Beasant doesn't prove lucky omen for Pompey

Last updated : 12 January 2002 By

Graham Rix made wholesale changes to his formation this afternoon and not the playing staff that many predicted after the result and performance against Leyton Orient.

It was an unorthadox side that started with Harper upfront and Primus on the left of defence. The midfield was unbalanced with Quashie having to operate as a right winger winger. Derry made a welcome return in centre defence - not his most natural position.

However Rix's tactics reaped dividends as Pompey went infront after only 90 seconds. A Prosinecki corner flew in and Harper at the far post mis-hit his shot but it flew across the area towards Crouch who stabbed the ball goal-bound. Both Linvoy Primus, standing on the line, and Crouch appeared to claim the credit as Carl Muggleton was beaten. The goal was accredited to Primus - his first for the club.

However the referee made sure that the game never got going and his frequent whistle blowing meant Pompey never got out of second gear. Bradford equalised in the 18th minute and it spurred Rix into making a tactical substitution in the twenty minute. Courtney Pitt was repaced by Jason Crowe and Pompey moved to a 3-5-2 formation - with Harper operating on the left still. It was a move to shore up Pompey's left hand side of the pitch were Bradford were having a lot of luck.

This move seemed to spur Pompey on and both Harper and Quashie went close as The Blue's took the game to Bradford. Pompey went in at half time the better side and looked forward to second half as a game where they could definitely pick up three points.

Pompey came out for the second half and very nearly went a goal down after an Andy Todd shot was saved a point-blank range by Beasant: Bez 1 Yoshi 0. This was not an isolated incident as Pompey were under pressure from as soon as the referee started the half.

It would all get much worse however when substitute Lee Sharpe went down in the area – the referee waved play on but the linesman flagged for the penalty. Step forward another Pompey old boy to heap more woe on Graham Rix's low on confidence men.

Harper went close but once again the game seemed to ebb away from Pompey as Rix refused to swap things around by giving the Blue's some extra oomph that they were severely missing. Late into the half, the referee did it for the manager as Jason Crowe was sent off for a very innocuous challenge. Pompey were lacking a cutting edge at it was all about to get much worse.

With five minutes to go Carl Tiler was sent off for a reckless headbutt and Bradford proceeded to score again as Pompey went down 3-1 against a poor Bradford team.

Check the site tomorrow for more match analysis and where Rix and Pompey can go from here.