Reflections on Leeds draw
Once again Pompey's defensive frailties, and an inability to 'kill off' an opponent, cost us at Fratton as we let a lead slip, not once but twice - this time though we were not beaten as we drew with Leeds 2-2.
I say it 'cost us' although I completely enjoyed the game, I really did, lights going out an all - this felt like 'real football' again and all in all a draw 'probably' was fairest.
Steve Cotterill knows that we paid the price for not getting that second goal that our 1st half dominance should have brought but he too, all in all thought that a draw was fairest: 'we've played attacking football all season.
'A draw was probably a fair result. We've had two good games against Leeds with plenty of goals and plenty of entertainment.
'We were excellent in the first half but we needed that second goal. If we had got that I think we would have definitely gone on and won the game. But that second goal proved elusive, and then you're always at risk of letting them back into it.'
To be honest, for the life of me, I cannot remember what happened but Cotterill was unhappy with a free kick that led to one of Leeds' goals, and made this known: 'the linesman gave Leeds a very soft free-kick that led to their equaliser. It was very, very harsh.'
In another report I read on sky sports he was quite 'scathing' in his comments about the ref - who, to be fair, had a p**s poor game! Then again is that always, or at least usually the way?
I cannot remember the last time we had a good ref at Fratton...
Once again Joel Ward turned in a fine performance which was capped with an equally fine goal.
Again though Cotterill spoke about him wanting Ward to be 'more aggressive', as he had earlier in the week: 'I get under Joel's skin because on the pitch I don't want him to be the nice boy he is off it.'
'If he's going to survive out there he's got to become a man and become aggressive when he crosses the white line. Then when he comes off the pitch he can go back to being that very nice young man his parents have brought up.
'He works so hard and is so popular - you saw that from the reaction of the players when he scored his goal. He was man-of-the-match and I'm delighted for him.'
Yep, perhaps he does not to 'mean up' a little, although there is a fine line between aggression and thuggery - and we have seen some thuggish displays from players this season, and I would not always call that 'passionate' or 'aggressive' as Cotterill has.
What he needs to do is bulk up a little more, and I am sure he will over the summer. What we have to remember is Marc Wilson previously did this, and his strength was spoken of by Tiny Penis (Tony Pulis) just this week who said that he expects the former Pompey man to go on to big things.
I am delighted for Ward though, it is always good to see a youth product make it, even more so if they are a local - he continues to prove Cotterill wrong, who to be fair has admitted as much.
It makes me wonder if others could do the same given the chance, dare I even say would have had this chance come along...
The partnership of Ibrahima Sonko and Greg Halford was praised, and to be fair this was good until the injury to Ritchie de Laet saw this broken up: 'I thought Halford and Sonko did well at the back today - on that evidence the best central defensive combination we've had all season.'
I cannot really disagree with Cotterill on that one. Admittedly I was not too sure when I saw them lining up together, but it worked.
The problem with Sonko is that he 'panics' and the more those around him panic the worse he gets, and once we concede a goal - which we are ALWAYS likely to - a lot of the players do that and he 'freaks out', for lack of a better word.
All in all though, as said, I really enjoyed this game - the football, from both sides, was good, the entertainment value top class and the 'feel good' factor was felt. A real throwback to 'the old days', and I loved it! The lights going out, not once but twice, just seemed to add to it!
Bring on Burnley, it is time for a win against Eddie Howe's team...
PLAY UP POMPEY!