Sky Blues Create Dark Cloud Over Fratton

Last updated : 12 April 2011 By Jim Bonner
Lacklustre Pompey fell to a heavy defeat at Fratton Park as Coventry completed a league double courtesy of two Marlon King penalties either side of a Gary McSheffrey header.

If you thought the Preston game last Saturday was bad, then you'd have been forgiven for not turning up to this atrocity with the players seemingly on their holidays already.

The same could be said for the crowd at the start of the match as Fratton Park was as sombre as I've heard it for a long time. You could clearly hear the managers shout from the touchline, that's how quiet it was.

The noise level was raised when Danny Webber, starting the match in place of David Cotterill, blazed the ball over the bar after Dave Kitson provided him with a perfect through-ball.

However, the visitors took the lead on 19 minutes when Ricardo Rocha clearly brought down McSheffrey in the box and Marlon King scored his first spot kick of the night.

Keiren Westwood was tested late on in the first half as Webber had his shot tipped around the post and then David Nugent headed Kitson's cross into the back of the net, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.

The only real bright moment of the match from Pompey's point of view came at the end of the half when Ritchie De Laet showed some great skill to run the ball down the wing and cross for Kitson who somehow managed to trip over the ball which allowed the Coventry defence to clear.

Overall, the first half was a poor affair and you'd have thought that Steve Cotterill would have torn into his men and fired them up during the break, yet it was Coventry who made the better start as Ashdown kept out a couple of threatening shots.

The Portsmouth 'keeper was beaten for a second time soon after, though, as Richard Keogh outpaced Rocha on the wing and swung in a cross for the unmarked McSheffrey to head in a second goal for the visitors.

Pompey were almost handed a lifeline when former defender Martin Cranie sliced the ball against his own crossbar and then Coventry were awarded a second penalty of the night when Mullins was penalised for deliberate handball.

The midfielder was shown the red card to make matters worse and Ashdown again could not prevent King from finding the net from the spot. From what I've heard, the handball decision was harsh as Mullins couldn't move his arm out of the way but it was difficult to see the incident from the Fratton End.

The frustrating night continued as the luckless Kitson would be denied a consolation goal firstly by his own team mate when Halford cleared his shot off the line and then Westwood tipped his header from Lawrence's cross over the bar.

Kitson's bad luck shouldn't mask a poor performance from him, though. The same can be said for most of the players whose performances were simply unacceptable.

The main objective of survival may have been achieved but that doesn't mean the players should be allowed to slack. There was no intensity or desire which ultimately led to a poor team performance in terms of quality so perhaps it shouldn't be too surprising that the team that needed to win did so.

But the fact they won so comfortably grates me as a fan who pays good money to watch this team play. The referee might be made a scapegoat for the result but the bottom line is simply that the players didn't do anywhere near enough to justify getting a result.

That isn't good enough and those fans who are yet to renew their season ticket or are thinking about buying one may well be put off after such a shoddy performance.

There are still five games left to go in this season. Let's hope the players remember this after such a terrible result.

Pompey Player Ratings

Jamie Ashdown: 6 - Can't be blamed for any of the goals.

Ritchie De Laet: 6 - One of only a few players who gave everything.

Ricardo Rocha: 4 - Gave away a penalty and generally had a poor game.

Greg Halford: 5 - Seemed to go missing at times.

Hermann Hreidarsson: 5 - Sluggish showing.

Hayden Mullins: 5 - Didn't play too well before being sent off.

Jonathan Hogg: 4 - Terrible first touch and lost most of the 50/50 challenges.

Joel Ward: 5 - Didn't see much of the ball.

Dave Kitson: 4 - Another poor performance.

David Nugent: 5 - Struggled to make an impact.

Danny Webber: 5 - Looked bright in patches but still rusty as to be expected.


Darryl Flahavan

Aaron Mokoena

Carl Dickinson (Nugent 84): N/A - Late outing.

Liam Lawrence (Ward 60): 6 - Delivery was good.

David Cotterill (Webber 75): N/A - Barely saw the ball.

Nadir Ciftci