Pompey 3 - Watford 2

Former Pompey defender Jason Pearce

Pearce: My Pompey return is a big one

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How fitting a topsy-turvy match should cap another topsy-turvy week in the history of Portsmouth Football Club.

There have been more ups and downs than a capsule rescuing Chilean miners over the past seven days.

One moment the club failed to exit administration after not satisfying football chiefs on four key points.

To stoke up the fires of despair, scaADVERTISEMENT remonger general Andrew Andronikou weighed in to predict it could actually fold within days.

The next minute – well 24 hours later to be precise – everything is fine and dandy and the Football League have actually relented.

As it stands, it could be as soon as tomorrow when administration is banished, along with the year-long registration embargo.

Talk about lurching from one extreme to the other for the put upon Blues faithful.

But on Saturday it was all about football. For once.

In Pompey’s own charmingly inimitable way, the visit of Watford was just as head-spinning.

Leading at the break through Hayden Mullins’ magnificent strike, the rejuvenation was gathering pace.

Then two goals in three minutes for the Hornets and Steve Cotterill’s men were staring at a 2-1 defeat.

Typically, matters were once again turned on their head when Dave Kitson and then Michael Brown struck to clinch a remarkable 3-2 triumph.

Back from the brink – it seems to be commonplace down Fratton Park at the minute.

Just when you think the old girl is done for, she only goes and rises up again with that admirable unconquerable spirit.

Write Pompey off at your peril.

For the past few weeks it has been nothing but good news on the pitch, off it matters finally appear to be rapidly catching up.

Many are suspiciously eyeing the return of Balram Chainrai post-administration to the club he placed into administration.

However, if Pompey are to progress, they need him to take over the reins, thereby bringing them out of administration and effectively sidelining Andronikou.

In turn, that should conceivably make it easier to sell up and be a more attractive proposition, with the likes of Rob Lloyd and Tom Lever still reputed to be hovering.

With Chainrai set to complete the ownership progress tomorrow or Wednesday, it is difficult not to see such developments as a positive.

It just remains to be seen how long it takes for him to sell it on, which remains the more likely end game.

Still, it was noticeable Chainrai, Levi Kushnir, Andronikou and the rest of their associates were nowhere to be seen at Fratton Park on Saturday.

Instead, David Lampitt was the notable figure in the directors’ box – an indication of things to come perhaps.

Regardless, it was business as usual for Cotterill’s men who have turned their season around magnificently.

And none more so was this apparent than for the visit of high-flying Watford.

Malky Mackay’s surprise outfit had picked up 13 points from a possible 15 on their travels as they headed to Fratton Park.

That consisted of an unbeaten away record which had formed the backbone to their charge up to fourth in the Championship.

There was a time earlier this season when the Blues struggled to hit the back of the net, let alone beat opposition.

Not any more as the buoyant Blues claimed another scalp in their impressive march up the league table.

They may have felt hard done by subsequent failures to beat Ipswich, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United.

Since then, however, the points have kept on coming, as have the goals with the corner appearing to have been well and truly turned.

On Saturday, Cotterill had to do without the injured John Utaka and ineligible duo Hermann Hreidarsson and newcomer Greg Halford, whose registrations have yet to be ratified by the Football League.

Not that it will matter soon with that cursed embargo set to be removed once the required paperwork to exit administration has been signed off.

It left the Blues with just four on the bench, with Nadir Ciftci promoted for his first start in any competition since August.

But these days, Pompey’s improved fitness ensures the bench is not quite the necessity it may once have been.

And sure enough, it was the hosts who claimed the victory with decisive goals in the last 18 minutes of the match.

In truth, Watford may feel aggrieved at the result of a match in which they demonstrated why they have enjoyed such an impressive start to the campaign.

A hard-working team full of endeavour, energy and young legs, they put Pompey under severe pressure during long periods.

In the second half, especially, Cotterill’s men found themselves under the cosh as they struggled to fight off the impetus created by substitute Michael Bryan.

It might be worth remembering the name, for the Irish youngster wreaked havoc with his skill and crossing ability upon his introduction on the right flank. The Blues had entered the break one goal to the good following Mullins’ spectacular 25-yard half-volley, which will be one of the outstanding goals Fratton Park will witness this season.

It was a rare moment of quality in an instantly-forgettable first half.

But the excitement level was raised immeasurably during the second period as the goals flowed.

Martin Taylor levelled on 67 minutes when he effortlessly nodded Jordon Mutch’s corner in from close range at the far post.

Barely three minutes later, Stephen McGinn finished Bryan’s right-wing cross from close range and Pompey were behind.

But on 72 minutes Kitson fired home the equaliser after David Nugent had been blocked. Then Brown steadied himself on 80 minutes to curl a precise right-foot effort into the far corner for the match-winner.

It was enough to send everyone home breathless in a match full of drama.

But this is Pompey, the soap opera which keeps us all glued and provides more than its fair share of heartache and joy in equal measures.

Thankfully, however, this week has suggested there is a happy ending in store. For this episode, anyway.