Date: 26th October 2015 at 1:13pm
Written by: pompeycal1997

Frustration continued for the Fratton Faithful as Pompey extended their drawing run at home to 3 games. A win at home has ceased Pompey’s grasp since the 12th of October, with 4th placed visitors Mansfield completing their defensive job on the south coast.

Paul Cook brought in 4 new faces to the line-up, with Aaron McCarey being replaced in goal by Brian Murphy, following the expiration of his loan from Wolves. Kal Naismith earned his first home league start, as did Caolan Lavery, with Danny Hollands also being restored to the starting XI.

Pompey, who had missed the chance to go top in midweek following a 94th minute equaliser from Teddy Sheringham’s Stevenage, were just two point behind leaders and Dockyard rivals Plymouth heading into the clash. Michael Appleton’s Oxford remained hot on the Blues’ tails, behind only on goal difference after their victory over Argyle last Tuesday.

There was no change in the system for the match, accompanied by no change in the immediate pressure from Pompey as the game kicked off. Paul Cook claims it was the Blues’ best start of the season so far, with Kyle Bennett missing Pompey’s first chance as he hit the ball over after good work from Lavery.

Ben Davies, the ever-consistent wing-back started excellently, providing a testing outlet 99% of the time on the right. He sent in several dangerous crosses throughout the match, and proved to be real trouble for the Stags, turning back the years with some lovely pieces of skill and trickery.

Pompey’s first real test of Brian Jensen came from Enda Stevens, as the left back broke through the defence, cutting onto his less-favoured right foot and lashing a shot that ‘the Beast’ held tightly.

A fairly quiet Kal Naismith missed a semi-decent chance mid-way through the half, scuffing a square from Lavery, following a swift break from a Mansfield corner.

The half somewhat fizzled out, in its usual Fratton 2015/2016 season fashion. The only other scare for the travelling side coming from a Ben Davies free kick that bounced by everyone in the area, flying a yard past the post.

As the second half started, Mansfield’s attacking prowess seemed in truth, quite non-existent. Adam Chapman hit one well over the bar, resulting in big jeers from the south stand.

Yet Pompey were also struggling on their assault of the Town goal, the Blues supporters becoming increasingly aggitated by Pompey’s lack of a cutting edge going forward. In their attempt to inject fresh hunger in the players, the Fratton End enspired chants of ‘Blue Army’ and ‘Play Up Pompey’ around the ground.

Cookie played his part too, by subbing Rommy Boco and Kal Naismith for Nigel Atangana and Pompey’s own Conor Chaplin, much to the delight of the Fratton crowd.

But as Pompey pressed for a winner, their attempts proved in vain, as Mansfield continued to keep out everything the home side had to throw at them.

The Beast was called into action again though, as Davies’ rebounded corner, was sent towards the top corner by the right-back. Jensen did well to move his large frame through the air, getting a strong hand to Pompey’s Man of the Match’s effort.

Cookie again tried to force a goal, by bringing on talisman Tubbs for Lavery, who started brightly but somewhat petered out towards the end of his performance.
Davies again tried his luck not long after, hitting a 30-yard free kick just wide of the post. But Chaplin had the game’s best chance, wriggling through the box to see his finish saved at point-blank range from Jensen.

It wasn’t meant to be, again for the hosts. No matter how hard the players pushed, the Stags stood strong and improved their away record that now goes a point better than Pompey’s, playing one game more.

The full time whistle was greeted by a few groans, some pockets of applause and some quite harsh booing. Cook was quick to defend his side, and rightfully considering it’s still only one loss from 15, and the Blues are still second.

“We would like to win more home games, but our desire to win can`t lead to us losing.

“I thought the first 15 minutes was the best we`ve started a match, but unfortunately we couldn`t get that first goal.

“We had fantastic support at Fratton yet again and we know they were frustrated, but it will come.’

Pompey trail leaders by 4 points courtesy of the draw and Plymouth’s injury time winner at Luton. Oxford’s 3-2 loss to Barnet at home sees them stay third, but fall a point behind the Blues. Mansfield drop one place to 5th after the draw, with Northampton’s 2-1 win at Stevenage replacing them in 4th.



  • Davies was brilliant again but for me Doyle was the MotM. He’s been awesome for us since he arrived and, again for me, better than he’s been credited for as you don’t always notice what he’s doing – on Saturday though not only was he cleaning up and snuffing out Mansfield coming forward he was also looking to get us going quicker.

  • Given the benefit we get from Davies going forward, not that he’s shabby defensively, would we not be better off either switching to out and out wingbacks with him and Stevens doing this but if not put Boco at right back and put Davies ahead of him? Boco for me offered absolutely nothing going forward and was, almost, a wasted option on the right!
    As for the booing, again I’d not agree with those but DO, I have to say, understand the groans although in all honesty when I saw the line up, far too defensive for me when we’re at home, I groaned before the game even kicked-off!

  • Agreed, we have some excellent players; Doyle, Davies, Webster, Burgess, Tubbs, Chaplin for example plus the injured Roberts, and, by and large, our defence is very very good.
    We do seem to get obsessed with ‘Teams Coming To Pompey And Shutting Up Shop’. Don’t teams care about Plymouth and so go to Devon looking for three points? Of course not, they just deal with it better. So there is no excuse for us being impotent at home, is there?

  • Me thinks Cook is going to be too stubborn about 1 up front at home, as I have said before the home crowd is big but wants to be entertained, Channel 5 highlights summed it up, Davies shot then the final score

  • As pointed out in the forum by Pompeytim, one of the downfalls of the likes of AA was they DIDN’T have a settle formation, way of playing or side and changed things TOO much – Cookie, I guess, is right to stick with what he does, as it works for him, but he doesn’t seem to be showing the flexibility that perhaps is needed?

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