Pompey stay in same groove at Ricoh
Well all the 'brand new dawn' stuff was a bit premature, Pompey went up to the Midlands full of optimism after escaping a winding up order on thursday, trouble allis, all the old frailties came back to haunt us.
Pompey could only name 4 subs, all youngsters by all accounts, Boateng was suspiciously absent, rumours flying he had refused to play amongst the Fratton faithful, more likey, well hopefully, he was putting pen to Italian paper.
Jamie Ashdown made his second debut, while Sonko took his place alongside Mokoena in defence. Matt Ritchie was forced to deputise at left-back after Jordan's desertion, John Utaka meanwhile did play (alledgedly) he was wider than centre-forward though, Nugent ploughing a lone furrow on his own, a tactic which seems to be set in stone at Fratton.
Pompey were looking to show these Championship lot that we were still a Premier team in all but name, well in the 4th minute it all went horribly wrong. A corner was swung in, it was not cleared and Freddy 'Pikey' Eastwood fired home, right through the transparent Ashdown, it was like last season had never ended.
Pompey were pulling all the strings in midfield, Wilson particularly showing his range of passing, but that was where we remained, all nice little triangles in the centre, the killer ball however remained neutered, Nugent was not fed once to earn a realistic chance at goal, while Utaka was content to play like, well John Utaka!
Matt Ritchie was trying his hardest to get forward, but both he and Smith could not get behind a rookie Coventry defence. When the dead ball chances arrived they were dealt with easily and Westwood in the home goal must of loved his day.
Pompey's fans were as vociferous as ever, our travelling support were making themselves well heard and at least that part of the club is in safe hands.
The second half arrived and with it a bit more urgency from Coventry, they were keeping Pompey at bay quite compentently, they played more as the away team, soaking up pressure and hitting on the break, they almost made it two straight away, Mullins doing well to divert another Eastwood effort wide.
The Wesh international from Essex was not to be denied however, a Bell centre landed right on his button and he headed powerfully home.
That was effectively that, Pompey still huffed and tried, while Coventry played with new found freedom. A little stat to note was that had been 2 shots on target all match, both were goals, both 'keepers were relatively quiet, one didn't have to make a trying save while the other only had to pick the ball out twice.
Pompey suddenly decided to up the ante with about 5 minutes left, all to late of course, Nugent had a half shot on the turn blocked and then Wilson lined up a free-kick. Our new captain took careful aim and saw his shot smack the post, Westwood may well have got a finger to it, but it was too little too late, we started a season how we did last season, hopefully the next 6 games will not have the same result!
I'm not trying to sound too harsh on Pompey, we have a wafer-thin squad, this Mr.Redknapp is bare bones! But the 11 who started had plenty of Premiership experience amongst them, only Matt Ritchie was a relative novice, the slads who came on in Gregory and Ciftci did well, but Steve Cotterill will probably be on the phone right now trying to get in a left back and a striker.