Pompey crashed out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy following a dreadful performance at Rodney Parade last night.
After a bright start, some calamitous defending gifted the home side the lead. Trevor Carson came too far out of his goal as Bondz N'Gala attempted to head the ball back to him, only to head it over him instead and leave Conor Washington to tap into an empty net.
Pompey were sluggish, second to every ball and when in possession, simply attempted to hoof it up to Tom Craddock and Ryan Bird up front who were virtually anonymous all game. The same could be said for the central midfield partnership of Romain Padovani and Shaun Cooper who were useless on the night.
Newport doubled their lead when Robbie Willmott's free kick was parried by Carson and the loose ball went straight to an unmarked Deji Oshilaja in the box who headed into an unguarded net.
A dreadful performance got slightly better later in the half with goalkeeper Jamie Stephens being forced into a couple of routine saves but Pompey couldn't take advantage of the late corners they had earned as they came to nothing.
The second half saw a mild improvement on the first when David Connolly came on for Craddock soon after the break. Bird had Pompey's best chance of the half early on when Cooper did well to get down the wing and send in a cross which the tall striker could only glance wide.
The Exiles were comfortable throughout the match, however, even when they were reduced to ten men after David Pipe was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Ricky Holmes. Personally, I thought it might have been a little harsh but the combination of Ricky's rolling and the Pompey fans going ballistic in the corner of the ground may have swayed him.
It didn't matter anyway as Pompey failed to make their numerical advantage count and Justin Edinburgh's men were certainly through to the next round when they broke away and Washington got the better of Joe Devera in the box to slot the ball home.
The travelling support couldn't even celebrate a consolation goal as Sonny Bradley's strike in stoppage time was ruled out for handball, ensuring Pompey fans would be leaving Wales extremely miserable and cold following an unacceptable performance.
It seemed like Newport wanted to win this match far more than Pompey did but if it is true that Whittingham couldn't pick the likes of Agyemang, Racon and Ferry because of injury and was forced to play the likes of Cooper in midfield then this match really did highlight the lack of depth in Pompey's squad. Newport's side were also weakened due to injuries yet that didn't seem to hamper their them as their players desired to win more than ours.
The back five may have been very similar to what it has been in the past but with no midfield to protect it then they were always going to be under pressure. The forwards didn't do their jobs either as none of them had any meaningful shots on target or held the ball up for others.
There was no fluency to Pompey's game whatsoever with passes constantly going astray or it was simply a case of the Welsh side being more committed to win the ball back from the lacklustre Blues whenever they had lost it.
It'll be interesting to see what will happen to Trevor Carson after yesterday's match. He has to take a huge share of the blame for the first two goals and Phil Smith and John Sullivan have been dropped for similar horror showings. On that basis he'd be dropping the whole team based on yesterday's performance as they were all woeful.
In summary, this performance was the worst of the season bar the York debacle which will never leave the minds of anyone who was there. There needs to be a major response from this defeat at Kingsmeadow on Saturday otherwise Whittingham's head will be called for yet again. It just simply was nowhere near good enough but at least Johnny Ertl can't be blamed for this one!
Finally, congratulations to the idiots who decided light and throw flares in the away end last night. That may well cost the club a fine and will now ensure the local heddlu will treat us all like hooligans when Pompey return to Rodney Parade for the league match on March 29th.
Pompey Player Ratings
Trevor Carson: 4 - Shoulders most of the blame for the first two goals.
Danny East: 5 - Beaten by Newport's wingers too often.
Bondz N'Gala: 3 - Calamity for the opening goal and generally had a torrid time.
Sonny Bradley: 4 - Kept giving the ball away.
Joe Devera: 4 - Done for the third goal and uncomfortable all match.
Ricky Holmes: 6 - Got under the skin of Newport's players.
Shaun Cooper: 4 - One decent cross in an otherwise abject performance.
Romain Padovani: 5 - Improved in second half but that's not saying much.
Andy Barcham: 5 - Constantly lost the ball.
Tom Craddock: 3 - Virtually anonymous.
Ryan Bird: 4 - Missed one chance and did little else.
David Connolly (Craddock 54): 5 - Couldn't turn the game in Pompey's favour.
Source: Fratton Faithful