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Portsmouth 1 - Burnley 5

Fratton Park

31-03-2012. 3pm

Attendance: 15,739

Portsmouth 1-5 Burnley

Prior to Pompey's must win game against Burnley I mentioned that we must be very wary of two things, fatigue and complacency. On a day which could have rallied our season into thrilling last month, those two defects came back to haunt us and possibly deliver the final nail into our brief Championship tenure.

Pompey's team was unchanged from Tuesday's victory over Hull, with Karim Rekik keeping his place ahead of Ricardo Rocha after his impressive performance in midweek. For Burnley, top scorer Jay Rodriguez was unable to shake off a groin strain in time, with Pompey's summer target Martin Paterson keeping his place.

The game started in similar fashion to Tuesday's game, with Portsmouth looking very comfortable and moving the ball around well. The Blues had a period of pressure winning a succession of corners but were unable to capitalise.

Despite the Pompey pressure, the opening goal came against the run of play, when Burnley's first corner of the game saw them pull off a well rehearsed routine, with Dean Marney dragging the ball across the face of the box to Kieran Trippier, whose low drive passed through a body of players and Jamie Ashdown to give the visitors an undeserved lead.

Their lead only lasted 3 minutes however as a neat ball from Thorne found Varney who powered past his man into the box before pulling back to Norris who struck the ball into the top corner from close range, to score against Burnley for the second time this season.

As the half progressed it was the hosts who continued to look the more dangerous, and nearly took the lead 5 minutes before the break, but Burnley goalscorer Trippier made the vital clearance after Allan's crossed was heading for Maguire.

The Clarets almost took an unlikely lead in the dying embers of the half, but Jamie Ashdown was equal to Ben Mee's shot which took a heavy deflection off Thorne, which ensured the teams went in with a goal apiece.

If conceding a goal before halftime would have been a hammer blow, Danny Ings made sure Eddie Howe's half time team talk had hit home, as within 90 seconds of the restart they had retaken the lead after heading home from David Edgar's cross.

Pompey nearly responded instantly again, as a corner swung in from Scott Allen fell for Norris, who nearly got his second of the game, but fired high and wide, among protestations that he was upended.

As the half progressed Pompey grew increasingly impatient and the game opened up with Burnley slowing the pace down well. Michael Appleton responded halfway through the half by taking off Ward and Allen and bringing on Marco Futacs and Kelvin Etuhu.

The change almost paid off instantly as Etuhu stormed down the wing and beat his man to deliver a perfect cross for Luke Varney, whose header flashed inches wide of the post.

That missed proved to be very costly in Portsmouth's season, as within a minute Burnley had doubled their lead, with Charlie Austin taking advantage of static defending, sliding the ball past Ashdown from close range.

Burnley's third goal took all the sting out of a tired looking Pompey, and suddenly they seemed incapable of moving the ball around. After such a promising first half Pompey were undone by a second half that started bad and got progressively worse.

Things got even worse in stoppage time, with Charlie Austin scoring another two goals as Pompey totally switched off, first scoring after a mistake from Jason Pearce and then finding space to fire high past Ashdown after a ball from Josh McQuoid.

Inquests will go on as to why we lost his game so convincingly after looking so strong in the first half. No doubt fatigue will be the primary excuse but it is important that this defeat is put well behind us.

With 6 games to go, the gap is now 5 points to safety, and Pompey will need an extra-special miracle to overcome that gap. What better place to start that miracle than St. Mary's?

Star Player

Not many that impressed today, especially in a second half where we didn't seem to leave the dressing room. Tough choice but I have to pick someone so I'll go for George Thorne, who was consistently reliable on the ball and seemed to be involved in every good move during our more impressive spells in the first half.




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The Journalist

Writer: alexcrewe Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday March 31 2012

Time: 5:18PM

Your Comments

My 1000th game and one I will definitely want to forget. Good accurate report as always Frippy and I agree with Thorne as our best player but he limped off late on sadly. Still win or lose, up the blues!!
eastneydave
Very rare we concede 5 at home to anybody, let alone a mid table, out of form team like Burnley. Well my daughters winnibg streak also comes to end too. we were good in the first half & there was only going to be one winner come the second half. Too many tired minds & legs. Some awful defending & oh what the fck, let's put it right next Saturday!
storagematt
Took my 11year old to his sixth game today, not seen us win yet!
paultsmouth
But why can't we get 3 results right after each other? After winning against Brum we though "hey we can do this if we beat Cov!" and we got trashed... then winning against Hull gave us belief, but hey ho, here we go again! :( a very sad Pompey day me guess!
Pompey Malta
at half time i never saw a 5-1 defeat coming, tbh i do not even think i saw a defeat coming!
1st half wasnt great by anymeans but as 1st halves 'usually' go with pompey i thought it was ok... 2nd half totally unacceptable tho.

its not over yet but if we cannot string together a run of victories we cannot stay up - we need to go on an win 2 or 3 in a row, but winning, losing, winning, losing will not see us stay up....
pompeyrug
congratulations on 1000 games dave, not the way to celebrate tho was it!
pompeyrug
Difficult to know what to say after that, a bit shellshocked really! I;d started to get a bit of confidence, at least about the home games. Its tough to keep believing we can stay up now.
tracyc
Good report Frippy but i have to disagree with a few things. As soon as we kicked off the team didn't seem to have the hunger they had on Tuesday. They all seemed a bit flat, as if Appy had asked them not to come out of the blocks so quickly today. I agree that the first half we COULD have dominated, however the entire team didn't seem to have their hearts in the game. Quite a few of the players were squabbling with each other. and they didn't seem to have the killer urge that they seemed to have on Tuesday. The second half saw this get even worse! Whenever there was a break towards the opposing goal no one wanted to bust a gut to get up there and usually ended up with the breaking player arriving on his own. The apathy was not from one particular player, it was throughout the team. They all played reasonably well but none of them wanted to attack with the ball. Again Varney having a good first half and then a poor second. I think my feelings were summed up when the youngster broke from the back with the ball, got to almost the goalpoast and then had to cut back as there was no one joining him in the box! How are we ever going to stay in this league if no one is making the effort? I think that TBH seems to be the only player who is consistent! I also have to say that although Appy's tactics are getting better, he needs to really look at what he is doing! Blackpool changed 7 men for their game against Scum and went away 3-0 winners. We have a bit of a squad now, so rotate the players a little! In all my years going to the park this is the ONLY game I have left early! DISAPPOINTED!
MadPhill
Have to agree with MadPhill here. Have posted on the forum that something didn't feel quite right from the off. This was summed up by Ashdown not chasing down the ball that went off for the corner which led to their opening goal. Sometimes matches can turn on one stiff challenge, something to lift the players and crowd alike. They didn't seem quite up fir it in the first half and the second half was abysmal. Lost for words really and dread to think what may happen to us next week if we run out a st fairy's with that attitude. We are often referred to (quite rightly) as Pompey's 12th man, but for pity's sake lads, give us something to cling to!
Emsworthianblue
 

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