Pompey End Season With Draw

Last updated : 03 May 2015 By Jim Bonner

Portsmouth's worst ever league finish was confirmed yesterday following a 1-1 draw with York City.

The first half was mainly your standard end-of-season fare with neither side looking particularly threatening. That being said, Keith Lowe very nearly gave the visitors the lead early on with an overhead kick that struck the woodwork.

Paul Jones only had one meaningful save to make when Russell Penn's shot was pushed away whilst Conor Chaplin, making his first start for Pompey, had his shot cleared off the line.

Gary Waddock's men started the second half with purpose with Bobby Olejnik making a string of saves in the York goal to keep the scores level.

Jed Wallace forced a stop with a drive from outside the box and then struck the post with a similar effort soon after. Academy graduates Chaplin and Ben Close also forced saves from Olejnik whilst Adam Webster hit the post with a header.

Webster came close again soon after but Olejnik tipped his header over the bar having denied James Dunne minutes before.

It was going to take a well placed shot to beat the seemingly unstoppable York keeper and it came late on when Tubbs turned outside the box and lashed the ball into the bottom corner to give Pompey what some fans would have thought would have been the winner.

However, conceding late goals due to lapses in concentration has been one of Pompey's biggest problems this season and that proved to be the case again as almost immediately the Minstermem replied as David Halliday beat Dan Butler in the box and fired the ball past Jones into the far corner.

Wallace came off to a massive round of applause late on as he left the Fratton Park turf in a Portsmouth shirt for the last time. He will be playing in the Championship next season for another club, there is no doubt.

Bradley Tarbuck replaced him but there was to be no more action as the final whistle blew to confirm Pompey's worst ever league finish of 16th. There was a lap of appreciation afterwards, though not too many fans stayed behind to witness it after yet another poor season.

The match itself was more entertaining than it warranted given that nothing tangible was at stake. The second half, in particular, was the kind of football that we'll hopefully get to see on a far more regular basis next season under the new manager.

On balance of play, Pompey were the better side but York's goalkeeper played a blinder and it took a top quality finish to beat him. The Pompey team as a whole played quite well with some neat passing and they defended well as a unit for the most part.

As for individual performances, Adam Webster certainly looks more accomplished as a centre half and now all of a sudden looks like someone who is capable of playing alongside Paul Robinson next season in Jack Whatmough's absence. And when Jack does return, he could have some real competition for his place which can only be a healthy thing for Pompey.

Ben Close and Conor Chaplin also didn't look out of place. The former looks like he could be ready to break into the first team next season, perhaps as Wallace's replacement. The latter showed some good touches and looked a threat at times. He may need a little longer to develop yet but he shows some promise.

Johnny Ertl was also deservedly named man of the match for a solid performance which included a couple of important challenges and he also won more than his fair share of headers. He only has a year left on his contract but he will still make a useful defensive squad player next season.

Looking forward, everyone will be wondering who the new manager will be. Paul Cook is still the overwhelming favourite with the bookmakers although should Steve McClaren leave Derby for Newcastle as suggested, it may be that the Rams tempt the current Chesterfield boss with a more local job at a bigger club.

Whoever it is will have the difficult job of replacing Wallace (if that's possible at League Two level) and building a squad capable of acheiving promotion whilst managing the expectations of the fans. If they get it right, they could turn out to be the best manager this football club has had in years.

Not that they would have a lot to do to improve considerably on this failure of a season as it has truly been one to forget for far too many reasons. Roll on August.

Pompey Player Ratings

Paul Jones: 6 - Little to do.

Joe Devera: 6 - A typically steady performance.

Adam Webster: 7 - Finally showing his potential.

Johnny Ertl: 7 - Made some important challenges.

Dan Butler: 5 - Carries the majority of the blame for York's goal.

James Dunne: 6 - Average.

Danny Hollands: 6 - Need to see more from him next season.

Ben Close: 7 - Impressive performance. Kept hold of the ball well.

Jed Wallace: 7 - Unlucky not to score on his farewell match.

Matt Tubbs: 7 - Top quality finish for the goal.

Conor Chaplin: 6 - Didn't look out of place.


Michael Poke

Nicky Shorey

Wes Fogden

Adam May

Nigel Atangana

Craig Westcarr

Bradley Tarbuck (Wallace 88): N/A - Token sub appearance.