Reflections on Coventry defeat
Last night against Coventry mirrored the weekend game against Preston in many ways, for large periods, although it was worse...
For the majority of the 1st half it was like, for me, watching a training game with several - and to be fair not just our players - simply looking as though they were 'going through the motions' of what they would have considered a meaningless end of season game?
Steve Cotterill did not think that we deserved to lose and the 3-0 defeat particularly harsh: 'we didn't deserve to lose, let alone lose 3-0.
'It was very painful for our lads to play in that game, and I thought they showed courage until the last minute.'
I did not think that Coventry were that 'special' although I do think that defeat was, all in all, what we warranted in many ways...
I will say though that there were a few, despite my earlier thoughts, that you could visibly see were hurrying play along right until the death even at 3-0 down, so that was encouraging to see - although once again for the ones that were doing this throughout it was players at less than half pace throughout that would bring this down.
Yet again we saw some poor officiating, although for me even if this might have made life harder it would not have really altered the fact we would have lost.
Cotterill was visibly seething at a number of decisions and has confirmed that the red card for Hayden Mullins will be appealed: 'I can't say too much publicly about some of the decisions that were made. There was one obstacle we couldn't overcome, and it wasn't Coventry City.
'The first goal was a penalty, but the free-kick leading up to it wasn't.
'The second one was not a penalty. We will 100 per cent be appealing Hayden Mullins' sending off.
'It was never handball. The ball was kicked from two yards away onto his thigh, and it's bounced onto his hand. His hand hasn't even moved.'
We remain 9pts off the play-offs with only 5 games remaining so it is almost a nailed on, cast iron certainty that we now know that next season will see us in the nopower league again and Cotterill admits that he has know in his 'heart of hearts' for a while that we would not make it.
With that in mind he said that he tried a few different things, one of which was a start for Danny Webber - his first in 13-months, which 'should' benefit him: 'I've perhaps known in my heart of hearts for a while that they play-offs have been beyond us. But for sure that result has killed us absolutely stone dead.
'I went with two up front and in the first half we got in a couple of times with Dave Kitson rolling the ball through to Danny Webber. If we had scored either of them it would have been a different game.
'But maybe when Danny has had a few games and is a bit sharper, those chances will go in for him. I needed to get Danny involved so I could learn exactly where he is.'
Now for us to try and end the season with some pride, starting in Wales this weekend - bring on Cardiff!
PLAY UP POMPEY!