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Five Aside: Di Maria a skillful crosser

Five Aside 13 hours ago
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Sep 19, 2006

Anyone got a hanky? My nose is bleeding...

The Market Porter next to Borough Market was buzzing around 3:30pm on Saturday afternoon. Amongst the Market shoppers and tourists trying out the fare from the various wonderful stalls, several happy Pompey fans were clutching assorted ales and gleefully discussing the fact that, should Everton fail to win by two clear goals that afternoon, we'd be top of the league for a full 24 hours.

Topics varied as the beer flowed, but more of that later.

After dominating Charlton Athletic at The Valley for large parts of the first half, ably assisted by Addicks manager Iain Dowie lining up his team with a double helping of Bent and a side order of Hasslebaink, it seemed as if Pompey had blown their chance of an easy win.

Pompey created several great chances, none better than a Kanu header at the far post from some great wing work by Glen Johnson.

Going into the 2nd half at 0-0, I told a mate stood next to me that I really hoped Dowie kept it as it was, because we couldn't fail to win the match if he did.

Sadly, Dowie did shore up his midfield and Charlton had much the better of the 2nd half. But, as was discussed amongst the throng outside the Market Porter, this is new Pompey!

On came LuaLua to help us get our attack going again and within a few minutes, a low, hard, speculative shot bounced into the corner and the Charlton fans were silenced (well, they weren't exactly that loud in the first place, bless them) and apart from 3,700 odd Pompey fans going mad, I could imagine hearing a pin drop.

So, back to Borough and word was spreading that Wigan had held the Toffees 2-2 and we would enjoy being the fans of England's top side for at least 24 hours. Bloody marvellous. Mine's another Guinness.

A couple more Guinness' later and I really thought I'd better head home and prepare to watch Match of the Day, I was feeling worse for wear and a bit tired, but a bit of food and a quick nap and I'd be fine, so I set my phone alarm for 10pm after eating and collapsed on the sofa.

About 11pm I woke up with Martin O'Neill's face summing up their game. I swore several times as I'd missed nearly all of MOTD but did see the table at the end. I went to bed and set my alarm for 7:45am, I wasn't going to miss the re-run!

Sunday ended up being a long day, the wait til the Man Utd game seemed an eternity. Being bereft of SKY, I was glued to the radio and went mental when Arsenal scored. Pompey would be top, not just for 24 hours, but all week. Westwood and his gang could sing 'The table doesn't lie!' at Mansfield. Strange days indeed.


• If you have comments on this article then email the author Scott McLachlan.

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