Taylor reflects on missed opportunity

Ryan Taylor in action for Pompey against Exeter on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler
Ryan Taylor in action for Pompey against Exeter on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler

A point away from home on the opening day of a new campaign is rarely a reason for too much soul-searching.

Wind back the calendar a year and Pompey were licking their wounds after being humbled 4-1 on their own turf by Oxford United.

All that optimism was blown away with a swift dose of League Two reality.

But while Pompey came away relatively satisfied with their showing in the 1-1 draw at Exeter City on Saturday, Ryan Taylor admitted there was just a slight feeling they had missed their chance to put a marker down with a convincing victory and send out a message to the rest of the division.

The Blues striker said: ‘Maybe it was a missed opportunity to start the season with a win.

‘We gave ourselves a bit of a mountain to climb by going one goal down.

‘We’ve got a few new players so it’s tough to get everything to gel from the first minute of the first game.

‘We’ve done a lot of work in pre-season but it might take a bit of time before we can find that consistency we need to have a really good go at this league this season.

‘But we pushed on in the second half and had a few chances to go on and win it.

‘It was probably a fair result to come away with a draw.

‘We weren’t looking at the game and thinking “we don’t want to get beaten”.

‘But we are off the mark with a point and it’s a better start than it was last season.

‘Now we need to build on that and get ourselves up towards the top of the league.’

While Pompey were by no means awful in the first 45 minutes, they certainly didn’t have the kind of authority and command of the game they showed after the interval.

And if they hadn’t conceded a poor Tom Nichols goal from a set-piece and instead gone into the break at 0-0, they would surely have gone on to claim a moral-boosting three points to set them up for the campaign.

Taylor said: ‘We gave away a sloppy goal and that gave Exeter the confidence to start playing with a bit of swagger.

‘They were keeping the ball better than we were and we were giving it away.

‘But in the second half, we were on the front foot a bit more and we were much more on top.

‘That second half has to be the benchmark for us now in terms of our performance.

‘That’s what we wanted to play like in the first half as well.

‘We were on the back foot too much but then it was a big improvement.’

After getting back on level terms through Jed Wallace on 74 minutes, Pompey never looked like conceding a second goal.

But they could not convert their pressure into a winner.

‘We could have nicked the 2-1 win because we had plenty of chances in the second half,’ added Taylor.

‘I thought we really applied the pressure in the second half and got at them a bit more.

‘But we’ve got a point on the board and we go from there.

‘When I first came, we were conceding a lot of late goals so maybe we might have lost that game at times last season.

‘We had a good end to the season and we want that to carry on.’