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|Sat 20 Oct 1956 H Charlton Athletic 1 - 0 W||< Last Game||Next Game >|
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Manager: Eddie Lever
|Match Comments: 1 comments|
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|3 Mar 2011 Bart|
This was my fourth time at Fratton Park for a first-division match. Pompey were doing badly so far this season: won 2, drawn 3, lost 7. But Charlton Athletic stood even lower in the table. Good chance of a welcome win here!
‘Charlton used to have a chap called Hurst’ said my father; ‘He was good. I wonder if he’s playing today’. We went and stood behind the goal at the Milton End, then looked at the programme: yes, Hurst number seven for Charlton. Out Charlton came in their scarlet shirts and they made for our end of the ground for the pre-match warmup. Now where was their number seven? Oh. This was a bald, elderly man who should have been standing before a class in a schoolmaster’s black gown, rather than running about a field in shorts. (I have just checked the records; Hurst was 32 at that point. But already bald – indubitably!)
I don’t remember Hurst doing very much. It was a poor game. Being nine, moreover, I was too small to get a good view and yet too large to sit permanently on the shoulders of an adult.
Then it was a penalty for Pompey, at our end. We were exactly behind the goal, looking down. My Dad hoisted me up to see. The England international Peter Harris always took the penalties for Pompey in those days. Harris kicked the ball hard to our right, the goalkeeper’s right. The ball hit the base of the post, and by a strange chance rebounded straight back to Harris. He kicked it into the net. Goal! Exaltation! No, goal disallowed! The buzz of debate among the spectators went on for a while, but the referee’s decision was perfectly correct: Harris had kicked the ball twice; the fact that the ball had struck the post in between the two kicks was irrelevant. (In retrospect, it was unprofessional of Harris to touch the ball the second time. As the penalty specialist he should have been well up on all the relevant laws of the game. My recollection from that time is that Harris not only took all the penalties for Pompey, he also missed all the penalties too, but I can’t prove this.)
Surely Pompey had to win this one. If they couldn’t even beat Charlton at home .. .. ‘Look, Bart, we’ve got a corner, here’s a chance.’ My Dad hoisted me up to look across at the corner of the pitch over to our right. Pompey’s outside-left that day was Harry Penk. Harry Penk was short but stocky. Very stocky: almost as broad as he was high; with bulging calves and massive shinguards enclosed by the club’s traditional bright red, thick woollen socks. If Dickens had written a novel about football Mr Penk would have been in it. Harry Penk hit the ball high and very, very close to the goal line; it only just stayed in play. The players jumped for the ball up over the Charlton goalmouth, nobody could get to it, the goalkeeper may possibly have touched it with a fingernail, a gust of wind must have helped, and amazingly there was the ball in the net. Harry Penk was credited with the rare feat of scoring a goal direct from a corner. That soft goal was enough. Pompey won 1-0.
At the end of the season Charlton were in 22nd place, bottom of the table, relegated. Pompey finished 19th.
Harry Penk played only a few games for Pompey, but four years later he was to take another remarkable corner kick from that very same spot. See Portsmouth home to Southampton 1960.
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