Date: 24th February 2018 at 7:58pm
Written by:

Pompey 0 Blackpool 2

Last week I said that Pompey`s play-off dream was over and after a false dawn at Fleetwood yesterday was to prove that prophesy correct.

Pompey were unchanged and the young side struggled throughout with no leadership, shape or midfield. Simple passes were misplaced, defenders continually ran into their own goalkeeper and there was no shot on target until the 92nd minute!

Blackpool`s first goal was down to Christian Burgess who instead of heading a high ball away tried to be too cute and Kyle Vassell picked his pocket and easily beat an exposed Luke McGee. The second was came when Jay Spearing crossed and there was an unmarked Clark Robertson to nod home from close range.

The game reminded me so much of last season`s defeat by Crewe when I wrote ‘There have been some poor performances at Fratton Park in the last few years but this was probably the worst. The stats show that the home side did not have shot of target and those figures do not lie. The entire performance was dire and unsurprisingly there was no announcement of Man of the Match in the closing minutes.`

The only difference here was that late shot on target the rest applies. That day Pompey did have Michael Doyle on the pitch and how this side needs his experience. Of course, that Crewe debacle would lead to a long run of games culminating with the League Two championship. With so little experience available to Jackett it is very difficult to imagine such a run this term.

With Brandon Haunstrup back on the bench I was surprised That Kenny did not move Dion Donohue into the middle of the park where Ben Close and Adam May were hapless in an effort to stem the tide. One word about Blackpool they were poor.

Pompey (4-4-2): McGee; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke (c), Donohue; Lowe, May, Close, Kennedy (Ronan 56); Chaplin, Hawkins (Naismith 61)
Booked: Lowe
Subs not used: Bass, Whatmough, Haunstrup, Deslandes, Smith

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 17,895 (264 away fans)

The Blues boss told the official site “We had a lot of the ball without doing anything with it. It was tough for us. There were a couple of decent crosses from Jamal Lowe and Oli Hawkins looked dangerous in the box before his injury. But it was pretty easy for Blackpool to keep their shape and be constructive enough to close us down, making it difficult for us going forward.

“The game petered out, while there are just too many mistakes at the back that are costing us at the moment. If I look at both of the goals there are errors there. Our opponents put pressure on us with their pace and power. We were up and around their box in the final 5-10 minutes, but Blackpool still looked pretty comfortable. Going down their end is one thing, but we were making the wrong decisions when we got there, allowing them to keep us out.

“Ultimately, they made fewer mistakes than us. We didn`t create enough and couldn`t find a tempo to our play. After a very good win at Fleetwood on Tuesday night we needed to build some momentum, but the players still need to keep their heads up.”

Next week

Next up for Pompey is a trip to Valley Parade to play fellow play-off contenders Bradford City. It will be meeting number thirty-seven and only four of those fixtures have been draws!

The last visit was a famous occasion as Pompey won 5-0 to celebrate winning the First Division championship and promotion to the Premier League. Toddy got himself a hat-trick to win himself the golden boot. All that and then there were the Festa boots.

Go back another five years and an equally famous day when Sammy Igoe and Johnny Lager Durnin with two earned the points to stave off relegation. All three drawn games were in the 1980s

Billy Wilson 1946-2018

Earlier this week the death of Pompey Hall of Fame inductee Billy Wilson was announced.

Billy was signed from Blackburn Rovers for £15,000 in January 1972 by boss Ron Tindall and spent next seven seasons at Fratton Park. It seemed a strange decision to sign a left back at that point in time as Pompey were well covered in that position with both George Ley and John Collins specialist number threes. However, Tindall had seen something in Billy that others had not and he made his debut against Cardiff in midfield.

He was a regular in the engine room and only dropping back when Collins was injured in September. He continued as a utility player under Tindall but when John Mortimore replaced him as manager in 1973 Billy was to become a regular at left back.

Billy held that position on and off until retiring at the end of the 1978/79 season when he lost his place to Keith Viney and he took over managing the Pompey Pub. He played over 200 times for the Blues and scored just six goals. He was a consistent performer in whatever role he was given by the four managers he served as Pompey slid down the leagues. For such an accomplished player it is sad that Pompey only managed to win 26% of the games he played in.

When he was inducted into the Hall of Fame Johnny Moore posted this tribute –

Rest in peace Billy.

And finally…interventions

Tractor Sazi’s ?ime Gregov made a calamitous intervention on behalf of his side in the Asian Champions league this week – bungling the ball into his own net as he attempted to clear it. His intervention helped his team slide towards a 3-0 defeat. ‘We go again’ and all that, though, eh?


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