Pompey Frustrated In Sussex

Last updated : 19 August 2015 By Jim Bonner

Portsmouth had to settle for a point at the Broadfield Stadium having failed to break down a negative home side who were content to play for a draw for the entire match.

Pompey dominated possession for the whole ninety minutes but failed to create too many clear cut chances. Nigel Atangana produced an excellent through-ball early on for Matt Tubbs and he really should have scored rather than strike the ball straight at Freddie Woodman.

However, despite seeing a lot of the ball, the visitors' attacks would often peter out due to the attackers being crowded out by the Crawley players which meant having to pass the ball back to the defenders. Matt Clarke probably had the ball more than the entire Crawley team as he looked to begin another attack that would end up coming to nothing.

The second half followed a similar pattern with the hosts pinned in their own half but doing enough to force Pompey to play the ball backwards or break down an attack.

However, there was a controversial moment during the later part of the game when Atangana again sent Tubbs through on goal and the former Red Devils striker lifted the ball over Woodman and into the back of the net only to see his celebrations cut short by the offside flag being raised. Paul Cook believes that the goal should have stood and from where I was standing in the ground he certainly looked onside to me.

The offside flag would continue to thwart Pompey in their search for a winner as forwards mistimed their runs or were caught out of position, much to the frustration of the travelling fans.

There was almost the ultimate sucker-punch at the death when Lewis Young broke away from the Pompey defence only for a combination of last-ditch defending and goalkeeping to prevent the ultimate injustice from occuring as apart from that moment, Portsmouth were never in any danger of losing this match.

It's a shame that they couldn't win it but their football in the second half wasn't incisive enough to break their stubborn hosts down and you know that there will be plenty of other teams who attempt to emulate Crawley's tactics throughout the season and that's something that Paul Cook and his men will have to learn to overcome.

It speaks volumes when the home supporters are celebrating the result as if they had just won the match and so that is something Pompey fans can take heart from. On the other hand, Andy Awford's side began last season with two wins and a draw from his first three league games having also dumped higher league opposition out of the League Cup, so perhaps we shouldn't be reading too much into this positive start to the new season just yet.

Still, with Morecambe coming to Fratton Park on Saturday there's a good chance that last season's start can be surpassed so long as there is no repeat of tonight's frustrating endeavour.

Pompey Player Ratings

Brian Murphy: 6 - Virtually nothing to do.

Ben Davies: 6 - Looked solid until he came off with a hamstring injury and will now need to be replaced for Saturday.

Christian Burgess: 8 - Very comfortable defending and won every physical battle.

Matt Clarke: 7 - Decent defending but resorted to hoofing the ball too often.

Enda Stevens: 7 - Another solid showing.

Michael Doyle: 7 - Didn't give Crawley's midfielders room to breathe.

Nigel Atangana: 8 - Bossed the midfield and put Tubbs through on goal twice.

Gareth Evans: 5 - Wasteful.

Gary Roberts: 6 - Tried to create things but was often forced backwards.

Kyle Bennett: 5 - Never really in the game due to being crowded out.

Matt Tubbs: 6 - Should have buried his first chance but his goal probably should have stood and he had little service to work with.


Paul Jones

Adam Webster

Brandan Haunstrup

Danny Hollands

Adam McGurk (Davies 52): 6 - Posed a threat but needs time to settle into the team.

Conor Chaplin (Bennett 81): N/A - Maybe should have been brought on earlier to try and unlock the Crawley defence.

Jayden Stockley (Tubbs 81): N/A - Could have done with more time to make an impact.