A Dire Day For Pompey

Pompey suffered their fourth league defeat of the season after losing a terrible game of football to Blackpool at Fratton Park with Chris Long scoring the only goal of the game.

Kenny Jackett has described the first half as a non-event and that would be accurate from his team's point of view as they didn't muster a single noteworthy chance.

Blackpool weren't much better although could have taken the lead late on when Nathan Delfouneso turned Donervon Daniels' cross over the bar. There were a couple of half-chances for the Tangerines before that but the Fratton End goal was barely threatened and unsurprisingly the score was goalless at the break.

The second half was slightly better, but only slightly. A couple of crosses from Ronan Curtis and Jamal Lowe across goal were too heavy whilst Andre Green's air kick summed up the quality of such a turgid match.

Blackpool then decided to make a rare attack and made it count, as Armand Gnaduillet flicked on a cross for Long to strike the ball past the helpless Craig MacGillivray after Dion Donohue lost his man.

Pompey pressed for an equaliser but Brett Pitman's header from Anton Walkes' cross was straight at keeper Christoffer Mafoumbi who then made his only meaningful save soon after by palming away Matt Clarke's effort.

That was it for the Blues as their worst performance of the season was confirmed and a huge opportunity to take a commanding lead at the top of the table after Sunderland and Luton drew was blown.

Anybody who has supported Portsmouth for a number of years should have seen this result coming. To go seven points clear at the top of the table would be too easy and if Pompey are going to win League One/promotion, then they're going to do it the hard and excruciatingly painful way.

As for yesterday's match, it was certainly as turgid as everyone who had the misfortune of watching it has said. Much like last season's corresponding fixture, a poor Blackpool team won by default because Pompey were clueless going forward and the midfield couldn't get a hold of the game.

Still, let's look on the bright side. At least this time around it was only a 1-0 defeat rather than 2-0 and at least the first shot on target came in the 85th minute rather than the 94th, so there has been an improvement there.

On a serious note, the only mild positive to take from the match yesterday was that Andy Cannon looked bright at times when he came on. However, when Matt Clarke is the best player on the pitch at the back AND going forward, then something is clearly wrong. Louis Dennis must be wondering what he has to do to get a shot at League One football after he was overlooked once again.

As everyone knows, it was crystal clear yesterday that the team missed Ben Thompson's energy as Gareth Evans was sluggish in his role whilst Green made no impact at all playing in the "number ten" role vacated by him.

Oli Hawkins is also proving to be a bigger miss than some people thought as Pitman, for all of his trying, simply doesn't suit the system but he had no service from either winger with both Curtis and Lowe deciding to pick yesterday as an off-day.

Bryn Morris' arrival from Wycombe might do something to change the dynamic of the midfield but Kenny Jackett needs to find that winning formula again quickly as Pompey have now lost three out of their last seven games.

Although Sunderland and Luton did Pompey a solid by taking points from each other, Barnsley and Charlton are building momentum and cannot be ruled out of the automatic promotion race. A defeat at Oxford next week for Pompey will have fans very worried that the wheels are coming off much like they did in January last season.

At least we could be celebrating a Checkatrade Trophy win in March!

Pompey Player Ratings

Craig MacGillivray: 6 - Little to do.

Anton Walkes: 6 - Didn't do much wrong.

Matt Clarke: 8 - Easily the best player on the pitch.

Jack Whatmough: 7 - Solid for the most part.

Dion Donhoue: 5 - Lost his man for the goal and trademark delivery was missing.

Tom Naylor: 7 - Won most of his battles.

Gareth Evans: 4 - On this showing, not a defensive midfielder.

Ronan Curtis: 5 - Tried but ultimately shut out.

Andre Green: 4 - Air shot summed up his poor performance.

Jamal Lowe: 4 - Worst showing for quite some time.

Brett Pitman: 5 - Ineffective.

Substitutes

Alex Bass

Christian Burgess

Brandan Haunstrup

Adam May

Andy Cannon (Green 64): 6 - Solid debut but nothing more.

Louis Dennis

David Wheeler (Evans 75): N/A - No influence either yesterday or throughout the season.