Pitman Penalty Pinches Pompey Point

Last updated : 20 August 2017 By Jim Bonner

Brett Pitman scored from the spot to ensure Pompey didn't lose on their own turf to Walsall yesterday.

The first half was a chore to watch with barely any action worth mentioning. Both sides had a couple of half-chances and Drew Talbot added to Pompey's growing injury list by limping off before the break.

The second half began in almost the same way as the previous weekend as Walsall took the lead just two minutes in and once again the goal came from a cross from the right with Brandan Haunstrup beaten before an unmarked Luke Leahy tapped in at the far post.

The visitors should have sealed the win when Amadou Bakayoko was through on goal only for Luke McGee to save his first effort. The Walsall striker then took too long to strike again, allowing Christian Burgess time to block it.

Pompey had barely posed a threat all match but were gifted an opportunuty to equalse when referee Brett Huxtable, who had a poor afternoon, awarded a soft penalty after Mark Gillespie brought down Nicke Kabamba. Pitman made no mistake from the spot by slamming the ball into the corner and all of a sudden the home side began to play.

Pitman was the man who had Pompey's best chances to claim what would have been an undeserved win but his curled effort from the edge of the box sailed just wide whilst an instinctive strike from Adam May's long ball into the box also missed the target.

Jon Whitney's men might have nicked all three points at the death when a counter-attack saw Pompey outnumbered, but the final ball into the box narrowly eluded the onrushing Saddlers striker and both sides had to settle for a point.

A draw was the best Pompey could have hoped for after a lacklustre performance. Walsall were probably the better side on the day although another referee migh have reduced their numbers for some bad challenges during the game.

This Portsmouth team is still clearly a work in progress and lacks leadership in midfield. Some Pompey fans need to practice patience with regards to our young players as they're going to make mistakes, as Haunstrup did for the opening goal yesterday, but how are the likes of him and May going to get better if they don't play? It's a catch-22 situation.

With Dion Donahue coming into the team next week you would expect either Haunstrup or May to make way for him which may strengthen the team in the short term but how else are these players going to get experience? A loan spell might work for May but Pompey can't afford to let Haunstrup go as he is the only real back up to play left back now Talbot is sidelined.

It would be stupid to blame this disappointing draw on the youth when it was the attacking players who failed to make an impact. Milan Lalkovic was anonymous against his former club, Kal Naismith may have been playing behind Pitman but had no effect there and really should be playing on the wing whilst Gareth Evans' threat was nullified when he had to move to right back when Talbot got injured.

Thankfully, unlike last Saturday, Kenny Jackett's substitutions worked as he brought on Curtis Main and Nicke Kabamba up front to give the Walsall defence something to think about. It wasn't pretty to see long balls pumped up to them but it did a job and it was Kabamba who ultimately won the (dubious) penalty.

The draw means Pompey have four points from three games so far this season before they head to early table toppers Wigan for a reunion with Paul Cook. That's still a better points total than after three games last season.

There could well be more arrivals before the trip to the DW Stadium and there will certainly be more to come from this Portsmouth team as the season progresses.

Pompey Player Ratings

Luke McGee: 7 - Made a couple of very important saves.

Drew Talbot: 6 - Solid again until injury.

Christian Burgess: 7 - Bailed his team mates out once or twice.

Jack Whatmough: 6 - A mixed afternoon for the birthday boy.

Brandan Haunstrup: 5 - Still learning but was again beaten too easily for the goal.

Adam May: 6 - Will hopefully get settled as season progresses, if he is given the chance.

Danny Rose: 6 - Steady showing.

Gareth Evans: 5 - Offered little going forward and should have been closer to Leahy whe he scored.

Kal Naismith: 5 - Faded quickly.

Milan Lalkovic: 4 - Anonymous.

Brett Pitman: 7 - Cool penalty and the only Pompey player who looked like scoring.


Alex Bass

Tom Davies

Ben Close

Kyle Bennett (Talbot 36): 6 - Offered some threat and worked hard.

Conor Chaplin

Curtis Main (Lalkovic 65): 6 - Gave Walsall defenders something to think about.

Nicke Kabamba (Naismith 65): 6 - Won the penalty and made his presence felt.