Woeful Pompey Sunk By Seasiders

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 25 February 2018

Yesterday was a day to forget for all Pompey fans as their team produced their worst performance of the season as they deservedly lost 2-0 to Blackpool at Fratton Park.

The game was a turgid affair between two poor teams. The visitors had two good chances early in the match but their efforts were dragged wide from an angle whilst a free header also sailed over the bar.

Pompey struggled to create any real chances with Oli Hawkins having the best of them. The striker hooked the ball over the crossbar from Jamal Lowe's cross and then should have hit the target with an effort later on.

Referee Gavin Ward's performance would have been the talking point of the half before the opening goal as his petty booking for Lowe kicking the ball away and then failing to book Kyle Vassell for a blatant off-the-ball trip on Christian Burgess highlighted his inconsistency during a dire afternoon.

However, Blackpool took the lead just before the break as Burgess made a mistake and allowed Vassell a run on goal, which he finished by planting the ball in the corner.

The half-time whistle signalled the end of the game for a handful of fans as they had been uninspired by a dreadful performance and thought an early pint in the pub was a better idea. That turned out to be an insightful decision.

The second half was somehow even worse than the first. Both teams couldn't string any passes together as the quality dwindled into something turgid by Sunday League standards.

Sunday League would be how to describe the defending for Blackpool's second goal. Connor Ronan could only half-clear a corner and Jay Spearing's long ball into the box was met by the head of a completely unmarked Clark Robertson from close range.

That goal sparked an exodus from Pompey fans who had seen enough and they couldn't be blamed for doing so with some fans in the Fratton End singing "Is there a fire drill?" as the droll contest continued with a constant chant of "Fuck 'em up, get into 'em" in the background.

There was laughter as Adam May blasted a late effort well over the bar and Dion Donhoue's tame strike at the Blackpool keeper in stoppage time, Pompey's first and only effort on target, was met by the ironic cheers of the hardy souls who opted to stay and suffer.

"We had a shot!" They sang as Ward blew the final whistle before the song could get into full flow, instead transforming into a chorus of boos after such an atrocious showing.

There were so many poor performances yesterday it's difficult to know where to start.

Burgess played his worst game in a Portsmouth shirt and was completely culpable for the first goal. He made other mistakes and it seems like his head has gone. His performances haven't been great recently and so you have to wonder if there is something affecting his form or whether he has just found his level?

Conor Chaplin is another whose star seems to have burned out. An appalling first touch meant he was never going to get in behind defenders and he was more gulity than most when it came to giving the ball away.

On the subject of giving the ball away, that was something both Ben Close and Adam May did too often but to single them out would be unfair. The same could be said for Anton Walkes and Dion Donohue whilst Matty Kennedy shouldn't have bothered turning up, such was his awful contribution to the game.

Hardly anyone deserves to come out of this debacle with any credit and that includes the manager. The number of fans bemoaning his tactical decisions will have multiplied after yesterday and his style of football is becoming increasingly drab to watch.

Hopeless hoofs may well bypass a weak midfield but the ball isn't being won and it isn't attractive to watch. The fans may have tolerated this in 2017 when Pompey were winning but turgid, losing football will only turn the fans off when the season drifts to its inevitable mediocre conclusion.

People have compared yesterday's result to the infamous Crewe result last season and hoping for the same catalyst but the circumstances were completely different back then.

The Crewe defeat was down to bad attitude and could easily be fixed whereas yesterday was a combination of awful performances from players who may not be good enough long term and predictable tactics which meant a team as mediocre as Blackpool ended up winning by default.

There should be some context added to this as the squad has been decimated by injuries and suspensions and so the manager has limited resources, but the performances of the majority of those selected to play yesterday were totally unacceptable.

There needs to be a response at Bradford on Saturday because if performances like yesterday's become regular then the fans will soon lose interest and the Eisners will have a difficult time trying to shift a high number of season tickets when July comes.

Pompey Player Ratings

Luke McGee: 6 - Let down by those in front of him.

Anton Walkes: 4 - Lacklustre at both defending and going forwards.

Christian Burgess: 3 - Worst performance in a Pompey shirt.

Matt Clarke: 6 - Tried to keep things together.

Dion Donohue: 5 - Had Pompey's only shot on target, which says it all. Defensively suspect.

Jamal Lowe: 5 - Tried to make something happen but faded.

Adam May: 4 - Nowhere near as good as he was on Tuesday.

Ben Close: 4 - Gifted possession to Blackpool too often.

Matty Kennedy: 3 - Dreadful.

Conor Chaplin: 4 - First touch was abysmal and looks the shadow of the player who burst into the first team a couple of years ago.

Oli Hawkins: 5 - Put himself about before succumbing to injury but should have made more of his first half chances.


Alex Bass

Jack Whatmough

Brandan Haunstrup

Sylvain Deslandes

Dan Smith

Connor Ronan (Kennedy 51): 4 - Hashed clearance led to second goal and couldn't influence the game from left wing.

Kal Naismith (Hawkins 61): 4 - Barely got involved. 

Portsmouth Match Reports

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