Late Bird Equaliser Earns Plainmoor Point
Torquay United 1 Portsmouth 1
The much maligned Ryan Bird scored his first goal in professional football to salvage a draw for Pompey against lowly Torquay.
Apologies for the condensed match report but due to the stupidity of the Lucketts coach driver deciding to go to Torquay via the M4 and the notoriously slow A303 some fans missed the first 25 minutes of the game. Spare a thought for the poor Italian dup who had flown over from Pisa to travel to the match only to miss a chunk of it.
I have seen Jordan Chappell's strike after 17 seconds on TV since and the defending was laughable. Perhaps if Sonny Bradley was available then he'd have got a block in but it was a truly unacceptable goal to concede.
When I did get into the overcrowded terraces at Plainmoor the visiting fans were grumbling about how poor Pompey were on the ball. I had arrived just in time to see Patrick Agyemang burst through the Gulls' defence only to hit a tame ball straight at goalkeeper Martin Rice.
But that was as good as it got in the first half and it may have been worse had Paul McCallum hit the target rather than firing woefully wide in added time after receiving Karl Hawley's through pass.
Pompey dominated possession in the second half after a shaky start but had no end product despite the wind blowing in their favour.
Jed Wallace really should have done better when he turned in the box and blasted the ball over the bar from close range when he should have hit the target and Johnny Ertl forced Rice into a good save down to his right.
Torquay may have scored again on the break but Ade Azeeez curled his shot wide with nobody near him to cover.
It looked like Pompey would pay for not being able to produce any more clear cut chances but thankfully substitute Bird was on hand to (just about) turn in Wallace's cross from the right with the ball trickling over the line.
A winner might have been on the cards but more wasteful passes meant that Pompey had to accept a draw when a win was the result that was wanted against a poor Torquay team who deserved their point on the day.
But from a Portsmouth point of view this was not good enough. The team selection was questionable as Simon Ferry came in for Therry Racon when surely Ertl should have made way. It was no surprise that Pompey upped the tempo when the captain was withdrawn as he simply doesn't have the pace to compete in the centre of midfield.
Whilst some may praise Whittingham for his substitution you'd have to wonder why he brought Andy Barcham on and then not get the message to his team to pass the ball to him. He may have had fresh legs but one shot aside I don't remember him touching the ball.
The Portsmouth manager shouldn't take too much criticism as even his best players let him down. Wallace and Agyemang were nowhere near their best but Ricky Holmes put in a decent shift once again.
However, it was a disappointing day all round and a much improved performance will be required when high-flying Exeter visit Fratton Park next weekend.
No player ratings this week as it'd be unfair to judge them having missed a good chunk of the game but Holmes was the best performer and the others were sub-par at best.
Source: Fratton Faithful
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