No Panic, Room For Improvement

PST Youth Committee member, Harrison Dunks headed to Notts County for Pompey’s first visit to Meadow Lane  since September 2012.  

Ever since the fixture list was released, this was the one away game that stood out for me. A big club, with a big ground (not that they come close to filling it!) and a chance to get another 3 points against a side who will certainly be “up there” come May. So, after missing out on all away games (except Crawley) this year, and missing last week’s home match to Mansfield, it’s fair to say I was looking forward to this one! First of all came the very unwelcome 4-8am shift, before the 3 and a half hour drive up country. Not the best shift, but thankfully a good journey, and the pub was here before we knew it!


After a classic football away day Wetherspoon’s lunch washed down with a few pints in the red side of Nottingham, it was time to walk across the river bridge and onto the other side of the footballing city. Tickets out and up the stairs we went, with seats right at the front of the walkway (with about 500 people walking past!).

Not a bad view, although at first think it’s fair to say the sun was blocking most people’s view of the pitch during the warm up, as you could just about see the shooting drill which was taking place right in front of us! Luckily for us, it eventually went down behind the County stand right in time for kick off.


Cookie made a couple of changes, with Adam McGurk & Gareth Evans returning from injury and suspension respectively. A couple of positive changes, and with an unchanged back four who had only conceded 1 in their last 3, I think it’s fair to say most of the 2,162 travelling fans were quietly optimistic ahead of the game.


[Photo: Paul Marriott]

The game started and quickly became a very open affair with County dominating possession in the first 5 minutes (although not really doing much with it..). Pompey then came alive and started to take a firm grip of the game, creating plenty of chances early on.

Gareth Evans should’ve scored when going through 1 on with 1 Roy Carroll, but his shot was saved and Evans forgot to look for the rebound which was travelling a yard or so behind him!

This was followed by a McLeod offside goal, much to the enjoyment of the travelling support, who were glad to see the back of him when he left largely due to his lack of effort.

Some great combination play down the left by Stevens & Bennett led to a simple “Matt Tubbs esc” tap in by Caolan Lavery, who put us 1-0 up with about 20 minutes gone.


[Photo: Official PFC/Joe Pepler]

Although the lead didn’t last for long as the very open game then went to 1-1, as Burke finished well from just inside his own box levelling the scores. A good game so far between two good sides, with it continuing its very open theme.

Then followed by possibly the best individual bit of play from the unexpected Adam Webster who travelled from inside his own half taking on around 4 players before striking against the post for which otherwise would be been a certain goal of the season!

Half-time came around with the scores still level, despite what I think is probably Pompey’s best half of football yet this year. On came a local youth football team who played a match right in front of the Pompey fans, all of whom were ‘umming’ and & ‘aaring’ as people went through on goal, took people on etc etc. Although neither team could find a way through, final score: 0-0!

Not sure what happened during the interval in the dressing room, as the team at came out second half was complete abject, lacking ideas & with quality in all areas missing. Both teams continued to chase the game but it was really County who looked better going forward, with the 3 behind Lavery becoming more and more frustrated as the game went on.

Tollitt came on who looked promising and direct whenever he got the ball. However, around 20 seconds after he came on, Sheehan put County in front with possibly the worst goal we’ll concede all year. A free kick which just evaded everyone, and somehow ended up going in! 2-1 down.

Chaplin came on along with Tubbs, but nothing quite seemed to click in the first half as it did for us in the first. A frustrating afternoon was made worse for the Pompey fans as McLeod decided to celebrate right in front of us, provoking a reaction from me and plenty of others!

The whistle was blown and overall a good advert for League Two football, but no points on the road for the first team this season. I certainly think that County were there for the taking, and a couple of errors led to us not getting anything from the game.

As Cook said, we’ve won games were we’ve played a lot worse than that. Certainly nothing to panic about but definitely room for improvement. Top 3 in November, certainly would’ve taken that in August. Think a welcome week away from the league in the FA Cup will do us well. PUP

Player ratings:

Murphy: 6 – Not sure defence are happy with him as keeper. Fails to control his area, but made a couple of good saves first half.

Davies: 7 – Excellent going forward, created lots of chances.

Webster: 7 – Solid as usual at the back. Uses the ball well when in possession.

Burgess: 7: Content at centre half.

Stevens: 7: Great assist for Lavery.

Doyle: 8 – Not usually a fan of Doyle but played really well.

Hollands: 7 – Too similar to Doyle. Done ok.

Bennett: 7 – Tried hard, combined well. Needs confidence back!

Evans: 6: Had chances, worked hard but no real end product.

McGurk: 7 – Played well. Influenced the game going forward.

Lavery: 7 – Deserved his goal. Faded in second half.

Get in touch on Twitter @PompeyNewsNow or via email if you would like to share your blog or fancy covering a game this season.

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