Pompey 2-0 Crewe

Wes Thomas heads Pompey into an early lead against Crewe
Wes Thomas heads Pompey into an early lead against Crewe
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury

From patrolling the streets of Northern Ireland to steering the Hawks to potential new heights

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And now you’re gonna believe us. Yes, the Fratton faithful finally believe again.

They believe the destiny of the club they love so dear is closer to being placed into their hands than ever before.

They believe there could be a future for the outfit they care for unstintingly – a future free of the tangled web of abuse and greed which has sent it to the brink of oblivion.

They believe the star and crescent is at last on the brink of being released from a labyrinth sequence of events, which for so long looked certain to see former owner Balram Chainrai and Portpin return to the corridors of power at the end of Frogmore Road.

And they believe there is a united route forward for those fans who have suffered being on the receiving end of contempt from less well-informed elements of the football family, as the star and crescent was muddied.

Their voices vociferously sang ‘we’re gonna buy the club’ as one, as their team took Crewe apart with a relentless first-half assault on Saturday.

Yes, that autumnal chill looks like it’s being accompanied with a wind of change which will sweep through Fratton Park.

Quite what that means for the man who has guided Pompey through the seemingly endless darkness remains to be seen.

Those supporters who understand what manager Michael Appleton has had to contend with in his 10 months at PO4 believe in him.

And now it appears so do one or two other football clubs, who have kept a distant eye on the exemplary conduct and leadership of one of the game’s brightest young things.

At the end of last week, the bookies fancied him for the vacant Bolton job following Owen Coyle’s dismissal from the Reebok Stadium.

Now they fancy him more for the managerial role at Burnley, after Eddie Howe’s unexpected return to Bournemouth.

The whispers on both persisted over the weekend, but it’s the talk of the Clarets’ hunt for a successor to Howe which is generating more noise in Appy’s direction.

With his roots firmly in the north west, along with his family, it’s an easy fit for the Pompey boss and the vacant roles.

Appleton is a straight talker and about as honest a football man as you’ll ever hear when it comes to dealing the media. He promised he had not been contacted by either Bolton or Burnley in Saturday’s post-match debrief, with a much larger than usual press pack present on Saturday.

Whether there has been any feelers put by either club in a world where agents and fixers operate as go-betweens and sounding boards for different parties is another matter.

No-one could begrudge the 36-year-old for entertaining overtures from those who want to court him.

And, certainly, no-one could blame him for growing frustrated at the conditions he has been forced to contend with since his Fratton arrival last November.

Through it all, he has formed a team this season which is now showing signs of cohesion, which was inevitably previously missing as a result of a ramshackle opening to the campaign.

Pompey comfortably dispatched Crewe with as dominant a 45-minute performance as they have produced this season.

The two decisive goals arrived in the opening 18 minutes and could have been followed with at least the same again before the interval.

After the embarrassment of conceding what must be one of the quickest goals ever seen at Fratton Park after 13 seconds against Wycombe, Appleton’s men found their own early opener against Steve Davis’ side.

It took 82 seconds for the livewire Wes Thomas to head home Jon Harley’s cross and make the breakthrough.

And it was Thomas who earned the penalty which made it two, as Andy Bond dangled a leg for the Bournemouth loanee to go over in the box.

Crewe boss Davis branded the striker a ‘diver’ after the game.

Privately, he surely would have berated his defender for giving referee David Phillips a decision to make.

With captain Brian Howard relieved of penalty duties following a succession of misses, Izale McLeod had to fend off a spirited effort from Akos Buzsaky to take the kick, before emphatically dispatching his seventh goal of the season past keeper Alan Martin.

Buzsaky may have lost out on the penalty, but there was plenty for him to be satisfied with as he started to show glimpses of what he could produce in the coming months.

One delicious pass delivered with the outside of his boot carved open the Crewe defence after eight minutes and put McLeod free.

It was the type of ball fans’ favourite Paul Merson copyrighted round these parts a decade ago.

There were other chances for McLeod and Thomas as they continue to look like a partnership with real weight in England’s third tier.

But two goals was enough, and, although the Railwaymen did get back on track after the interval, there was little real fear the points wouldn’t be coming Pompey’s way.

In effect, the second-half was a procession, but one where the home team didn’t look nervous and managed to claim a second clean sheet of the campaign, which will be cherished.

It also made it four League One games unbeaten for the Blues – 10 points from a possible dozen, which lifts Pompey to 12th in the table.

Appleton is working on the premise of 10 of the 15 points accumulated being deducted.

But there is a belief that if it’s the Pompey Supporters’ Trust who assumes control at Fratton, that may not be the case.

We wait to see where scheduled talks between administrators PKF and the Trust head this week, but a quietly confident air is now tangible in their diligent work.

No-one is expecting Portpin to go quietly, however, as Chainrai’s weekend statement intimated.

In fact, there is every expectation it could take a court room and judge to free the vice-like grip Portpin has over Fratton Park.

And don’t bet against one or two new faces emerging in the takeover saga in the coming days, either.

There’s a few twists left in the plot yet.

But Pompey fans are daring to look to the future and have had a glimpse of hope.

‘We’ll buy it ourselves,’ was their fervent weekend chant.

And now you’re gonna believe us.