Rovers Snatch Victory At Fratton

Last updated : 13 February 2018 By Jim Bonner

Pompey's knack of conceding late goals haunted them once again as Blackburn pinched a late winner at Fratton Park tonight.

Rovers could have been ahead early on as Ben Close played a poor ball straight to the opposition but thankfully Luke McGee was quick to thwart Bradley Dack.

However, it didn't take long after that for the visitors to take the lead as Adam Armstrong finished the best attacking move of the half with the Pompey defence all at sea.

The hosts had a couple of good chances to equalise but Brett Pitman could only shoot straight at David Raya when he had beaten two defenders and then Gareth Evans Quashie'ed Dion Donohue's cross over the Milton End when he should have done better.

Blackburn almost scored a second goal on numerous occasions as it was clear that Kenny Jackett's men were up against one of the best teams in the division. Anton Walkes almost restored parity late in the half but his effort sailed just wide.

The equaliser arrived early in the second half when Walkes hooked Donohue's cross into the box and Conor Chaplin was there to head in from close range.

Pompey then almost took the lead when Raya and Ryan Nyambe collided as Pitman chased the ball down, but with an open goal to aim at, the striker missed the target. Nyambe was unable to continue and was stretchered off.

Both teams were then sloppy in possession as the half ticked on but despite a couple of dangerous crosses going into the box from both teams, it seemed like Pompey had done enough to earn a deserved draw.

However, once again a late goal was conceded although there was a stroke of bad luck about the winner as the ball into the box deflected off of Matt Clarke and Armstrong was there to tuck in the winner.

Lewis Travis was given a straight red card in stoppage time for a nasty late challenge on Nathan Thompson but Pompey were unable to make their numerical advantage count in the lengthy period of stoppage time and thus, were made to pay the price for conceding yet another late goal.

It was a frustrating way to lose the game but Blackburn were the best team to visit Fratton Park this season and it was clear to see that they have something about them that the also-rans in League One don't. Namely some expensive players who are too good for the division and a manager who knows how to get them playing.

Still, Pompey may have got a result but their attacking play simply has to improve. The 4-4-2 formation meant that Pompey's play flowed better but without a creative midfielder to link defence and attack, real chances were at a premium. Connor Ronan could have been that player and yet for some reason was overlooked.

Unfortunately the wingers didn't have much influence on the match and really needed to be quicker on the break. Jamal Lowe in particular should have been given more licence to roam down the left and cause some problems.

Pompey's striker conundrum also continues as it was difficult for Chaplin and Pitman to make the most of the service they were getting. Neither player is accustomed to winning long balls and holding it up and they need crosses coming into the box. But the full backs were the only players capable of that tonight.

Overall, tonight's performance certainly wasn't bad but all areas of the team need to be tweaked before it becomes really effective, and that might well take months rather than weeks.

The result sees Portsmouth drop a place to ninth and now four points off the play-offs. Next up are two very tricky away games which Pompey would do very well to take points from.

Pompey Player Ratings

Luke McGee: 7 - Some important saves once again.

Anton Walkes: 6 - Good going forward but struggled defensively.

Christian Burgess: 5 - Looked out of his depth against Blackburn's attack.

Matt Clarke: 7 - Stood out once again.

Dion Donohue: 7 - Easily has the best delivery in the Pompey team.

Gareth Evans: 5 - Another starting to look out of his depth at League One level.

Nathan Thompson: 7 - Proved he can play in the centre and mix it up.

Ben Close: 5 - Currently not good enough.

Jamal Lowe: 5 - Couldn't get into the game.

Brett Pitman: 5 - Striker of his calibre should have buried at least one of the chances he had.

Conor Chaplin: 6 - Scored but did little else.


Alex Bass

Sylvain Deslandes

Adam May

Connor Ronan

Kal Naismith

Matty Kennedy (Lowe 90): N/A - Needed to come on much earlier.

Oli Hawkins (Chaplin 85): N/A - Not enough time to make an impact as Jackett resorted to long(er) ball.