After a 10am pitch inspection revealed that Portsmouth’s game at Accrington on Saturday would be beaten by the weather, it left many complications for the Blues as they headed 274 miles back down south.
Firstly, we cannot ignore the fact that three of the four the teams above Portsmouth all secured the three points on the weekend with Plymouth and Northampton leading the way on 55 points, Oxford on 48 and Bristol Rovers climbing to fourth on 46. The Blues currently sit fifth on 44 points, but have two games in hand over Plymouth and Bristol Rovers and one over both the Cobblers and the U’s. While wins here could essentially close the gap, the pressure is now on with no team showing any signs of faltering. Furthermore, psychologically seeing the gap to top spot now stretched to 11 points and dropping a position means the Blues are really going to have to keep their composure in these games in hand.
That’s another point which could scupper the Blues. There are now two away games which need catching up on, both of which will take place on a Tuesday night. After reaching the third round of the FA Cup, the game scheduled that weekend at Morecombe has had to be rearranged for early February. As it is, Portsmouth now have five games in the shortest month of the year so players will be hoping for no more to be scheduled that month.
However, with Accrington now needing five games rearranged, it is unlikely this one will fall so soon. It must also be mentioned that, should Pompey beat Ipswich in the FA Cup replay on Tuesday, another game will need to be rearranged as the fourth round tie against Bournemouth will fall on the same weekend as the trip to Barnet, another away fixture. Therefore, Portsmouth could be playing up to three games in a week on three separate occasions before May.
You must also feel for the fans in this situation. Several were left angry when the game was called off on Saturday despite the best efforts of the staff at Accrington. Many were asking why a decision was not made sooner if the pitch was as frozen as they made out on Saturday morning. Now that the game will be rearranged to a Tuesday night, you can question how many fans will be able to make the four-and-a-half hour journey and re-use their ticket.
There were also those that had paid for coach travel to Saturday’s game, and found out halfway up the motorway they were to be forced to turn around, some were stuck on a train and couldn’t get off until they were less than an hour from the ground, while others had driven and didn’t get the message until arriving at the stadium. There were also fans who had paid for a hotel the night before in order to avoid an early start the next day. At least they hadn’t travelled up on Thursday just as the players had done!
On the plus side, there will be lots of fresh legs for the FA Cup replay against Ipswich on Tuesday, which would set up a clash with Premier League new-boys Bournemouth. Let’s hope the rest on the weekend will pay off!