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Awesome afternoon for Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth

Saturday 5th November 2011
It doesn't come around very often when my three local sides, Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth all record victories on the same weekend, so when they do happen, it's best to make the most of them!

16 games into the season (17 for Bournemouth), and this was the first time there were a trio of victories to celebrate for south coast football fans.

The most impressive win arguably came from Pompey, where two goals from Erik ‘the Viking' Huseklepp and a strike from Dave Kitson sealed a relatively straightforward 3-0 victory over Nottingham Forest.

Forest manager Steve Cotterill would have liked a swift successful return to Fratton Park, having left the managerial post just three weeks ago, but a rejuvenated Pompey and some abject defending ensured it was an enjoyable afternoon for Blues fans and a long journey back up north for Cotterill.

Both sides went into the match relatively low on confidence and being in the lower half of the Championship, needed three points to push themselves slowly up the league. It was Pompey though who secured the vital win and are now on 19 points, two clear of Forest and six ahead of the relegation zone, but also only six away from the play-off spots!

Meanwhile, Southampton remain five points clear at the summit of the Championship, having survived a Coventry comeback to record a 4-2 win at the Ricoh Arena.

First-half goals from Richard Chaplow and Adam Lallana meant it looked as though it would be another straightforward victory for Nigel Adkins' side.

However, an early second-half effort from boyhood Saints fan Lukas Jutkiewicz and a shot from Clive Platt levelled the scores at 2-2. Guly do Prado and Steve de Ridder struck though for the away side to seal an excellent away victory and keeps up their momentum at the top of the table.

Last but not least, Bournemouth secured only their second home win of the season, defeating Scunthorpe 2-0 thanks to goals from Scott Malone and Wes Thomas.

The victory lifts the Cherries up to 16th place in the table, on 19 points and gives them confidence going into an important match on Tuesday, when they take on Brentford for a place in the Johnston's Paint Trophy semi-final.

Pompey and Saints now have two weeks off due to the international break, and will look to use the time profitably.

For Pompey, this afternoon was most likely the final game in charge for the pairing of Guy Whittingham and Stuart Gray who stepped into the managerial hotseat on a temporary basis, which means the search for a new boss will hopefully come to an end sooner rather than later.

The favourite for now is Michael Appleton, Roy Hodgson's assistant at West Bromwich Albion. This would present a bold and risky choice, and only time would tell if it is the correct decision.

The Saints will simply look to recharge their batteries and carry on where they have left off. It could have hardly been a better start to the season and promotion to the Premier League is now a real possibility.

All three sides will seek to get as many points as possible going into the busy Christmas period. For the Saints, the big question will be whether they can remain at the top, while for Pompey and the Cherries, a good run and a push for the play-spots will not be unrealistic and who knows where that could take them!
Jonathan Low

Total articles: 3

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