Snore Draw At Alex

Last updated : 15 August 2016 By Jim Bonner

Pompey are yet to win a match this season following a boring goalless draw at Gresty Road on Saturday.

Unlike the season opener where Paul Cook's men created plenty of chances, this performance was flat and devoid of any real creativity. Pompey couldn't muster many opportunities due to wayward passing whilst the home side were happy to sit back and smother the midfield when they needed to.

The best chance of the match came in the second half when Michael Doyle was put through by Gary Roberts but his shot was saved by Ben Garratt. David Forde palmed away a late drive from Billy Bingham but both sides were wasteful in attack in a game that lacked quality. 0-0 was certainly the right result.

For some reason Pompey's attacking midfield trio just didn't turn up on the day having been so bright against Carlisle. Roberts couldn't beat his man, Baker was well marshalled and Lalkovic lacked the verve he showed last weekend and was replaced by Bennett who tired hard but couldn't make anything happen.

Michael Smith's time might be up now after another poor showing where he failed to influence the game at all. Curtis Main looked more of a handful and made something of the couple of half-chances he was presented with and so he's a good bet to start at Morecambe tomorrow.

But where does this leave Conor Chaplin? The match was crying out for a player like him to come on and do some damage and yet Cook was happy to stick to the same formation when it clearly wasn't working. Had Crewe not been so poor up front themselves then they may have taken advantage of a couple of sloppy pieces of play from the back four.

And what's with the captain claiming that Crewe is a tough place to go and this point could be crucial come the promotion reckoning in May? It's a wasted opportunity to beat the side that finished rock bottom of League One last season and it's more likely that the two points dropped could make the difference between automatic promotion or not. The mentality of this team simply has to change.

The final negative to come from this game is Jack Whatmough's injury that he picked up late in the game. The poor lad has had his problems recently but was playing well until this unfortunate incident. Hopefully the upcoming scan won't reveal too much damage but it doesn't look good.

If there were positives to take from Saturday's game it would be that Kal Naismith proved his worth at left back again - filling in for Enda Stevens who has a groin injury. Danny Rose was probably Pompey's best player as his energy allowed him to cover plenty of grass and protect the back four when required.

But going forward this showing was nowhere near good enough and the fellow Pompey fan falling asleep in the away end tells its own story. The team needs to click soon and grab a first win soon otherwise there'll be panic on the streets of Portsmouth given the reactions of some fans following a slow start to the season.

Which brings me onto the final point of this piece. A slow start is hardly a reason for panic. Northampton's start to the season was nothing to shout about (including a home defeat to Dagenham) but once they clicked they romped the league whilst Bristol Rovers only won one home match until November and yet still got promoted automatically.

So there's plenty of time for Cook to find the right formula, but a victory and some more penetrating football to go with it would certainly ease fears amongst some supporters.

Pompey Player Ratings

David Forde: 7 - One good late save but never looked like being beaten.

Drew Talbot: 7 - A much improved showing from the Carlisle match.

Christian Burgess: 6 - Got away with a couple of lapses in concentration.

Jack Whatmough: 7 - Looked assured until his injury.

Kal Naismith: 7 - Didn't look out of place.

Michael Doyle: 6 - Should have scored.

Danny Rose: 7 - Another energetic showing.

Gary Roberts: 5 - Struggled at times.

Carl Baker: 5 - Well shackled.

Mlian Lalkovic: 5 - Passing wasn't up to standard.

Michael Smith: 4 - No influence.


Liam O'Brien

Adam Buxton

Adam Barton (Whatmough 74): N/A - Looks like he'll be starting at centre back tomorrow.

Kyle Bennett (Lalkovic 54): 5 - Couldn't find a way through.

Conor Chaplin

Noel Hunt

Curtis Main (Smith 54): 6 - Looks like he could be useful.