Posters are also in the offing and will be distributed at Fratton tomorrow night.

Administration is coming, a winding-up hearing is looming. That is what a succession of owners have done to this club.

Now fans are fighting, they want their club back and they want Chainrai and Andronikou removed.

Members of administrators UHY Hacker Young – Terri Mulgrew and Michael Kiely – have already been at Fratton Park since Tuesday last week.

No sign of Andronikou yet, although they are clearly laying the red carpet in anticipation of his grand entrance.

Lampitt was also missing from Fratton Park for four days last week.

He was present, however, at Bloomfield Road on Saturday, although sadly his voice remains absent.

Still, the chief executive and the supporters witnessed another gutsy showing from a group of players continuing to wait for January’s wages.

To think a week ago Chainrai had claimed in the Hong Kong press that business partner Levi Kushnir had covered the shortfall.

All the same, Stephen Crainey’s 76th-minute free-kick cancelled out Erik Huseklepp’s opener and denied victory at Blackpool.

Had Huseklepp not proven so wasteful in front of goal, Pompey would have had the game won long before then.

Credit where it is due, though. Appleton and his men continue to dig in alongside the fans during such tough times.

The sight of Pompey’s players giving their shirts to the visiting support was a touching moment of unity.

And a point at promotion-chasing Blackpool was an excellent return.

Before the match, it was same again for Appleton in terms of the starting line-up and the bench.

Not that he had much choice with no return from injury for several of his long-time casualties.

Luke Varney still hadn’t recovered from a knee problem in time to feature against his former club, while David Norris was not yet ready to return from a double hernia operation.

There was, once again, no Kanu – a back problem keeping him firmly out of contention.

At least Tal Ben Haim had recovered sufficiently enough from a hamstring problem to retain his spot at right-back, though.

In the 14th minute, Marko Futacs wriggled free down the left to collect Joel Ward’s ball down the line and cut inside Craig Cathcart.

He opted to pull the ball back to Hayden Mullins for a shooting opportunity but the midfielder’s first touch let him down and his second committed a foul as he attempted to retrieve it.

Moments later Huseklepp was put through by Futacs but he failed to gather the ball and Danny Wilson came in with a timely challenge. At the other end, Lomana Lualua cut across the area and drilled a low shot past the left-hand post.

Blackpool had the ball in the net in the 20th minute after Ben Haim had conceded a free-kick when he was adjudged to have committed a foul.

Lualua drilled the ball in and it deflected past Stephen Henderson, only for the linesman’s flag to rule it out for offside.

On 24 minutes, a sublime chipped ball by Liam Lawrence was beautifully controlled by Futacs, who fired in a shot which flashed agonisingly across the face of goal.

It was Ben Haim who had the Blues’ first attempt on target when, in the 27th minute, the ball bounced kindly and he drove a left-footer straight at the keeper.

Seconds later Huseklepp burst through for a one-on-one only for Matt Gilks to stand tall and block.

The Norwegian followed up and clipped in a cross which Joel Ward headed over from close range, although he was straining to reach it.

The visitors did claim the lead, though, in the 45th minute.

Etuhu did the damage down the right and when his shot was saved it fell to Futacs.

The Hungarian’s miscued shot fell to Huseklepp, who spun around to finish smartly.

After the break, the Blues came under some heavy early pressure.

Yet Huseklepp should have doubled their advantage in the 52nd minute when Futacs ushered the ball into his path. But with just Gilks to beat he mis-controlled the ball and a golden chance had gone begging.

The goal-scorer then beat the offside trap to launch another counter-attack.

But with Futacs unmarked in the middle he delivered an awful lofted cross which drifted out for a throw-in.

In the 72nd minute, Huseklepp again was put clear inside the box but could only send a weak half-volley straight at Gilks.

And Pompey were made to pay with 14 minutes left when Halford was harshly adjudged to have fouled Alex Baptiste. Crainey stepped up to deliver a wonderfully-flighted free-kick into the top corner and make it one point instead of three.

‘We’re proud of you’ sang the Blues followers.

And everyone from the city of Portsmouth should be proud of those supporters.