Another Lancashire Loss

Last updated : 28 September 2016 By Jim Bonner

Pompey's woeful form up north continued as ghastly mistakes led to them being beaten 3-1 at Bloomfield Road despite an outstanding goal by Conor Chaplin.

An unchanged side started the game well enough with half-chances being carved out for Carl Baker and Michael Doyle but Dean Lyness was never really tested in the Blackpool goal.

The hosts then took the lead thanks to an error of judgement by David Forde as he came out to meet Jack Payne's free kick but got nowhere near the ball as Kelvin Mellor guided it into an unguarded net.

The hosts then took control as some sloppy play characteristic of Pompey's performance throughout the match gifted Kyle Vassell a run at goal only for his strike to hit the post rather than the back of the net.

Those Pompey fans who had made the long journey north and the few Tangerines who weren't boycotting the Oystons were treated to a spectacular equaliser as Danny Rose's shot was blocked and looped into the air only for Chaplin, surrounded by defenders, to produce an overhead kick that found the top corner of the net.

It was a special goal from a special player who surely won't be playing for Portsmouth for too much longer. Having said that, he did miss an early chance in the second half as his effort sailed so far wide that a throw in was awarded. He's not quite the God some fans make him out to be!

Again, a positive start was undone by some slack defending as Rose was easily robbed of the ball and the back four were caught out by a simple cross into the box that Forde failed to deal with, allowing Brad Potts an easy tap-in to restore Blackpool's lead.

Pompey again tried to build some momentum as Gary Roberts narrowly missed a diving header and Kal Naismith's free kick curled just wide. But the game was over shortly after as Tom Davies dallied on the ball and Vassell robbed him before racing forward and slotting plast the helpless Forde.

Paul Cook attempted to change things by bringing on Kyle Bennett, Michael Smith and Curtis Main but it was the hosts who always looked more dangerous and in the dying moments of the game Forde can count himself fortunate that he wasn't sent off.

Vassell bore down on goal again and the goalkeeper clattered him with the linesman signalling for a penalty. Referee David Webb (probably correctly) overruled him as he adjudged Vassell to have ran into Forde as the ball ran away from the Seasiders striker.

That was the last meaningful action of the match as a third defeat in Lancashire was confirmed as Pompey fans left the ground wondering how the same team that thrashed Barnet 5-1 just three days earlier could be so terrible on the night.

Perhaps there was some complacency in the minds of the players following that result? The performance was so sluggish that they could have been accused of being out on the town the night before and Blackpool took full advantage of that by not giving them any time on the ball whatsoever.

As mentioned in the preview piece on Monday, Doyle and Rose dictating the midfield play was key to winning this one but neither of them turned up last night, although that could be said for the majority of those in a black shirt.

The Tangerines pressed constantly and that ultimately resulted in their second and third goals being scored. They may have scored more and Pompey had no response to their desire to win the match.

Conversely, Pompey were too content to play the ball sideways or backwards far too often and when closed down, simply hoofed the ball up to Chaplin who was never going to beat the defenders around him.

They had started both halves well but all too often they failed to shoot and their overplay led to them giving the ball away. A moment late in the game where a simple throw in led to Roberts being flagged offside would highlight how frustrating Pompey were when trying to muster an attack.

Whlst his players let him down, Cook has to shoulder some of the blame himself as he failed to motivate his players and his substitutions made no sense as he took off Pompey's two best players on the night in Enda Stevens and Chaplin and the replacements made no impact.

Until the manager works out why his team continue to produce "Mr. Hyde" performances away from home then his team will never mount a serious challenge for automatic promotion. The next two away games at bogey team Leyton Orient and league leaders Plymouth aren't going to be any easier and so both Cook and his players need to buck their ideas up.

Pompey Player Ratings

David Forde: 4 - At fault for two goals and had a generally uncomfortable night.

Gareth Evans: 5 - Caught out too often.

Christian Burgess: 5 - Struggled when the ball was on the ground.

Tom Davies: 4 - Had a nightmare.

Enda Stevens: 6 - Best defender on the night.

Michael Doyle: 5 - Outbattled.

Danny Rose: 4 - Far too lax.

Gary Roberts: 5 - Corners were poor and had no influence on the game.

Carl Baker: 5 - Quiet evening.

Kal Naismith: 6 - Worked hard.

Conor Chaplin: 7 - Superb goal but was never going to win long balls pumped up to him.


Liam O'Brien

Matt Clarke

Amine Linganzi

Milan Lalkovic

Kyle Bennett (Baker 67): 5 - One wayward shot in a showing that otherwise offered nothing.

Curtis Main (Chaplin 84): N/A - Not given enough time.

Michael Smith (Stevens 78): N/A - Physical presence still not enough to win high balls.