Pompey Held By Stags

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 19 January 2014

Pompey are still looking for their first win of 2014 after a frustrating 1-1 draw with Mansfield at Fratton Park.

There was a minute's applause for former Pompey men Johnny Phillips and Albie McCann but that was to be the most celebrated moment of the afternoon before Ryan Taylor's equaliser.

Last week's goalless draw at Oxford was a poor affair and the first half of yesterday's game could match it in terms of how drab it was. The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock was when some good work from Jed Wallace and Marcos Painter down the left meant the ball found Patrick Agyemang in the box but his shot was blocked.

Mansfield didn't offer much going forward but weren't being troubled at the back very often either as Pompey's forwards were more comfortable holding the ball up for the midfield who lacked any attacking threat themselves.

The second half started in the worst possible fashion with Simon Ferry limping off with what seemed like yet another hamstring injury and then the visitors taking lead minutes later.

Pompey failed to clear multiple long balls from Mansfield and that led to James Jennings nodding the ball back across goal for an unmarked Lee Stevenson to score an overhead kick, having had plenty of time to adjust himself.

The Stags had a great chance when Wallace's poor pass went straight to Matt Rhead but Sonny Bradley blocked his goalbound effort. Wallace was taken off soon after to a smattering of boos from some of the more "vocal" Portsmouth fans.

Wes Fogden was also taken off having had a fairly good debut with Jake Jervis and David Connolly coming on as Barker decided to deploy a 4-2-4 formation in hopes of getting a goal back.

Connolly proved to be the difference as his quality turned the game in the hosts' favour. He forced a great save from Alan Marriott who tipped his strike against the post and then produced a perfect through-ball for Taylor who drove the ball into the far corner of the net at an angle for the equaliser.

Pompey took total control after the goal and penned Mansfield in their own half. Agyemang missed the best chance to win it as he mis-timed his swing when Nicky Shorey's corner came floating in and instead fell over having swiped at thin air.

Paul Cox's men were clearly happy to settle for a point by keeping the ball in the corner come stoppage time and in the end Pompey couldn't make their late dominance tell and had to settle for a disappointing draw.

A point each was probably the fair result, in honesty. Mansfield weren't great but Pompey didn't create many chances during the entire match to warrant winning.

That was partly due to a lack of pace and creativity in the midfield. The likes of Racon, Ferry and Shorey are good enough at protecting the back four but offer little going forward. Fogden's substitution was a surprise as he seemed to be the best player going forward with Wallace woeful once again.

Though despite his performance, he did not deserve to be on the receiving end of such abuse from certain sections of the crowd. People seem to forget he is only nineteen and is never going to be consistently performing well at that age despite his talent.

The sponsors obviously voted him man-of-the-match because they wanted to meet him. The announcement was derided by fans who then continued to shout more abuse from the stands, despite the fact that this "award" should never be taken seriously in the first place.

Jed's reactions to getting substituted and making mistakes in the last game show that he does care about the club but, on the other hand, if he is close to agreeing a move away it is best that he is dropped so the likes of Andy Barcham and Ricky Holmes can come into the side and make a difference.

Speaking of players who should be dropped, big Pat hasn't been his influential self for quite a while now and should be given a rest. It might be too soon to suggest that he's a spent force entirely but his partnership with Taylor isn't really working and the tall ginger lad could benefit from having Connolly playing alongside him again.

Overall, changes are going to be have to be made so Portsmouth look like a side capable of winning games rather than drawing them. Yesterday's result sees the club just two points and two places above the relegation zone, with Bristol Rovers having a game in hand.

Football League survival is no guarantee and it only takes a defeat to Morecambe next week for the worry to be cranked up a few notches.

Pompey Player Ratings

Trevor Carson: 6 - Not too much to do once again.

Daniel Alfei: 6 - Solid enough.

Joe Devera: 6 - Did a job.

Sonny Bradley: 6 - Probably at fault for their goal but made a crucial challenge later on.

Marcos Painter: 6 - Another consistent performance.

Nicky Shorey: 6 - Protected the back four adequately.

Simon Ferry: 6 - Limped off injured again.

Wes Fogden: 7 - Decent debut, got around the pitch a lot.

Jed Wallace: 4 - Poor again and probably needs some time out if he's not leaving.

Patrick Agyemang: 5 - A shadow of his former self at the moment.

Ryan Taylor: 7 - Nice finish and can hold the ball up. Doing well to shake off early "Kitson" tag.

Substitutes

Phil Smith

Bondz N'Gala

Johnny Ertl

Thery Racon (Ferry 49): 6 - Typically did well whentackling but poor when passing.

Andy Barcham

Jake Jervis (Fogden 68): 6 - Looks useful.

David Connolly (Wallace 68): 7 - Changed the game in Pompey's favour.

Portsmouth Match Reports


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