Pompey 3 Oxford United 0: Talking points analysed

Oxford United's Alex Mowatt missed his 63rd-minute penalty before getting sent off
Oxford United's Alex Mowatt missed his 63rd-minute penalty before getting sent off
Pompey celebrate after Rochdale concede an own goal to make the score 3-3. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

Rochdale 3 Pompey 3: they said what?

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Jordan Cross looks back on yesterday's 3-0 win against Oxford and assesses the main talking points.

On Our Way?

Joe Gallen walked through the wardrobe into Pompey’s Narnia.

And what the Blues’ assistant manager witnessed convinced him the possibilities are endless this season.

Of course, supporters know all too well how quickly the Fratton fun bus can accelerate into a hurtling juggernaut storming irresistibly to glory.

Ten wins and a draw from the final 12 games last season are etched in the club’ folklore, and pay testament to what can unfold when all this football club’s attributes are fully harnessed.

Gallen’s post-match demeanour after victory against Oxford spoke of a man who’d been given a glimpse of those assets working in tandem for the first time.

‘I’m just delighted to hear the crowd roar and cheers us like they did,’ Gallen enthused after the 3-0 win.

‘If we can get them believing, and I think that’s the case now, who knows where the season could end up?’

The fact Fratton Park bounced to the tune of ‘We’re on our way’ for the first time this season suggested Gallen may have a point.

Options Bolstered

It may have been his tussle with Alex Mowatt which hit the headlines.

But that shouldn’t be allowed to to deflect from the contribution of Nathan Thompson to a confidence-boosting win.

After four games and five weeks on the sidelines serving a four-game, the fromer Swindon man offered a powerful and reassuring presence in the middle of the park against Oxford United.

The cheers which greeted him being named the sponsors’ man of the match told of a support which had noted the benefit of his combative presence.

When joined by Gareth Evans after the restart, Pompey all of a sudden looked a steely and knowledgeable prospect once again.

With Brett Pitman leading the line again and helping himself to four goals in two games, the injection of experience is thoroughly welcome.

Oli Hawkins is set to further bolster options this week, with Stuart O’Keefe also soon expected back in the fray.

Those players returning could well have a galvanising effect on Pompey’s end-of-season form.

Pivotal Moment

It’s funny how games and, indeed, seasons can swing on a single moment.

There’s no doubt one of those arrived in the 63rd minute of the victory over Oxford United.

With his team in the ascendancy, Alex Mowatt had just smacked his penalty off the post, after Matt Clarke was penalised for a foul on Rob Dickie.

Nathan Thompson’s reaction prompted the U’s man to lash out, with the inevitable red card following.

Six minutes later and the game was effectively settled when Brett Pitman buried his finish, the pressure the visitors had been applying for much of the first half and second evaporating.

In eight games’ time we will be aware of what the moment will amount to.

There’s little doubt it was the turning point in an eventually comfortable win. We wait to see what it means to the season.