Date: 31st July 2017 at 3:23pm
Written by:

Due to holiday and other stuff, as mentioned in the other thread, I haven’t been able to make it to any pre-season games until Crawley on Saturday. This was my first look at Kenny Jacket’s Pompey and while I’ll obviously bear in mind it was just one game, and a meaningless friendly at that, here are some of my early impressions.


We were all over the place when Crawley put balls into the box and this culminated in their goal just 3 minutes in. McGee particularly was very hesitant to come and claim the ball, which is a dramatic change from last year when Forde was dominant in his box and caught or punched just about everything. Maybe that’s the downside of having a young keeper? Although he made a flying save at one point in the first half, demonstrating what we have got which is athleticism and a handy shot stopper. Anyway, hopefully this was just a blip and any issue will be ironed out fairly soon as I thought the days of us conceding cheap goals from corners were over!


The news that Matt Clarke will miss the start of the season was a massive blow and losing Christian Burgess would be a nightmare. Thankfully, it looks as if he will be available for Rochdale on Saturday, even if he sat out the game against the Red Devils. That means Tom Davies and Jack Whatmough will battle for the position to line up alongside him, with Jackett having shown a preference towards Davies in previous pre-season games. I can’t say that either of the pair were particularly impressive against Crawley and struggled at times with the physicality of the big no.9. Having said that, Whatmough did grow into the game later on and became more dominant. I still get the feeling that Davies will get the nod though…


Ben Close and Adam May were seemingly promised more opportunities upon Jackett’s appointment but for a second successive week he opted for Carl Baker to operate in a deeper midfield position. As you would expect for a more forward thinking player, Baker was good on the ball and spread the play well on a number of occasions. But, and this is just my opinion, he was slow to react to second balls and was nowhere near good enough defensively. We were very poor in the first half and this was mainly because Crawley had most of the ball and often had us chasing shadows. I can’t help but feel we are still missing a Michael Doyle type of play, someone who is going to be an enforcer, be a strong leader, and play the simple ball to set us on the attack when necessary. Still time to sign somebody for that role but looks as if we are going to have to move someone on before that can happen.


Even if we weren’t at our best or very fluent with our passing, the main thing is we still found a way to win. That was mainly down to one man, Pompey’s new striker Brett Pitman. His free kick which levelled the scores was an exceptional strike. The keeper thought he was going to curl it over the wall and into the far side but instead he hit a lethal effort straight into the top corner on the right hand side. I thought the net was going to burst it was hit so hard! His second goal was nearly as impressive as he showed great composure in the box to dink the ball over the onrushing keeper and put Pompey into the lead. He may not like running around much but he certainly has the killer instinct in front of goal and isn’t that what we’ve been looking for in a striker for quite some time? Maybe a little controversial, but I did think that him and the team were far more effective when Naismith played centrally in behind him and Chaplin was substituted.

*That’s just a little snippet of my thoughts but I’m sure you don’t want to hear too much of me waffling on. Looking forward to next week! PUP.

Written by FrattonBlue and originally posted in the forum.

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One Reply to “Crawley report”

  • Waffle away FrattonBlue, GREAT stuff and thanks for sharing.
    I’m a little concerned about McGee and claiming crosses. Didn’t he get caught out, was it against Bournemouth, flapping at a corner? I love good shot stopper but a goalkeeper MUST command his area and give those in front of him confidence.
    Still, would soon he did this in pre-season eh…
    Whatmough’s a player I love, but I sense he could perhaps be converted into an out and out holding midfielder going forward – perhaps he should have been looked at in a deeper midfield position during pre-season? Has enough experience to play there now and footballing ability.
    Pitman should be a great signing, experienced and can lead the line. Still not 100% sure on him being captain – not as I don’t think he can do it and someone else should but as I worry it might take something away from his game? On the evidence of pre-season, it wouldn’t!

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