Injury hit Pompey just sat back

Last updated : 13 March 2002 By

Leo Biagini's second goal in as many games was not enough to stop injury-ravaged Pompey losing in the second half after a superb first half showing. On far too many occasions, Pompey have lost games because of sitting back and it showed that confidence means points on the South Coast.

The 2-1 loss to Wimbledon came as the Fratton Park men endured a horrendous spate of injuries which stretched even our large squad to the bare bones. The bench was more akin to the Youth team but notable absentees who are fit are Zamperini and Crowe - why haven't these players been used recently?

Pompey managed to take the lead through Biagini in the fourth minute but didn't push on from there, allowing Wimbledon, noted for their spirit to keep pushing to the death and were deservedly rewarded with two goals to take all three points.

Rix commented: "I am a bit disappointed. We wanted to build on what we'd done the last four or five games and after taking an early lead I thought `here we go' but second half we couldn't get out of our half.

"Wimbledon played well and deserved their victory, some of our individual defending left a bit to be desired. We do have a lot of injuries and there were lots of lads out there playing out of position and it showed. I was delighted to take the lead but don't think we passed the ball like anything we can.

"I asked the guys before the game how and why we have achieved the things we have and I don't think we answered those questions. I can't fault the lads' approach to the game or attitude but we lacked quality."

Biagini, the Argentinian on-loan from Real Mallorca, scored a remarkable goal in that it was almost a carbon copy of the one he scored against Millwall at the weekend. He cut inside two defenders with four minutes gone, miscued a low right-footed shot which squirmed past the keeper into the bottom corner to give his side a 1-0 lead - it was even at the same end.

But that was where the similarity with the weekend's 3-0 triumph ended. In the second half Wimbledon came out and played well. Forget the days of the long ball, Terry Burton has moulded a young, fast, skilful team. Their only worry is whether finances dictate they will have to be sold.

Pompey still might have hung on had Rix not made the decision to break up his central midfield pairing of Nigel Quashie and Shaun Derry, but once he did it all fell apart. On 77 minutes substitute Kevin Cooper's shot took a horrible deflection off Tom Curtis and past Dave Beasant and seven minutes later David Connolly sealed the win with a neat finish after a scramble in the Pompey box.

Injuries took their toll and, in the end, cost them a game they might otherwise have won.