So the second and last South Coast derby of the season came round this Saturday and unlike the previous incarnation the dubious yet clever title ‘El Clasicoast’ was far more fitting this time round.
Of course, both sets of fans completely out-sung each other again, neither hearing a peep out of the other “until they scored” but on the pitch a better example of a rip roaring rivals clash you will struggle to find.
Flying tackles and handbags were the order of the day for the first twenty minutes as both sides tried to impose themselves physically on the occasion, and it was soon clear that the form book and league table were going to be irrelevant to the final outcome.
It was Saints that drew first metaphorical blood (Schneiderlin was the first physical victim), when Billy Sharp smartly finished after Rickie Lambert (Was he even playing? Japed my Pompey chums after the game.) cushioned the ball down from a corner.
It didn’t take Pompey long to get back level though, Chris Maguire hitting a screamer to silence the already silent home fans.
Level at the break and neither side could have many complaints, Michael Appleton perhaps the happier boss, his tactical decisions working well to stifle the potent Saints attack.
After the break, it was Pompey that came out of the blocks quickest, but Saints rode the storm and took control for a decent period. Jamie Ashdown then kept the scores level with great saves from Lallana and Fonte respectively.
Lallana was then viciously taken down in the box by Ashdown when clean through as Saints pressed.
Eventually though it was another corner that undid the visitors, Billy Sharp again getting on the end of it. Then it was given offside. Then it wasn’t. I am reliably informed by fans of both sides that it was definitely on and offside.
“Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over….. It is n… Oh wait.”
Four minutes into stoppage time, how much of which was added on due to some of the over zealous celebrations only the ref will know, David Norris volleyed the scores level at 2-2 to seal the victory for Portsmouth and take all three points back along the M27.
Amongst the celebrations Ricardo Rocha intentionally tried to kill a fan by smashing the ball into the crowd and seemingly all memory of the game was lost. Of course, both teams deserved to win, both are crap and Saints certainly will/won’t get promoted and Pompey obviously will/won’t survive.
In a true show of neighbourly spirit though, the fans of Southampton lined the streets to wave off the 3,033 Pompey fans and one traumatised local journalist, shaking and tightly clutching his bag of sweets as they rode their victory bubble back to Fratton…..
To end this on a serious note, it was a fantastic game, a great spectacle and a fair result. It might be the last one for a long time. Let’s hope it isn’t the last one ever.