Pompey v Plymouth: The opposition view

The first half of the season saw Plymouth playing some fantastic football, solid at the back and scoring plenty of goals.

Saturday, 16th April 2016, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:32 pm
Plymouth midfielder Graham Carey Picture: Sharon Lucey

They were displays which ensured Derek Adams’ side were 10 points clear of fourth spot at one stage in January.

Everything was looking good for promotion.

Then came a run of five victories out of 16 matches – or you could put it as two wins from the past eight.

Currently, the Pilgrims find themselves fifth – three points off the automatic promotion places.

In a season of two halves, they have lost their way in the last couple of months and these are frustrating times at Home Park.

During this period, silly individual mistakes have been made, lots of late goals conceded, while scoring has been harder to come by. Not a great recipe for success.

There have also been a few injuries within a small squad, preventing a settled team, while the manager has been attempting a few different formations as he tries to uncover a winning formula.

Somehow, Argyle need to turn it all around, starting against Portsmouth.

They have certainly been unfortunate up front, with the prolific Reuben Reid out through three or four different injuries during the season.

Ryan Brunt came in and filled the void perfectly, a big target man with 10 goals, before damaging his crucial knee ligament.

The current top-scorer is Jake Jervis, who started the campaign really well.

He scored lots of goals despite not really being employed as an out-and-out striker, instead operating on the right of a 4-2-3-1 system.

He presently has 12, but they have dried up recently.

Still, it has been a decent first season from the ex-Pompey player who, like everyone, has not been as good in the second half of the campaign.

This has been a bad time to go on a bad run and, understandably, confidence is not good.

They were 1-0 up and cruising at Exeter, only to lose 2-1 which was particularly painful.

Meanwhile, last week they lost to an 88th-minute winner from AFC Wimbledon.

In terms of star performers, Graham Carey has been very good in midfield.

He has 10 goals, takes set-pieces, creates and can play off the main striker or out wide, although medial knee ligament damage in November has checked his season.

Since returning two months later, he has not hit the heights he scaled before – but then neither has the rest of the team.

Plymouth probably need to win four out of their remaining five games to go up, there’s no margin for error.