Pompey Capitulate At County Ground
Swindon Town 5 Portsmouth 0
2013 began in the same vein as 2012 after Swindon beat Pompey 5-0 at the County Ground thanks to four goals from substitute James Collins.
For an hour Guy Whittingham's men were equal to Paolo Di Canio's side. The first half saw both goalkeepers in action as Wes Foderingham had to tip over Mustapha Dumbuya's cross-cum-shot and Simon Eastwood got down well to save a backheel from Chris Martin.
There were a couple of other efforts and Dumbuya almost paid the price with a "hospital ball" back to his goalkeeper mid-way through the half but thankfully Eastwood was alert to come rushing out of his goal to clear the ball, whilst taking a boot by Andy Williams in the process.
Apart from that, Pompey were comfortable and 0-0 was a fair scoreline. Nobody in the County Ground could have predicted what was to come in the second half.
Lee Williamson's free kick early in the second half sailed over the bar as Di Canio was getting increasingly frustrated with his team's performance. He responded by making three substitutions by the time an hour had been played, the third being striker James Collins.
And with his first touch the ball was in the back of the Pompey net after he glanced in Matt Ritchie's cross. He then took advantage of some slack marking in the box to strike in a loose ball in the box.
Collins then laid the ball on for Danny Hollands to drill the ball past Eastwood from the edge of the box before completing his hat-trick with another close range header from Ritchie's cross.
In the space of twelve minutes Pompey had gone from being level with Swindon to four down and that became five when Collins turned in another cross from the wing on 69 minutes, this time from Alan McCormack.
Whilst this farce had been taking place, Pompey fans brought the gallows humour to the party, singing "You're nothing special, we lose every week!" to the home fans who barely made a noise all game despite the scoreline.
The visiting fans also pretended that their team had scored a goal with their ironic cheers and we almost got one when Ashley Harris, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and David Connolly broke away on goal but the attack broke down when it got to the box, meaning another goalless afternoon for Pompey.
That twelve minutes of madness where the defence completely crumbled was hard to take given that Pompey had played fairly well for the first hour of the match.
It just seemed like the Pompey defenders were clueless when it came to defending against a big, physical striker like Collins. Players like Michalik and Ertl (who was playing centre back today) should not be getting outjumped or outfought by opposition players.
Another few paragraphs could be typed about this match but there isn't really any point. The focus now has to switch to next season and preparing for League Two. Whether that means blooding in youngsters such as Jed Wallace or hiring a manager to perform a complete overhaul of the squad (again) - who knows?
Personally, I just wish this season was over already.
Pompey Player Ratings
Simon Eastwood: 6 - Let down by his defence.
Mustapha Dumbuya: 4 - Gave the ball away too often.
Lubomir Michalik: 3 - Fell apart once the scoring began.
Johnny Ertl: 4 - All at sea after the hour.
Adam Webster: 3 - Looked out of his depth.
Liam Walker: 5 - Bright in the first half but faded.
Darel Russell: 5 - Didn't offer back four enough protection.
Lee Williamson: 6 - Battled on.
Jon Harley: 4 - Didn't see much of the ball.
Scott Allan: 6 - Pompey's most dangerous player.
Ashley Harris: 6 - Gave his all.
Jed Wallace (Allan 71): N/A - May be blooded in.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Harris 86): N/A - Wasn't going to score 5 goals...
David Connolly (Walker 64): N/A - Barely touched the ball.
Source: Fratton Faithful
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