As we all know, the Christmas period is always very demanding on the football schedule. With lots of matches being played, there are lots of points to be picked up.
Before the weekend, Northampton Town had been victorious in their previous seven games and were unbeaten in 10 – a run which saw them last defeated in mid-October. Therefore, the three points that Paul Cook’s side salvaged at Sixfields on Saturday were made to look all the more impressive. Conor Chaplin’s last-gasp winner prevented the Cobblers from moving nine points ahead of the Blues in the race for promotion to League One.
After Pompey’s emphatic late winner against league leaders Northampton on Saturday, I thought I’d take a look back at the Premier League years and pick out a few results that caught the eye.
Portsmouth 2-0 Liverpool (December 19, 2009)
Christmas had certainly come early for the Fratton Faithful in 2009. An already miserable campaign had seen Portsmouth win just one of their previous seven matches prior to Liverpool’s visit. Rock-bottom of the Premier League and five points off safety meant that a result here looked unlikely with Liverpool desperately chasing a Champions League spot. However, the 20,534 spectators crammed into Fratton Park were not only stunned when Nadir Belhadj netted on 33 minutes, but were left with their jaws on the floor as he was joined on the score-sheet by Frederic Piquionne nine minutes from time. While this didn’t change the Blues’ position in the league, results went their way as they moved to within two points from safety.
Portsmouth 0-0 Arsenal (December 26, 2007)
Considering Portsmouth’s poor history against Arsenal, a 0-0 draw on Boxing Day in 2007 was very much accepted. With the Blues having lost 3-1 in September of that year, and recording previous losses of 3-0 and 4-0 against the Gunners just two seasons before, things were looking good for their trip to Fratton Park. However, a solid defensive display ensured Arsenal’s overwhelming possession didn’t count for anything as they dropped to second in the league; Portsmouth, on the other hand, remained in seventh.
Portsmouth 2-0 Everton (December 9, 2006)
A 45-yard wonder-strike from a very in-form Matthew Taylor ensured Pompey fans went home with an early Christmas present in 2006. Everton lost all hope after a clinical finish from Kanu 11 minutes from time confirmed the three points were staying at Fratton Park. Portsmouth were enjoying a fantastic season and the win here cemented their position of third in the Premier League, while the Toffees dropped just the one place to 10th as a result of their poor performance down south.
Portsmouth 2-0 Tottenham (December 26, 2003)
How could I fail to include this encounter! My only memory of the game is walking out as a mascot next to a certain Tim Sherwood, only for him to go down in the 79th minute with a broken leg which near enough ended his career. Nevertheless, the 2-0 victory for the Blues ensured they leapfrogged Tottenham in the table sending them out of the bottom three and up to 15th. As for Spurs, they were mid-way through an extremely below-par season and just one point off the relegation zone as a result of their Boxing Day defeat.