Road rage continues for Toon fans
Lee Ryder reports from the South Coast
On a hot and sticky day at Fratton Park, Newcastle United fans set off for the second leg of the total 696 mile trip almost resigned to a season of only domestic football next season thanks to another road trip defeat.
There is a slim chance that this could change and Newcastle force their way into the Intertoto Cup once again - but only a mathematical one with the Euro visit to Alkmaar looking like the Toon's last for some time.
And the truth is, Portsmouth's crumbling Fratton Park could be the nearest thing to a continental away trip the Toon Army get next term.
It was hard to take for the travelling fans again on the South Coast though.
Years of miserable trips to Southampton may well be at an end these days but don't Pompey more than make up for it?
And although the majority of the South Coast pain we endured came at The Dell thanks to Matt Le Tissier and all of that, Fratton Park is an even worse venue that needs to be bulldozed as quickly as possible.
It's a second rate stadium and worse still - they have even get second rate stewards.
Not content with three points the worky ticket stewards opted to escort the Tyneside media away from the touchline at the end of the game - just as they were about to make contact with the United players to try to get some kind of reaction for the fans who made the long trip and require an explanation.
Thankfully in the end and to the credit of the likes of Nicky Butt, Nobby Solano and Steve Harper, they came out and faced the music elsewhere in the ground.
Meanwhile the Pompey stewards messed about in the dug-outs and pretended to be managers and sat in the seats usually taken by Harry Redknapp and Co.
It's easy to have a go at Fratton Park but it wasn't just the media who struggled to get comfortable at the Hampshire venue.
The travelling Toon Army must have counted their blessings with the fabulous facilities on offer at St James' Park these days compared to this place.
True, if the team was as good as the stadium, we'd be much higher up the table but at least United showed a bit of battling spirit at Pompey.
Benjani's opener came after Oba Martins and Craig Moore wasted chances and perhaps United were unlucky to go in behind at the break as the Toon number 9 watched his effort cleared off the line in first half stoppage time.
Gooch's poor clearance then resulted in a second but United and Andy Carroll, who came off the bench, really did give it a go.
All they got back was a pen from Emre, but perhaps a point would have been a fair result by the end especially given that Martins' header off the bar was typical of Newcastle's second half luck.
Nevertheless, Newcastle's away form has been terrible this year with just four wins from 17 and 11 defeats.
It's the reason United are where they are today and are struggling to finish in a respectable position.
Nice weather in Portsmouth, shame about the result, the stadium and the stewards.