Bore Draw Stops The Rot
By Jim Bonner
Updated Wednesday, 13th February 2013
Hartlepool United 0 Portsmouth 0
Portsmouth have a new club record of twenty games without a win but did avoid a second record of ten consecutive defeats after a drab goalless draw at Victoria Park.
The first half was one of the most uneventful halves of football you will have ever seen. This truly was a match between the two worst teams in the league with no real chances created barring a couple of wasted set-pieces from the home side.
A James Keene strike that was routinely saved by Pools keeper Scott Flinders was about as exciting as it got for the 280 travelling Pompey fans before the break.
There was little improvement in the second half as Pompey started better but barely threatened the Hartlepool goal. It looked like Guy Whittingham had his players set up not to concede by playing a 4-5-1 formation, which, to its credit, did its job for most of the match to the ire of the home crowd.
The last ten minutes saw the hosts up the pressure but they could not take advantage of the corners they were given or stab home a loose ball in a crowded box.
However, the visitors may have had a major let off when the home fans screamed for a handball in stoppage time. The incident couldn't be seen at the other end of the ground where the Pompey fans were but others were adament that Sam Sodje handled.
Not that it mattered too much in truth. Both teams were so poor going forward that a draw was the right result in a game lacking in quality.
I still can't understand why the management continues to make changes to a team that cannot settle as Moutaouakil, Akinde and Gyepes dropped for Sodje, Wallace and Keene.
Whilst those changes suggested that Pompey were going to attack, I don't remember a single good chance for the men in orange during the entire game. With nothing to lose given the club's status, I'd have thought we would have gone for the win.
And what does Liam Walker have to do to get a run in the team? He is the most talented player in the Portsmouth squad and yet it would seem he has more chance of being named as the next Pope than playing two consecutive matches for Pompey right now.
Still, the meagre consolation having travelled up and down the country to watch that tripe is that Pompey didn't lose and therefore avoided the embarrassment of a tenth straight defeat and being replaced at the bottom of League One.
Let's hope some more attacking intent can be shown on home turf against Carlisle on Saturday so there is actually a chance of ending this record breaking run of twenty games without a win.
Pompey Player Ratings
Simon Eastwood: 7 - Did well to claim everything and smother loose balls.
Shaun Cooper: 6 - Did the basics well.
Ricardo Rocha: 6 - Blocked most things.
Sam Sodje: 7 - A major improvement on Scunthorpe showing.
Dan Butler: 6 - Solid but corner delivery was poor.
Johnny Ertl: 7 - Got his body in the way and worked hard as always.
Therry Racon: 6 - Tried to make something happen but couldn't.
Jed Wallace: 5 - Not really in the game.
Adam Reed: 5 - Wasteful in possession.
James Keene: 5 - Rarely threatened.
Patrick Agyemang: 5 - Struggled to keep the ball with little support.
John Akinde (Agyemang 74): N/A - Barely touched the ball.