Vital Football

Exeter did show signs of Pompey improvement

Exeter did show signs of Pompey improvement

In the immediate aftermath of the draw with Exeter on Saturday I was pretty despondent, in an article earlier this week I said 'I was as gutted as anyone that Exeter scored in injury-time to deny us a vital win'.

Ok, in all honesty the reality was that 'gutted' was an overstatement, as I was not gutted.

What I was though was 'disappointed' by the goal and the manor in which we allowed them to come back into the game. Thing is, it was something I always thought was coming and in truth I do not - I cannot lie - feel too much win, lose or draw these days.

Sorry, I just do not...

My personal circumstances in life have changed over the years and that has led to a shift in priorities with other things far more important to me these days but football is not football anymore is it, this has changed and not for the better over the years.

Too much money is in the game and is killing it and too many years of turmoil and crooked bloody owners shafting us and ripping the heart and soul out of Portsmouth football club has certainly killed something for me with this club that, fan ownership or not now, cannot be brought back...

Do not take that as me 'not caring', as I still care but I was not 'gutted' that Exeter denied us 3pts and it did not 'ruin my weekend' like it once would have in the past.

Having had a good 48-hours or so to reflect on this game, and put it in its place, the reality was that it was not actually as bad as I might have told myself it was immediately after it ended - I viewed it almost as another 'wasted afternoon' at that time.

Was it really though?

No, as once I stopped and reflected on it from a footballing point of view we did show improvement I think and it was, all in all, the best that I would say I have seen us play in a while.

I am not a manager, I do not have the pressures that go with being this and it is easy to play 'the boss' from the stands, but I still feel that we need to show more attacking intent as we sat back and again invited too much pressure on ourselves yet again and pretty much from the minute we scored.

What I will say is we broke on the counter-attack very well quite a few times during the 90-minutes.

The thing we did not make the most of were these breaks with the finishing either poor, Exeter managing to defend well or we were not clinical enough with that final pass - several players put in a good shift and showed a really good level of commitment.

Sitting back and inviting pressure is something we must stop doing as we cannot see it out.

Positives signs were shown and I would certainly agree with some that have said 'if we keep playing like that we will stay up' as we will, but we would make it harder work than we need to as sitting back looking to invite the pressure will more often than not see us unable to withstand this pressure, like the weekend.

We switched off, and allowing Exeter to take a quick throw-in that deep into injury-time was criminal but in all fairness I would say, on the whole, that was the only real momentary lapse of concentration at the back and we are looking more solid in defence.

Conceding an equaliser that late into the game can make a draw seem like a defeat but upon reasoned reflection, even if it was 2pts lost and not really a point gained, performance wise I thought we looked much better than I had seen us in some while.

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Date:Tuesday February 11 2014
Time: 12:20PM


Your 'rosy-specs' view is understandable and important and I agree in principle but most teams have good patches, although we don't seem to; less worse patches might be more accurate. Also the culture of losing following three almost consecutive relegations seems to be showing no sign of abating. As I've said before I reckon our squad is full of decent players, the manager has a decent track record, the board are brilliant and the attendances phenomenal. So, to me, it looks like a culture of losing. How do we deal with that? I don't know.
11/02/2014 14:17:00
Well Rug... I will say this. If I'd have put down a big wedge of cash in the final four minutes I'd have won myself a packet... I just knew it was coming, I could feel it. However... as sickening as it was, I took heart from what was being said on the Exeter forums. They felt they were let off and should have been buried if we'd put away our chances... we were the better team. Now, whether that counts as "positive signs of improvement" I don't know. In my opinion the jury's out on that one along with RB's stewardship. Let's see how we perform against Wimbledon at "HOME". We live in interesting times... PUP
12/02/2014 13:17:00
That is probably the key thing isnt it, CAN we do this at home?
I came away from the game bemoaning another wasted afternoon, but when I did stop and think about it - having witnessed it with my own eyes and not being 'blinkered' - we played as well, on the whole, as I have seen us play for a while.
My general lack of enthusiasm about how thing have been clouded that initial judgement, but like I say in the cold light of day I took some positives from the display.
Will Saturday be on?
I do not know, but I had made up my mind leaving Exeter that I wasnt travelling... I had had enough and wanted 'a break'. I still will not travel, but this is as much down to the fact that travelling from Dawlish to Portsmouth on the train will be a real nightmare at the moment anyway.
Thinking a break is what I need and will take it this weekend...
12/02/2014 23:35:00
Would not say I have had my rose-specs on Et_tu... trust me I am FAR from that but just, upon reflection from my earlier thoughts, that some positives had to be taken from Exeter as it was the best I had seen us in ages, even if it wasnt great!
12/02/2014 23:36:00
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