Pitiful Pompey Beaten Again
Portsmouth 1 Scunthorpe United 2
Portsmouth slumped to a fourth straight defeat after another poor performance against Scunthorpe that saw the Iron leave Fratton Park with a deserved three points.
The game itself wasn't particularly engaging with the majority of the first half being dull due to both teams lacking in quality and that was reflected by the atmopshere at Fratton Park being the flattest it has been all season.
There were no real chances in the first half an hour barring Sam Winnall's shot that drifted wide when he should have scored having been left unmarked.
Trevor Carson made his first of many excellent saves during the match when Terry Hawkridge blasted the ball from distance only for the ball to be pushed away when it was heading for the top corner.
Pompey took the lead arguably against the run of play when Ricky Holmes did well to get to the byline and float in a cross for an unmarked Tom Craddock to head in at the far post.
That lead didn't last long, however, as Andy Dawson's corner somehow evaded everyone in the box and Dave Syers was there to slide in an equaliser at the far post.
The second half was better than the first in terms of quality as Pompey's passing gradually improved, although their defending did not and Carson had to be alert to deny Scunthorpe another goal on more than one occasion early on.
The woodwork prevented Guy Whittingham's men from taking the lead on two occasions. Firstly, when Holmes weaved his way into the box following a short corner and took a shot and then Craddock came close when his fierce drive cannoned off of the crossbar. Johnny Ertl also forced a great save from Sam Slocombe with a header from a corner.
Pompey would pay for those missed chances because as soon as Craddock's effort hit the bar, Scunthorpe took the lead just after. Winnall outmuscled Bradley in the box and got his shot away with Carson could only parry into the path of Syers who poached his second goal of the game.
The most disappointing thing about this game was Pompey's response to going behind. Despite the introduction of David Connoly and Ryan Bird, the hosts never looked like getting back into the game and instead Carson had to pull off a string of impressive saves to stop the scoreline becoming even worse.
Boos met the final whistle and they were the loudest at Fratton Park for quite some time. Some fans were singing "That was embarrassing!" whilst venting their anger at Guy Whittingham and the players who had let them down once again.
Whilst this performance wasn't as terrible as the surrenders at Wimbledon and Newport is was still bad. The manager must be deluded if he thought his team deserved a draw out of the game. Yes, the woodwork was struck twice but it was in a poor match where Scunthorpe, a team on their own terrible run of form, created far more chances and tested our keeper far more than their own.
The back four will undoubtedly come in for some criticism yet again and deservedly so. Devera must have given the ball away nearly every time he touched it, Bradley and N'Gala weren't strong enough in the centre when it mattered and it was baffling to see Potts awarded the "man of the match" when his first touch was so poor at times.
The most worrying thing could well be that this team seems to have lost its attacking impetus. Craddock didn't actually perform too badly and Holmes was a threat once again but when was the last time Wallace did anything of note? And what was Barcham doing for most of the match yesterday? Where was the creativity in the centre of midfield?
This team is broken at the moment. The players are playing like a bunch of individuals that have no organisation at the back or understanding with each other when trying to attack. They also seem to be lacking motivation and confidence now that a significant portion of the fanbase has turned against them.
Unfortunately, a lot of that has to be down to the manager. If the board are that set on keeping Guy on then they really need to bring in a defensive coach to sort out the problems at the back but even then that may not be enough to fix the problems this club current faces on the pitch (for a change).
Whittingham's saving grace is that Southend come to Fratton Park on Tuesday night which represents an opportunity for him and his team to redeem themselves. Another unacceptable performance will surely mean the sack for someone who was once so popular with Pompey fans.
Pompey Player Ratings
Trevor Carson: 8 - Excellent saves stopped the score becoming embarrassing.
Joe Devera: 3 - Gave the ball away constantly and clearances were terrible.
Sonny Bradley: 4 - Another weak performance.
Bondz N'Gala: 4 - Lacked communication with colleagues.
Dan Potts: 5 - Showed glimpses of quality but first touch was terrible.
Ricky Holmes: 7 - Another bright performance.
Johnny Ertl: 5 - Usual deficiencies exposed.
Simon Ferry: 5 - One of his poorer showings.
Jed Wallace: 5 - Did little of note.
Andy Barcham: 5 - Ineffective.
Tom Craddock: 6 - Did the best he could with the service he had.
Danny East (Devera 77): N/A - Change brought a few murmurs of "you don't know what you're doing" from nearby fans.
David Connolly (Ertl 73): N/A - Should have been introduced earlier.
Ryan Bird (Holmes 86): N/A - Barely touched the ball.
Source: Fratton Faithful
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