Pompey Held By Stanley

Last updated : 11 August 2013 By Jim Bonner

A much improved performance at the Crown Ground saw Portsmouth take their first point of the season in a game they really should have won.

Pompey struggled to get going initiallyand Stanley might have had the lead in the very first minute as Marcus Carver headed Nicky Hunt's cross wide from close range. Kai Naismith also curled an early free kick over the bar to give the 1,001 travelling fans a scare.

Guy Whittingham's men grew into the game and Sonny Bradley's header from a corner was cleared off the line by Michael Liddle.

Patrick Agyemang then had a hat-trick of chances to put Pompey ahead. The first came when Andy Barcham squared the ball to him but he could only skew the ball wide.

The second was an overhead kick which was comfortably saved by Ian Dunbavin but the third was his big chance as he played a one-two with David Connolly but could only smash the ball straight at the Accrington keeper who gathered at the second attempt.

Pompey ended a scrappy first half on top as Barcham went on a mazy run from his own half but was denied by Hunt on the line.

The second half was a much better affair that opened with a goal that has divided opinion between fans who were at the match and those that have seen it on TV.

From the stands, it looked like Peter Murphy's 30-yard-lob over Phil Smith was a fluke and supposed to be a cross. However, having seen the replays, they suggest that Murphy fully intended to do what he did.

Accrington should have doubled their lead moments after but Bradley was there to clear Michael Richardon's shot off the line.

The visitors finally got a foothold in the game and equalised after Romain Padovani's excellent cross was headed on by Agyemang to the feet of Connolly who prodded the ball home from close range.

Pompey then took complete control of the game and had so many chances to double the lead. Padovani's long range strike was well saved, Barcham hit the side netting and there was a blatant handball from Rob Atkinson that every Pompey fan from behind the goal could see yet referee Eddie Ilderton failed to give the penalty.

He did give Pompey a spot kick later on when first Agyemang was tripped and then Connolly was brought down by Hunt. If the penalty was given for Hunt's foul then he should have been sent off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Connolly's spot kick was ice cold, giving Dunbavin no chance as the ball was slotted in the very corner of the goal to give Pompey a deserved lead. Unfortunately the team sat back after that and couldn't hold on to that lead.

The defending for Accrington's equaliser was collectively poor. Nobody closed down Tom Aldred who crossed the ball over a flapping Smith to an unmarked Murphy who headed home from point blank range.

There was still time for Pompey to win the game with five minutes remaining as Barcham hit the post and the rebound from Connolly was saved by Dunbavin. Substitute Ryan Bird fired over the crossbar in stoppage time after some good play as Pompey had to settle for a draw.

As said before, this is a game that Pompey should have won simply for the amount of chances they created. The defending had improved despite a few dodgy moments and the second goal conceded was criminal.

But unlike the previous two games where the opposition goalkeeper was hardly tested, it can be seen as a major positive that so many chances were created yesterday, albeit against a poor side that were inspired by a very good goalkeeper.

Pompey fans may need to remind themselves that the players in this team are largely still learning to play together as a team. It was no surprise to see Connolly and Agyemang work so well given the extra time they've had playing alongside each other but the midfielders need time to read each others games and the defenders will need time to iron out problems.

The main positive is that we are continuing to improve as a team and so long as that keeps happening then a first win is only around the corner, hopefully against Morecambe on Saturday.

Pompey Player Ratings

Phil Smith: 5 - Might take the blame for both goals but that blame should be shared.

Yassin Moutaouakil: 6 - Much improved on Oxford debacle.

Sonny Bradley: 7 - Stood out.

Joe Devera: 6 - Finding his feet now.

Danny East: 6 - Seems to be taking some criticism but was generally solid. Likes a challenge!

Jed Wallace: 5 - Not replicating the performances of last season.

Romain Padovani: 7 - Looks like he's settling in nicely.

Simon Ferry: 6 - Industrious.

Andy Barcham: 8 - Always dangerous and deserved a goal.

Patrick Agyemang: 7 - Good all-round play but really should have scored.

David Connolly: 8 - Clever play instrumental in scoring the two goals.


John Sullivan

Bondz N'Gala

Dan Butler

Ricky Holmes

Ashley Harris

Tom Craddock

Ryan Bird (Agyemang 88): N/A - Late "target man" switch but wasted late chance.