Pompey In Dour Dons Draw

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 15 November 2015

Pompey fans left Fratton Park frustrated once again as their team stumbled to a third goalless draw at home this season following a stalemate with AFC Wimbledon.

For anyone who hasn't yet watched the match and has it recorded, you may as well not bother and save yourself the hassle of watching this tedious snorefest with little goalmouth action.

The first half was especially drab as Pompey failed to register a single shot on target and created little due to some terrible passing and low quality deliveries into the box.

The visitors had an early goal correctly ruled out for offside whilst Ade Azeez hit the side netting late in the half but that was as good as it got for either side.

The second half saw a marginal improvement from Pompey with Marc McNulty forcing a save from Ben Wilson after he made space for himself to shoot but that was the best chance of this boring encounter.

Former Pompey skipper Paul Robinson headed a corner over the bar whilst Christian Burgess did the same at the other end of the pitch. Paul Cook attempted to change things by switching to a 3-5-2 later in the game but his players simply didn't click and were booed off by a number of people once the final whistle blew due to the match petering out into a bore draw.

It should be said now that the booing was stupid and the people doing it obviously have short memories. It was a dire game but it was still much better than the corresponding game on Boxing Day last season.

Those fans may also have been the advocates of Cook changing the system to 4-4-2 but on today's evidence that tactic totally failed as the players struggled to build chemistry which led to so many passes going astray.

Perhaps the biggest concern is the lack of creativity in midfield. Adam McGurk and Gareth Evans were being closed down too quickly to have any kind of impact on the game whilst Michael Doyle and Danny Hollands do not have the guile or imagination to make something happen in the middle of the park.

Given how out-of-sync Caolan Lavery and Marc McNulty were up front it will be interesting to see if Cook writes off this "experiment" immediately and returns to his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation or if he sticks with it to see if the pair can work together and score goals.

The manager has to come up with something as his side are currently far too predictable and sluggish on the ball. It's almost like Andy Awford has secretly returned and possessed Paul Cook's body given the current standard of football being served up at Fratton Park and that will not win promotion come the end of the season.

Still, some perspective is warranted here. The end of the season is still 29 games away and thus there's still plenty of time to get it right. Being in fourth place in League Two after 17 games is hardly reason to worry, either.

But some entertaining (and winning) football would be nice.

Pompey Player Ratings

Brian Murphy: 5 - Distribution was poor.

Ben Davies: 6 - OK defensively but crossing not up to usual standard.

Christian Burgess: 7 - Marshalled the Dons attack well.

Adam Webster: 5 - Lost the ball too often.

Enda Stevens: 7 - Went about his business effectively.

Gareth Evans: 4 - Barely in the game.

Michael Doyle: 6 - Average performance.

Danny Hollands: 5 - Needs to do more.

Adam McGurk: 5 - Little influence out wide.

Caolan Lavery: 5 - Potential partnership with McNulty needs work.

Marc McNulty: 6 - Occasionally looked a threat.

Substitutes

Alex Bass

Matt Clarke (Evans 58): 6 - Slotted in fine.

Rommy Boco

Nigel Atangana (Lavery 79): N/A - Perhaps should start next match in place of Hollands.

Ben Tollitt

Kyle Bennett (McGurk 66): 6 - Tried to make things happen.

Conor Chaplin

Portsmouth Match Reports


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