Season going nowhere unless defence improves

Marcus Bean's performance was the one positive for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler
Marcus Bean's performance was the one positive for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford fumed at Pompey’s suicidal defending and admitted: We won’t achieve anything unless it’s sorted.

The Blues fell to a frustrating 3-2 home loss to Accrington Stanley on an afternoon which delivered a result to forget at Fratton Park.

The defeat was the first loss in the league on Pompey’s own patch since the end of August.

Awford’s side started terribly and fell two goals behind in 15 minutes.

Failure to deal with Luke Joyce’s ball into the box led to Rob Atkinson firing in the opener.

Then John O’Sullivan was allowed to feed on a half clearance and score the second.

Pompey forced their way back into the game, however, with goals from the impressive Marcus Bean and Craig Westcarr.

They were looking the side more likely to go on and secure the win until Ben Chorley conceded possession to sub Shay McCartan with 12 minutes left.

The ball was worked to Piero Mingoia who made the most of the mistake and fired home from 20 yards.

Awford knows his team can’t keep shooting themselves in the foot when they are in the ascendancy.

And, with the gap to the play-offs now eight points, the errors are in grave danger of killing off their season.

Awford said: ‘It’s deja vu. We were looking more likely to score, like we were at Tranmere

‘But if you defend like we did you won’t win football matches.

‘If we conceded the last goal, which was an error, we should still win the game 2-1.

‘That’s the frustrating thing all round.

‘We didn’t start the game and weren’t at it for 15 minutes, that’s blatantly obvious to see.

‘We have enough play and ball to win matches but we’re giving away poor goals.

‘That’s what we have to cut out, otherwise we won’t go anywhere.’

Awford took some solace from the manner in which Pompey battled back from falling two goals behind.

He felt that showed character, even if it should never have been necessary.

He said: ‘The first two goals are from set-pieces. All three goals are poor goals from my point of view.

‘If we keep defending like that we’ll give ourselves mountains to climb.

‘We have actually nearly climbed it, though.

‘We’ve shown character to come back from two behind with two good goals.

‘I thought we were the dominant side but we’ve been undone again.’

One bright spot for Pompey was the forceful display of Bean in the middle of the park.

He got on the scoresheet with a cool finish from 20 yards and then led the fight as Pompey went in search of a second-half winner.

Awford saw the Colchester loanee’s performance as a positive for his side.

He said: ‘Marcus was excellent.

‘His performance deserved to put him on a winning side not the losing side.

‘He scored a good finish which he passed into the net.

‘He’s picking up a lot of second balls and driving us forward in the second half.

‘I thought he was excellent. He’s fitting in very well.’

Watch official highlights of Pompey v Accrington here.