Date: 20th August 2017 at 9:47am
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In fairness I think Kenny Jackett was right to say Brett Pitman’s penalty secured Pompey a warranted point against Walsall but, as he also said, we NEED to see much more creativity.

Could Walsall have been down to 10 men in the first half? Perhaps so, in fact many within the 17,000 at Fratton Park thought the Saddlers were lucky to avoid a red card on more than one occasion.

Fortunate to remain on level terms numerically or not, Pompey were once again punished within minutes of the re-start, which happened against Rochdale and Oxford, when James Wilson was allowed too much time and freedom to get in a cross that was allowed to go all the way through to full back Luke Leahy who put Walsall ahead on 47 minutes.

In all honesty, as much as Pompey did have some half chances, better ones after the equaliser, I wasn’t sure this would come until a dubiously awarded penalty for a foul on Nicke Kabamba by Walsall goalkeeper Mark Gillespie – the keeper who frustrated us when playing for Carlisle last season.

Pitman kept his nerve to score from the spot, the captain, who did a good job of raising the crowd, showing his intelligence and influence, twice went to a winner for the Blues but 1-1 was how it ended.

Jackett told ‘I was pleased with how we battled back and didn’t fall away after conceding the goal. It looked a penalty to me. Nicke was just about to strike it with his left foot and then he was taken out.’

Adding: ‘The substitutions gave us a more physical presence because we didn’t really have enough going forward.’

The decision to turn to Kabamba and Curtis Main as a double change when Pompey were looking for a goal was an eyebrow raising decision, Conor Chaplin left on the bench, but you would have to say it paid off really.

However, which was evident throughout the day, we MUST offer more going forward as too many didn’t do enough, certainly the job they were in to do. Jacket, who did think the Blues got what we deserved, is quite rightly looking for more.

‘We’re looking for players to go past their men, create openings and get shots away – we didn’t see enough of that,’ said Jackett.

‘The changes gave us more of a threat in attack, aided Brett, lifted the crowd and helped us deservedly get back in the game. We need to come up with people who can score goals and provide assists around Brett. We need those contributions.’

As for the lack of concentration at the start of the second half that has to change.

Jackett said: ‘It happened for us in the Rochdale game just after half-time and now it’s happened against us in three matches. We have to concentrate and make sure we come out right. We need to be switched on and make sure we’re the ones who get our noses in front.’

Improvement needs to be seen BUT I think patience also needs to be seen too as Jackett has clearly set out his stall – the approach will see is going to involve younger players coming in and given a chance.

These players WILL make mistakes but the likes of Brandon Haunstrup, Ben May et al need to be supported and it appreciated they’ll learn from these experiences and the errors they will make.


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