Dreadful Pompey Beaten By Alex

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 05 March 2017

Pompey once again blew the chance to move into third place in League Two thanks to a truly terrible performance against Crewe at Fratton Park yesterday.

The visitors deserved their 1-0 win after a game that will be near the top of Pompey fans' lists of "worst Portsmouth performances ever" and the boos and chants of "what the fucking hell was that!?" at the final whistle were well and truly justified.

Not even the most optimistic Pompey fan could find anything positive to take from yesterday's shocking showing apart from "at least it was only one" as comparisons were drawn to the darkest days of Pompey teams past under Richie Barker.

Only David Forde, who produced an excellent save right at the start of the match, and Enda Stevens, who hacked a couple of balls off the line to spare further embarrassment, could come out of the game with any little credit.

But even then, the former was slow to distribute and lacked communication with the men in front of him whilst the latter struggled to have any influence on the game going forward after an initial early spell that saw his cross headed wide by Eoin Doyle.

Pompey's only other attempt in the first half came when Gary Roberts curled a free kick just over the bar but both teams were dreadful in possession and neither looked like threatening the opposition's goal.

The same could be said of Paul Cook's men after the break as they failed to muster a single shot on target, whilst Crewe improved and executed their game plan perfectly.

Callum Cooke found the side netting from close range and Stevens blocked another off the line but the attack that followed ended with a goal as George Ray headed a cross into the far corner of the net to leave Pompey fans enraged.

There would be no reaction to that goal as clueless Pompey couldn't find a way through a defence that conceded four goals to Hartlepool on Tuesday.

What a difference a week makes in football, eh?

Last Saturday Pompey fans were rejoicing after a deserved win at Carlisle with the top three in their sights but to only take one point from two fixtures which should have yielded six is nowhere near good enough.

The draw with Morecambe wasn't so bad as Pompey created enough chances in that game to win it three times over but yesterday's performance was simply disgusting and many of the players have to ask serious questions of themselves.

The effort simply wasn't there and it stinks of arrogance that some players think they could just turn up and beat Crewe without even trying. They aren't as good as they would believe.

Cook has told the press in the past that there could be an attitude problem in the dressing room and that really showed on the pitch. Christian Burgess has been one of Pompey's best players this season but his performance yesterday was woeful.

Michael Doyle is supposed to be the captain and lead by example but he was either extremely lazy or his legs have gone. Fans at Fratton Park will struggle to recall a pass to a blue shirt from him but he wasn't helped by the three players in front of him that lacked any kind of movement or creative thinking.

Fans will also be questioning if Eoin Doyle is any improvement on Michael Smith (who scored for Northampton and was named their man of the match) because he can't take the chances he is given and a striker of Championship calibre should have more than just a single goal in the games he has played.

Every player needs to be reminded that playing for Portsmouth doesn't mean you've "made it" and the fans rightfully expect at least 100% effort in every match played. They should also remember that if they cannot get this football club promoted then they'll be labelled as a bunch of failures before moving on, no doubt.

The same goes for Paul Cook, also. He knows the consequences of failure but he seems to have lost the plot and possibly even the dressing room. When he brought on Chaplin for Linganzi, nobody seemed to know what formation they were supposed to be playing or what they were supposed to be doing.

The manager will have some serious thinking to do before Tuesday's match at Crawley. It would also be a good idea to stop praising the opposition in post-match interviews (regardless of trying to hide your own team's failings) as it just riles the supporters more.

If there's one lesson that can be learned from yesterday's atrocity, it's that teams can bounce back from utterly abject performances. Crewe are the perfect example of this having been thrashed on Tuesday and then followed that up with their best result of the season.

Hopefully yesterday's result will give the Pompey players the kick up the arse they need and they can atone for that dreadful performance with a couple of wins on the road where they won't feel the pressure of playing in front of 16,000 expectant fans.

But for now, the Pompey fans will remember one of the worst matches in the recent history of our famous football club.

Pompey Player Ratings

David Forde: 6 - One excellent save but still sluggish with distribution.

Gareth Evans: 5 - Constantly caught out of position.

Christian Burgess: 3 - All over the place.

Matt Clarke: 4 - Defensively OK but hoofs upfield were of no help.

Enda Stevens: 6 - A couple of crucial goal-line blocks but struggled to support the attack.

Michael Doyle: 3 - Inexcusable performance from the captain.

Amine Linganzi: 6 - Looked solid until injury.

Kal Naismith: 4 - Wasteful on the ball.

Gary Roberts: 4 - Anonymous after his free kick.

Kyle Bennett: 5 - Tried to make things happen but constantly closed down.

Eoin Doyle: 4 - No service but no quality, either.

Substitutes

Liam O'Brien

Tom Davies

Danny Rose

Carl Baker (Bennett 63): 4 - No impact.

Conor Chaplin (Linganzi 50): 4 - Never in the game.

Jamal Lowe

Noel Hunt (Roberts 79): N/A - Needed more time.

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 18th November 15:00

Portsmouth - - - Southend United

Last game - Match Centre


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