Pompey Beaten By Bantams

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 29 October 2017

Pompey fell to a third straight defeat yesterday despite a spirited performance against Bradford City.

The hosts were clearly the better team throughout the game but didn't heed warnings from the Bantams' set-pieces and ultimately paid the price late on.

Whilst neither goalkeeper was particularly worked in the first half, Pompey had the majority of the play with Kyle Bennett and Matty Kennedy missing the target. Romain Vincelot's header from a Tony McMahon free kick served as a reminder that Pompey still struggle to defend set-pieces.

The big talking point came in the second half as a misjudged header meant the ball was seized by Bennett and he looked certain to score when he rounded Colin Doyle only to fire into the side netting with an open goal at his mercy.

Bradford then almost broke the deadlock immediately after that shocking miss with an attack which once again ended with the defence failing to pick out the big man in the box although Charlie Wyke could only guide his header directly at Luke McGee.

Doyle made a double save from Ben Close and Kennedy whilst Christian Burgess' header hit the roof of the net. With all of those chances missed the more seasoned Pompey fans would have predicted the sucker-punch to come.

The goal was a result of a string of errors as the ball was lost cheaply in midfield which allowed Bradford to break. Dion Donahue then clumsily brought down Alex Gillead which led to an unmarked Matt Kilgallon heading in McMahon's free kick.

Despite some late pressure there was to be no equaliser but Pompey were applauded off for their efforts against one of League One's best teams. The Blues will surely not play that well again and lose.

Bennett has undoubtedly taken a lot of the flak for the result yesterday because of his wayward finishing. People who say "if Bennett could score he would top class" also need to remember that if Bennett could score then he wouldn't be playing for Portsmouth in League One.

It would be unfair to place all of the blame on Bennett when, Kennedy aside, none of the other attacking players really shone. The defending from crosses into the box simply must improve too as all of Bradford's chances came from headers from crosses out wide.

Burgess and Matt Clarke are hardly shrinking violets so how they managed to lose the biggest men on the pitch so often yesterday is simply down to poor organisation. Donahue continues to disappoint at left back, too, so hopefully McCrory will be available in the next couple of weeks.

Yesterday's showing may have been encouraging but the bottom line is that although Pompey played fairly well yesterday, the fact remains that Kenny Jackett's men have lost their last three games and none of them have scored in that time, either.

Whilst nobody really expects a relegation battle, a season of mid-table mediocrity is almost as bad as it brings a sense of indifference from parts of the fansbase and when the supporters struggle to care, it's difficult to regain that interest when it seems like this season is going nowhere.

Perhaps an F.A. Cup run is just what this campaign needs? Let's hope it doesn't end as soon as it begins on Saturday.

Pompey Player Ratings

Luke McGee: 7 - One outstanding save in an otherwise quiet match.

Nathan Thompson: 6 - Got stuck in.

Christian Burgess: 5 - A few lapses in concentration.

Matt Clarke: 6 - Solid for the most part.

Dion Donahue: 5 - Foul gave away costly free kick.

Ben Close: 7 - An improvement on previous performances.

Stuart O'Keefe: 6 - Solid enough.

Jamal Lowe: 6 - Had his moments.

Kyle Bennett: 5 - A day to forget when it came to his finishing.

Matty Kennedy: 7 - Continues to impress.

Brett Pitman: 6 - Linked up with the attack well but not much of a threat himself.

Substitutes

Alex Bass

Brandan Haunstrup

Danny Rose

Gareth Evans

Kal Naismith

Conor Chaplin (Bennett 67): N/A - Couldn't make an impact.

Ollie Hawkins (Donahue 86): N/A - Late switch didn't pay off.

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 18th November 15:00

Portsmouth 1 - 0 Southend United

Last game - Match Centre


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