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Portsmouth match report
15 August 2015 17:59 Post ID: #71364
Argyle 1 - 2 Portsmouth

The early season optimism took a blow today as Argyle were well beaten by two penalties from a very good Portsmouth team.

We just couldn't get going against an excellent Portsmouth team who hassled us, dominated the midfield and stopped us from playing, the match possession stats of 38%/62% tells most of the story.

Pompey had a big helping hand from their new signing Steve Martin, he literally gave everything for his team and we just couldn't cope with him.

In truth, we struggled but ultimately if it wasn't for a silly foul by Gary Sawyer that gave away a penalty we would have gained a lucky point.

Argyle manager Derek Adams kept the same 4-2-3-1 formation as in previous games, just before kick-off the players clapped the crowd which went down very well and the fans responded by raising the atmosphere, which up until that point was once again drowned out by the pre-match music.

Pompey benefitted from some early rebounds that went their way which left Evans in a one-on-one situation with Luke McCormick who then pulled off a great save.
Up until this point Steve Martin, who was strangely wearing black instead of a blue shirt, hadn't yet taken centre stage for Pompey.

We couldn't handle Pompey closing us down while in possession which resulted in several players giving the ball away. Reuben Reid was isolated up front and looked a frustrated player.

Midway through the first half we enjoyed some pressure which ended in Graham Carey sending a good volley just over the bar.
With one minute of injury time shown on the board Harim Boateng did well to clear the ball near the corner flag but his clearance hit a Pompey player, another lucky rebound for the away team, and Stevens raced away, Boateng tried to stop him but brought him down and a stonewall penalty was given.
Tubbs made no mistake and after riding out the Pompey pressure and looking to get to half time all square we were now behind.

The second half belonged to Martin who dominated the play for his new team, every 50-50 went Pompey's way, the free-kick spray was used only for when Argyle were defending but not when Pompey were defending which allowed a yard or two to be stolen.

Skipper Curtis Nelson took an elbow to the face and had to go off for treatment and walked down the tunnel, Adams didn't wait around and subbed him for Ryan Brunt with Carl McHugh dropping back into defence. The bemused Nelson returned with a new shirt expecting to take his place on the pitch but was told he was subbed, he didn't look happy.

We rarely threatened the Pompey defence during the second half and a silly trip from Sawyer gave a away another penalty and Roberts converted.
The two penalty decisions were the only decisions Martin got right all game!

With only a few minutes left Gregg Wylde seized on a loose ball to thump it into the net and make it 2-1.
We tried to grab an equaliser and the ball bobbled around the Pompey area but it wasn't to be and to be fair Pompey were the better team and I expect them to be in the top 3 at the end of the season.

There was too much space between Reid and the midfield, I was very disappointed with Carey, he's good with the ball at his feet but needs to do the dirty work and "get stuck in", lets hope he's not a fancy dan.

McHugh tried his best but isn't suited in the midfield for a home game especially when the opposition have pin-pointed the midfield area and had a gameplan to close down.
Boateng got better as the game wore on, Tanner had some good spells but is prone to giving the ball away.

We looked shaky at the back early doors although credit to Peter Hartley and co. for sticking to the task and getting better as the game progressed but the midfield didn't give the defenders much protection.
Brunt made a difference when he came on and helped ease the pressure on Reid.

Maybe the 4-2-3-1 formation needs adjusting for home games and not leave Reid so isolated, there again I doubt if we'll come up against a team as good as Pompey for a while.
Adams needs to look at the positions of McHugh and Carey and how they line-up for home games. We need an extra striker for home games, I reckon.

Put this defeat down as the players still learning, a good away team and an absolute poor referee.
Well played Pompey!

Man of the match: Wylde.

McCormick 6, Mellor 5, Nelson 7, Hartley 7, Sawyer 5, McHugh 5, Boateng 6, Carey 4, Wylde 7, Tanner 6, Reid 6, Brunt 6.
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