Gaffer: Portsmouth's best atmosphere this season on a special Fratton Park night against Oxford United

Gaffer For A Day, Ian Piper, aged 61 from Southsea, delivers his verdict on Pompey’s 3-2 win over Oxford United...

Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 12:00 pm
Hayden Carter celebrates in front of the South Stand following his stunning strike against Oxford United. Gaffer For A Day, Ian Piper, named him man of the match. Photo:: Barry Zee
Hayden Carter celebrates in front of the South Stand following his stunning strike against Oxford United. Gaffer For A Day, Ian Piper, named him man of the match. Photo:: Barry Zee

What did you think of that atmosphere?

I’ve been to many a Pompey night game and that’s the best atmosphere we’ve had at home this season.

Whether that’s because it’s against Oxford and we are reacting to them bringing 1,370 rather than Fleetwood’s 106, I don’t know.

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But it was a fantastic night and when the players show passion, determination, and a bit of quality, the crowd responds. There’s a real connection.

It was the best Fratton Park atmosphere for a long time, a special night.

What’s your view of that performance?

Oxford visited Fratton Park as the form team and having scored lots of goals, but we produced our best 90-minute performance of the season.

Even though they scored after three minutes, our heads didn’t drop. While it wasn’t pretty for the opening 25 minutes, we kept going, which was the main thing.

There was passion, desire, determination, we were chasing and harrying, maybe because of what happened at Oxford. Perhaps we had a score to settle, but it was combined with quality

I was actually surprised Oxford tried to slow the game down after scoring, but the two goals just before half-time changed everything.

So, dare you dream?

It's the classic case of you start believing and then they let you down! I will let you know at the end of March whether we can make the play-offs.

If you can take points off the top teams then perhaps we can sneak into the play-offs. We have games in hand, so must remain positive.

As long as we continue to perform as we did against Oxford then there’s always hope. Every season a team rises from mid-table obscurity, so why not us?

Of course there are concerns over the size of the squad and sustaining that energy, but if they keep playing like Tuesday then we’ll be in with a chance.

Who was your man of the match?

It’s between George Hirst and Hayden Carter – with Carter getting it for the quality of his goal. It was a stunner.

Hirst was a very close second, though. He was aggressive, held the ball up well and we were playing it through him.

I’d love to see Carter back next season, whether it be loan or permanent. He’s so cultured, the sort of player we need.

We tend not to recruit very well in the January window, but Carter, Denver Hume and Aiden O’Brien have been high quality so far. Hopefully Tyler Walker can be a fourth.

Gavin Bazunu – 8

Hayden Carter - 9

Sean Raggett – 9

Connor Ogilvie – 8

Mahlon Romeo – 8

Denver Hume – 8

Louis Thompson – 8

Joe Morrell – 9

Marcus Harness – 8

Aiden O’Brien – 9

George Hirst – 9

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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