Away Day Blues Continue

Pompey's miserable form away from home continued yesterday as they were comfortably beaten 3-1 by Tranmere at Prenton Park.

Andy Awford's men got off to the worst possible start after conceding inside just two minutes. A corner wasn't cleared properly which allowed Shamir Fenelon to stab the ball in from close range. How many times have the opposition scored from corners this season? It has been a problem that hasn't been rectified and needs serious work.

But how does that problem get solved? Perhaps Awford needs to bring in a defensive coach to get his team organised when defending inside their own box? Unfortunately the transfer window is shut now but when it reopens in January, signing a player with some leadership and organisational skills on the pitch has to be one of the top priorities.

There was further bad news in the first half as Jack Whatmough was injured yet again and had to be substituted off. This is becoming a common theme for the youngster and we can only hope that this is a result of being rushed back too quickly rather than something far more serious.

Marcus Bean had to have a shot saved by Owain Fon Williams but that was as good as it got for Pompey in the first half. Thankfully, I didn't go to this game but those who did told me it was one of the worst first half performances of the season and given the competition, that really is saying something.

The second half saw a minor improvement and an equaliser came when Jed Wallace scored a deflected goal on 57 minutes. How Wallace has come in for so much stick from the fans this is baffling given how that was his 11th goal from midfield this season. Yes, he can be frustrating but if he was so good then he wouldn't be playing for Pompey in League Two now, would he? Andy Awford is going to face a battle to keep him in January, you'd expect.

Unfortunately that equaliser was for nothing as James Rowe blasted Rovers back in front with a rasping shot that found the top corner. As good a finish as it was, the defending in the box again was atrocious with players just standing off their men rather than actually attempting to take the ball.

Having said that, attempting to take the ball in the box didn't work either as Tranmere were awarded a penalty for a push on Rowe by Wallace. Paul Jones saved Max Power's penalty but the Tranmere midfielder got to the loose ball first and looped it over the goalkeeper for their third goal.

It must be infuriating for Jones to put up with such a dire defence in front of him. Along with Wallace and Dunne, Jones is up there as one of Pompey's best perfomers this season but he has been let down time and time again by the disorganised rabble in front of him.

This dreadful away form must be giving Awford a real headache. Bringing in new players hasn't worked so what more can he possibly do other than change his side to play an ultra-negative, ugly style of football?

The result itself would usually be completely unacceptable given that Tranmere are terrible and are second-bottom in League Two but there just seemed to be an acceptance from Pompey fans that this was going to happen, especially given that Micky Adams hadn't won a league match and always had the better of Pompey during his Leicester days.

It's only the excellent home form which is keeping Portsmouth away from a relegation battle but if they're being beaten comfortably by awful sides away from home then promotion is simply a pipe dream.

Is mid-table mediocrity inthe bottom tier of English football good enough for Portsmouth Football Club?