Date:Sunday August 26 2012
Sometimes you need a bit of a 'reminder' or 'wakeup call' as to where you are, and perhaps Saturday did this for us when we were beaten 4-2 at Carlisle.
It has been another difficult summer, almost certainly our most difficult of a number of them. The moves that Appy has made, with the players he has been able to attract, is nothing short of miraculous but we still face a tough old season.
Good results, and to be fair some cracking football played, might have left some - if I am honest maybe even myself included - a little too expectant going into the game at Brunton Park but Carlisle, definitely one of the better sides in this league, reminded us what the score is...
I was not there, I could not even listen to commentary - not living in the Hampshire area - so I will just have to bow to what Appy said with his post-match comments on The Pompey Site.
He felt that a 'slow start' to the game and 'not working hard enough' proved our undoing: 'we didn't start the game well enough and didn't get much better. We said all the right things at half-time but started the second half in the same vain.
'All four of their goals were more than preventable. We were a little bit kamikaze and our goals at the end were too little, too late.
'I was more angry about the build-up to the second goal than the fact it was a free header. If you're going to concede that sort of goal then you're going to give yourself a mountain to climb.
'I don't think we worked hard enough to get anything from that game.'
Discipline is key to remaining in games, certainly getting back into them if you go behind, and this was something we lacked.
A 'gung-ho' approach is not what he wanted, and will not want to see again, as we look to respond to falling behind. Lessons have been learnt by him, with him hopeful the players will have too: 'at times we played some good stuff - towards the end of the game we were free-flowing and got at them.
'But I said at the end of the game that we don't have to go gung-ho. If we do go behind then we have to be disciplined.
'We'll create a lot of chances and we will score goals, so we have to be a bit more professional at the other end.
'You learn more from your defeats than you do your good performances and I learnt a lot about all the players.'
Like I said to start, that reminder that might have been needed as to where we are was given to us and definitely saw us 'come back down to earth'...
You have good days, and some bad days lets just hope like Appy feels this is a rare one of those bad days: 'everyone has to come back down to earth now. It's going to be a long season and we need a lot of support from our brilliant fans. Hopefully we'll have more good days than bad days.'
A small squad has been reduced yet further with Kevin Long having to sit out the game against Oldham at Fratton next weekend following his late sending off for a second bookable offence.
Appy felt the decision was 'harsh' but knows that decision did not cost us the game: 'I thought it was a harsh decision - there wasn't a bad tackle in the whole game. But it's not the referee's fault we lost the game.'
What an end to the game though, three injury-time goals and one in the closing minutes, which included maiden strikes for Pompey from both Ashley Harris and Conor Clifford.
As Appy has previously said you learn more about your side in defeat, and gain more from what you can learn as a result. If he, and the players, can do this following this setback we will come back better and stronger for it.
My opinion was three games in a week was 'probably' a good thing for us as we looked to build up further form, fitness and team cohesion - having not seen the game it is tough to comment, but perhaps it was not and it was a game too far?
We have a good week now to reflect and correct the things that went wrong, also you would 'think' that the further off-the-field issues, which possibly did not help, will be resolved - with the identity of our new owners being know, whoever is successful with their takeover bid...
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Date:Sunday August 26 2012
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