Pathetic Pompey Mauled By Minstermen
York City 4 Portsmouth 2
Many elder Portsmouth fans have told me of infamous defeats in the past that they will never forget. A humiliating 5-0 reverse at home to Plymouth and a 4-1 New Year's Eve defeat to Sunderland spring to mind.
When I grow old, I shall be telling the younger generation of Pompey fans of yesterday's defeat to York which shall join the pantheon of terrible performances never to be forgotten by anyone unfortunate enough to witness such atrocities.
The pain began just three minutes in as York were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. Wes Fletcher got on the end of it as John Sullivan spilled the ball straight back to him for an easy tap in.
The hosts dominated the first half and created a fair few chances but the same could not be said for Pompey who were lethargic all over the pitch and failed to have a single shot on target in the first half. The closest they came to an equaliser was when David Connolly headed wide in the box but York were well on top.
The Minstermen were still in control when the second half began as Pompey failed to get out of the blocks. The only player who looked like doing anything was Jed Wallace and he equalised with one of the best solo goals you'll see all season.
From his own half he won the ball back and took it past numerous York players, bearing down on goal until he got to the box and struck the ball into the bottom corner of the net. The equaliser was hardly deserved on balance of play but Wallace celebrated his goal as if to make a point for being dropped last week.
That equaliser from nothing was not to be a catalyst for a comeback, however, as the home side took the lead soon after thanks to a major clanger from Sullivan.
The Pompey goalkeeper had produced a great save to keep Fletcher's strike out, but when the resulting corner was floated in the hapless Sullivan caught the ball only to drop it straight to Lewis Montrose who scored the easiest goal of his entire career from a yard out.
Things soon got worse as poor defending allowed Ryan Jarvis to slot in a third and then even worse defending saw an unmarked Fletcher head home a cross from close range much to the anger and dismay of the large Pompey contingent who couldn't believe what they were witnessing.
Sullivan may have been punished again soon after as he could only parry a long distance strike into the path of another York striker who couldn't sort his feet out in time to strike the ball into an empty net, allowing Bondz N'Gala to get back and cover.
York may have scored more goals on the counter-attack as N'Gala was pushed up front as Pompey went to three at the back, looking like they may concede time and time again. The travelling fans were so distraught at the team's performance they were either screaming obscenities or laughing manically at the players because if you didn't laugh you would have cried at how pathetic this display was.
Strangely enough, Pompey improved in the last ten minutes to salvage a tiny piece of pride. Wallace had a free kick tipped over the bar and John Marquis scored late on when he flicked the former's cross into the back of the net, but it was only a consolation goal.
The final whistle was greeted by cries of "Fuck off Whittingham!" and other such derision from the other Portsmouth fans who had made the long slog north to watch that "performance". Sullivan came to the crowd and held his hands up, Whittingham applauded the fans but was met with abuse but Wallace was rightfully clapped off for being the only player to play anywhere near his best yesterday.
It is extremely hard to dissect such a pathetic performance. In summary, nine men on the pitch were extremely poor, one had an absolute shocker and one didn't deserve to be on the losing side.
Whittingham has undoubtedly come in for major criticism as he got his tactics wrong again but he shouldn't shoulder all of the blame. After all, he can't help it if his goalkeeper makes such galling errors but his motivational skills will be called into question as his players did not perform for him once again.
On a side note, our support was vocally poor yesterday. A few smatterings of the same old boring songs that dispersed quickly on the open terrace. York fans, to their credit, backed their team vocally all the way and were the best home fans I've personally heard in a long time.
But back on football and next week's game against Rochdale is critical now. Lose that one in the same manner as yesterday and that may well signal the end for Whittingham's tenure at Pompey and that would be a shame for someone who is such a popular figure at the club.
But he and his players delivered something so terrible yesterday which will go down in history as one of the worst Pompey performances not only in recent years or even the dark days of the 70's, but in the entire history of Portsmouth Football Club.
Pompey Player Ratings
John Sullivan: 3 - The most error-strewn and incompetent performance by a Portsmouth goalkeeper in years.
Danny East: 4 - Doesn't look good enough for League Two.
Sonny Bradley: 4 - Struggled to keep up with the pace.
Bondz N'Gala: 6 - Wasn't as bad as his team mates.
Marcos Painter: 4 - Wingers often had the better of him.
Jed Wallace: 7 - Only player to walk away with head held high. Superb goal and drive.
Simon Ferry: N/A - Off early with hamstring injury.
Johnny Ertl: 4 - Very poor. Second to every ball.
Andy Barcham: 4 - Completely ineffective.
Patrick Agyemang: 4 - Never in the game.
David Connolly: 5 - Nowhere near his best.
Romain Padovani (Ferry 16): 5 - Not up to it physically.
Ricky Holmes (Painter 70): 6 - Looked bright when he came on.
John Marquis (Agyemang 64): 6 - Took his goal well.
Source: Fratton Faithful
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