Boro End Pompey Unbeaten Run
Stevenage 2 Portsmouth 1
Pompey's unbeaten run was ended by Stevenage following a 2-1 defeat on a frustrating evening at Broadhall Way.
Conceding two sloppy goals and Stevenage's annoying knack of blocking everything Pompey threw their way culminated in defeat for the Blues after a slow start in the game.
Carl Dickinson made his second debut for the club but is partly at fault for the opening goal as his mistimed challenge allowed Lucas Akins to cross the ball to an unmarked Nuno Morais who headed the ball past Mikkel Andersen for the opener.
As far as goal celebrations go, this was one of the worst as Morais proceded to do a terrible rendition of the Gangnam Style dance. Perhaps the FA could introduce a rule to disallow goals if celebrated with such ridiculousness?
After seeing out a spell of pressure, Pompey eventually grew into the game and Wes Thomas almost slid in Izale McLeod's cross at the far post and then later had a shot well saved by Steve Arnold.
A goalmouth scramble ensued late in the half but there were Stevenage players on the line to block the goalbound efforts not for the last time during the game.
Michael Appleton brought on Mustapha Dumbuya for Akos Buzsaky at the start of the second half for what could surely have only been because the Hungarian had taken a knock, as he was Pompey's best player in the first half.
The visiting fans were almost celebrating an equaliser when Thomas ran on to a short back pass and rounded goalkeeper Martin, but his effort was cleared off the line by Mark Roberts.
It was going to take something special to score against the stubborn Stevenage defence and it came when on 51 minutes when Jon Harley's neat footwork set himself up to curl the ball from outside the box into the bottom corner of the net, giving Martin no chance.
Pompey were in the ascendency but paid the price for more sloppy defending from a short corner, allowing Morais' cross to sail straight into the top corner of the net.
The visitors kept pressing for an equaliser and had plenty of possession to carve out chances but Boro always had plenty of men back to deal with the threat, resulting in a frustrating defeat for Pompey.
Why was this defeat so frustrating?
Firstly, on reflection, Pompey didn't perform all that badly. Stevenage were kept at bay for most of the game and chances were created that just weren't taken on the night. We have certainly played worse than that this season and won.
Secondly, Michael Appleton seems to believe in substitutions as much as Anonymous believes in Lord Xenu. With Stevenage on the ropes in the second half, I cannot understand why an attacking substitution wasn't made, especially after conceding again.
Jack Compton, Ashley Harris and Luke Rodgers were all sat on the bench and yet none were called upon. Why was that? It's not as if Pompey have another game to play this week. The next match is at Sheffield United on Monday night.
Still, we move on and see what the events of this week bring. Is Michael Appleton leaving for Burnley and how much closer will the Trust get to taking over?
Pompey Player Ratings
Mikkel Andersen: 6 - One good save but otherwise little to do.
Lee Williamson: 5 - Is starting to moan about not playing in midfield now and it's easy to see why after yesterday's performance. Poor.
Gabor Gyepes: 6 - Solid enough for the most part.
Lubomir Michalik: 6 - A couple of last ditch challenges.
Carl Dickinson: 6 - Average return to the side, got his customary booking as per usual.
Akos Buzsaky: 6 - Pompey's most creative player until taken off at half-time.
Brian Howard: 6 - A mixed bag.
Johnny Ertl: 7 - Won the ball back plenty of times.
Jon Harley: 7 - Sublime goal.
Wes Thomas: 6 - Should have scored at least once.
Izale McLeod: 5 - Rarely involved after being in such good form previously.
Mustapha Dumbuya (Buzsaky 46): 6 - Added some extra pace.
Source: Fratton Faithful
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