A Wasted Opportunity

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 28 February 2017

Portsmouth blew the chance to climb into the automatic promotion places in typical fashion after a frustrating 1-1 draw with Morecambe at Fratton Park.

Paul Cook's men paid for their profligacy in the first half and were denied on many occasions by Barry Roche who once again thwarted Pompey's promotion ambitions with some important saves.

The Shrimps keeper blocked goalbound efforts from Carl Baker, Gary Roberts and Gareth Evans whilst Eoin Doyle should have done better when put through one-on-one only to have the ball stolen from him.

The Preston loanee wasted another excellent opportunity when he headed Baker's cross wide from close range as the teams went into the break level, although it took a superb save from David Forde to prevent Aaron Wildig giving the visitors a half-time lead when he looked certain to score.

The second half started slowly with crosses into the box lacking any quality. The main talking point was the idiotic Scummer revealing himself in the Fratton End and receiving some beatings for his troubles before being turfed out by numerous stewards.

The game itself was brought to life when Kal Naismith was brought on for Kyle Bennett and instantly gave his team the lead with a long distance shot which, in honesty, Roche should have saved rather than seen it hit the bottom corner of the net.

Pompey pushed for the killer second goal but couldn't find it and then were hit with the suckerpunch following an injury to a Morecambe player. The defence switched off and a simple move saw the ball passed to Lee Molyneux who fired an angled drive into the far corner of the net.

A couple of desperate scraps in the box ensued in stoppage time as Pompey couldn't force the ball in and were forced to settle for a disappointing draw and a point that keeps them fourth in the League Two table.

A win would have taken Portsmouth into third place as Carlisle lost at Cheltenham. Plymouth also suffered a poor home defeat to Notts County and so what could have been a four point gap between Pompey and Argyle is now six.

Still, whilst tonight's result wasn't ideal, there is a huge opportunity for Paul Cook's men to either jump into third place and/or get within striking distance of Plymouth come Saturday. Crewe ae the opponents and they were battered 4-0 by Hartlepool tonight whilst the Pilgrims and the Cumbrians play each other.

Let's just hope Pompey hone their finishing before the weekend arrives.

Pompey Player Ratings

David Forde: 7 - An outstanding save in a match he had little else to do.

Gareth Evans: 5 - Got caught out of position at times and crossing was poor.

Christian Burgess: 6 - Has to shoulder some of the blame for Morecambe's goal following needless attempt at the ball, which allowed him to be bypassed.

Matt Clarke: 7 - Solid as usual.

Enda Stevens: 6 - Did a job.

Michael Doyle: 5 - Looked a bit off the pace at times.

Amine Linganzi: 7 - Unsure why Cook took him off late on when he had played better than his defensive midfield counterpart.

Carl Baker: 6 - Crossing was mixed but resorted to potshots in first half when better options were available.

Gary Roberts: 7 - Getting back to his best.

Kyle Bennett: 7 - A livewire throughout and was unlucky to be withdrawn.

Eoin Doyle: 5 - Missed two golden opportunities that a striker of his calibre should be putting away.

Substitutes

Liam O'Brien

Jack Whatmough

Danny Rose (Linganzi 79): N/A - Unsure why he needed to come on.

Kal Naismith (Bennett 63): 7 - Scored as soon as he came on and whipped in a couple of decent crosses.

Conor Chaplin (Baker 56): 6 - Tried to make things happen.

Jamal Lowe

Noel Hunt

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