Let’s face it, we couldn’t say Pompey have been rock solid this season, as we haven’t. Yet in recent weeks we’ve been much tighter defensively and cut out the sloppy mistakes. Admittedly, these occurred during the unbeaten run, but the Blues got away with them.
However, that wasn’t the case at Bradford on Tuesday. Having been presented with the opportunity to move into the top-six, facing an out-of-form Bantams side, we blew it as collective mistakes ‘ultimately cost us.’
I think most would say, Pompey, in general, were the better side at Valley Parade in midweek. Bradford goalkeeper Colin Doyle had certainly frustrated us until Brett Pitman cancelled out Nathaniel Knight-Percival’s opener with a superb equaliser. Yet, defensive mistakes, which accounted for the Bantams’ first goal, proved so costly at the wrong time.
Obviously, Jack Whatmough has become a mainstay part of this defensive unit in recent weeks, but he was well aware of how crucial these mistakes were.
He told portsmouthfc.co.uk: ‘We’ve conceded three disappointing goals. All of them were sloppy and should have been dealt with. It was our own mistakes that ultimately cost us and we’re a good enough team not to let them happen.’
Why didn’t we deal with these situations? I have no idea. It happens sometimes I guess, but Whatmough knows we would ‘deal with those instances 10 times out of 10 in training.’ The defender was also convinced we ‘were the better side at the time we equalised,’ which, at that time, would have left most of us thinking we’d come from behind to win. Bradford had other ideas though and the ‘second goal deflated us a bit.’
So, is that it as far as a play-off bid goes? Given the fact Scunthorpe (one) and Plymouth (two) have games in hand, it’ll be tough. However, the fact Peterborough lost at Blackburn this week helps, but there’s little to no doubt we must see off Charlton at Fratton Park on Saturday.
Whatmough still feels it’s all to play for and remains positive, as you would expect.
He said: ‘We’ve got to dust ourselves down because we play Charlton on Saturday and anything can happen in these final three fixtures. It’s a massive game, as are the ones against Bury and Peterborough. There are nine points are there for the taking and we can get them.’
All things considered, most of us would concede we’ve not done enough to finish in the top-six this season, that isn’t to say we wouldn’t want to achieve this and aren’t hopeful of continuing a promotion push, ready for the Championship or not, until Posh on the final day.
No two ways about it, anything but a Blues win on Saturday and that’s all she wrote.
PLAY UP POMPEY
2017-18 Prediction League – April
Charlton (h) Saturday 21st April 2018 – click here.
Bury (a) Saturday 28th April 2018 – click here.