Reflections on Forest defeat
Pompey slipped to another defeat yesterday, and quite 'probably' the most 'gutting' of the season when we somehow managed to let victory slip away to defeat in the dying moments at Forest...
Steve Cotterill was 'bitterly disappointed' because he felt that we deserved to win the game.
He could not fault the effort, character of spirit shown on or off the pitch though: 'we scored the best goal of the game and deserved to win. For 87 minutes we were good. I'm bitterly disappointed we lost.
'But I'm proud of the players for the character and spirit they showed while our fans were magnificent as usual. We just ran out of good players.
'I went to the fans at the end because I knew, as Portsmouth diehards, they would be as sick to the pit of their stomachs as I was.
'We came to a team that had not lost in the league at home for 31 games and they would not have come any closer to getting beaten during that run.'
Until that 87th minute we held a 1-0 lead, and held 'relatively' firm, but then Ibrahima Sonko scored a horrible own goal - it does not look pretty when you see it.
Even so Cotterill believes that someone else 'could' have dealt with it before it arrived to Sonko, who he praised for having a good game: 'it was an own-goal by Sonks but one of our other central defenders can shuffle around and deal with it before it gets to him.
'I feel sorry for Sonks because he'd headed away every ball that had come into our box. But we haven't lost the game because of an own-goal.'
The fact that no one else did deal with it means it was Sonko's to deal with, and for whatever reason he did not. As a manager I guess you cannot publically slate the guy but almost shifting blame to others to compensate does not sit with me, then again is this a good morale booster or not?
To be fair, apart from some moments of uncertainty - that you KNOW you will get from Sonko - he did sound as though he was clearing, all in all, what he had to.
The problem is you know that there is at least one major rick in the defender in each game he plays, to be fair other defender too, you just hope that it is not too costly. Sadly this one was...
In the end, with only 4 subs named, and only one of the outfield players fully fit - yet inexperienced - Cotterill felt we 'ran out of legs', and subs, and could not hold on: 'we ran out of legs and ran out of subs.
'On the bench we had Hermann Hreidarsson, who still isn't ready to play after his injury and Tom Kilbey, who has never started a game in his life and Ricardo Rocha, who wasn't fit.
'But we had to put Tom up front because Kanu had run his socks off and John Utaka had tweaked a hamstring.'
We may well have run out of legs and sub but there should be no excuse for the deep line of defence, which dropped deeper and deeper and invited more and more pressure on to it from Forest, as the 2nd half wore on.
It was becoming clearer by the minute that passed, especially as we moved into the final 10-15 minutes, that we would pay the price for this deep line - that was obvious, even to someone not watching in the ground and that must change as this is not a one off is it either, we have done this several times this season and paid the price.
All that said we 'probably' would have got away with it had more options been available, so as much as we aided our own downfall, and I do not want us to play the 'numbers game' card too much it is inevitable this does have an impact...
Now we have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down, and get ready for back-to-back Fratton games in quick succession - the first of which is against highflying Leeds.
Cotterill knows this will be a mighty task but we will 'keep going' and have a team ready to face them: 'we need to keep on going. I'll just carry on doing the job to the best of my ability.
'We've all had a severe kick in the teeth, but the key to this game is to take the kicks in the teeth and then keep going forward. I'm a glass half-full person. By 3pm next Saturday we'll have a team out there to face Leeds.'
Leeds will be tough, then again ALL games are tough in the nopower league - you quite literally will not get an easy ride at this level.
I was gutted, disappointed and angry, I still feel low at this moment, although this is now getting out of the system. Wallowing in our own self pity will get us nowhere will it, lets - as said - pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and go again, we fight on because it IS the Pompey way.
Bring on the Leeds...
PLAY UP POMPEY!