Pompey striker calls for defensive improvement

David Connolly admitted Pompey need to tighten up their defensive game after watching them surrender a deserved victory at Accrington Stanley.

Peter Murphy netted an 85th-minute leveller to seal a 2-2 draw at the Crown Ground on Saturday.

David Connolly was disappointed not to beat Accrington on Saturday Picture: Ste Jones

David Connolly was disappointed not to beat Accrington on Saturday Picture: Ste Jones

Just six minutes earlier, Connolly scored the second of two goals which appeared to have set the visitors on their way to a first win of the campaign.

That would have been thoroughly deserved for Guy Whittingham’s men, who created plenty of chances against James Beattie’s side in a strong attacking display.

But like the opening day against Oxford, defensive vulnerabilities were highlighted when Murphy headed home the equaliser from close range.

And it was tough to take for Connolly, who has now scored in every division during his 19-year career.

‘Going forward on Saturday we had a lot of good elements but have now conceded seven goals in three games,’ he said.

‘As a team we obviously need to stop giving fouls away, stop set-plays into our box, block crosses, block shots and fight for the ball – all the little nuts and bolts which add up to winning matches.

‘Then we have to hope we are good enough players to nick a goal or two at the other end.

‘There is plenty to work on, defensively and going forward and that has to be done on the training ground.

‘Based on a lot of good work expended against Accrington, to come away with one point was fairly hard to take.

‘We scored two goals and there were really good passages of play from the team but to just to get a point is tough.

‘We cut them open at times quite easily but sticking the ball into the net is the hardest thing to do.

‘That is the icing on the cake, the final ball, the final pass, the final shot.

‘I am not sure if we could have scored more or should have scored more, though.’

Connolly picked up where he left off last season, causing the opposition plenty of problems.

His partnership with Patrick Agyemang once again sparkled and, by rights, should have yielded plenty more goals on the day.

Connolly hauled the visitors level in the second half after Murphy had put Accrington in front.

Then Agyemang won the penalty for Connolly to net his second of the match and put Whittingham’s men ahead.

Murphy had the final say, although Andy Barcham did strike the far post late on and substitute Ryan Bird missed a glorious opportunity.

Connolly added: ‘I felt we looked a bit leggy in the second half.

‘And the opposition possibly made substitutions which gave them (Accrington) a bit of impetus.

‘We just seemed to lose a bit of cut and thrust towards the end and I don’t know whether that told in the last 15 to 20 minutes or not.’