Pompey Cruise To Shrimps Victory

Last updated : 18 August 2013 By Jim Bonner

Portsmouth won their first game of the season in style after deliering a first half hammering to ten man Morecambe at Fratton Park.

Pompey were dominant from start to finish and if there is to be any criticism aimed at Guy Whittingham's men then it would simply be that they should have scored more than three.

The home side had started brightly and had forced Morecambe's two right-sided players to be booked early on before taking the lead. Patrick Agyemang produced a lovely through-ball to Jed Wallace who chipped Andreas Arestidou for the first goal.

Morecambe's minimal attack managed to win a corner on 25 minutes but that led to a swift counter-attack which saw them fall two behind. David Connolly chested the ball in his own box and passed to Wallace who ran the ball down the pitch and passed it to Andy Barcham whose shot was blocked only for the loose ball to fall to Connolly who finished from a tight angle.

Any hope for Morecambe was soon extinguished when Andy Wright received a second yellow card for a foul on Barcham. Connolly should have added a third goal soon after but he couldn't direct his free header past Arestidou - a sitter for someone of his class.

However, it wasn't long before the third goal came as Connolly fed Agyemang and he curled the ball past the Morecambe keeper as it hit the post before crossing the line.

As the half-time whistle blew the fans inside Fratton Park were probably expecting a massacre but that never materialised in the second half due to a number of factors.

Morecambe predictably tried to shut up shop with the game beyond them and yet probably created more chances in the second half than they did the first.

Simon Ferry coming off seemed to disrupt Pompey's flow and when the team did look threatening they were denied by the linesman's flag time and time again. Agyemang also tried to be a bit too flashy and a bit too selfish when he had better options around him.

As a result, Pompey's best chance of the half came when substitute Ricky Holmes was millimetres away from beating the Morecambe keeper to a loose ball in the box.

But it didn't matter as the job was done in the first half and Pompey fans could go home feeling very happy with a fantastic first half performance and a first clean sheet of the season.

Spare a thought for the 113 Morecambe fans who made the long journey from Lancashire to watch what must have been a painful game for them. Whilst there may have been a few light-hearted jokes aimed their way for the size of their support it's safe to say they earned the respect of the Fratton faithful for their dedication to the cause.

It was also good to see that despite the opening day hammering at the hands of Oxford that not too many Pompey fans were turned off by that with 14,477 turning up for the game.

There is still work to be done but it looks like the players have finally clicked. The next two games will tell us a lot more of how the season is going to go.

A win at Mansfield will prove that Pompey are capable of winning away from home after having such a terrible record on the road in previous seasons and that's followed by the visit of Chesterfield to Fratton Park, who are arguably the strongest team in the division.

Pompey Player Ratings

Phil Smith: 6 - Nothing to do.

Yassin Moutaouakil: 6 - Not really tested.

Sonny Bradley: 7 - Snuffed out anything Morecambe had to offer.

Joe Devera: 6 - Solid showing.

Marcos Painter: 6 - Decent debut.

Jed Wallace: 7 - Performance would have silenced some critics.

Romain Padovani: 8 - Ran the midfield and looks a quality player now.

Simon Ferry: 7 - Pompey lost some rhythm when he came off.

Andy Barcham: 8 - Caused plenty of problems.

Patrick Agyemang: 8 - Instrumental despite second half selfishness.

David Connolly: 8 - Classy performance.


John Sullivan

Bondz N'Gala

Dan Butler

Danny East (Ferry 56): 6 - Slotted in seamlessly.

Ricky Holmes (Moutaouakil 67): N/A - Almost scored.

Tom Craddock (Agyemang 78): N/A - Needs some time to show what he can do.

Ryan Bird