Matt Fry on the Pompey away trip to Accrington Stanley – staying positive despite the disappointing result. 

We hit the road at 5:30am and arrived in Burnley at around 11am, the location of our Travelodge, and taxied to The Crown pub.
The pub is in a perfect location (literally a minute away from the stadium) and slowly filled with Pompey fans, there was an unfortunate incident with an overzealous bouncer and a couple of fans, which to her credit, the landlady dealt with superbly.

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The team news filtered in and there was a surprise inclusion of Smith you wonder what Chaplin has to do to start a game this season…we headed over to The Crown (Wham Stadium) which if you haven’t been before is slightly better than West Leigh Park. The away end is an uncovered terrace and it’s extremely difficult to generate any sort of atmosphere despite 800 odd travelling fans.

So on to the highlights of the game:

The weather was nice. The end.

In all seriousness it was an abysmal display and was a frustrating performance after such positive results in recent games. We seemed sluggish and the Accrington goalkeeper Chapman, apart from catching a few nothing crosses could have sat down in his six yard box.

Accrington weren’t much better and you knew it was going to be “one of those days”, but as Pompey fans we’re forever hopeful the pendulum of fortune would swing our way as Burgess deflected a free-kick which hit the inside of the post, and agonisingly came across the face of goal and trickled wide for a corner.

The first half was a non-event and I hoped we’d kick on after the break, unfortunately it was more of the same as Accrington’s Lacey hit a great strike from outside of the box and made it 1-0.

A few personnel changes (Chaplin, Naismith, Lalkovic for Rose, Baker, Roberts) had little impact on the game, the closest we came was late on when Stevens whipped a low cross across the six yard box but no Pompey player gambled and it epitomised our performance throughout the 90 minutes.

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The game was a complete contrast from the last 2 home matches and reminded me more of the performance at Crewe; the guile and craft from our last two wins had disappeared and Accrington were a well organised unit who in truth were there for the taking.

As Cookie said post-match today was a bad day but next week may be a good day, we’ll finish where we deserve to finish after 46 games and although today was disappointing I believe we can gain promotion this term.

I don’t want to be too negative, there’s a bigger picture and you learn a lot more about your players in a loss than you do a comfortable win, there’s nowhere to hide on a football pitch and we didn’t turn up today. The players don’t want to lose and it’s easier to turn your back on certain players who under perform then to get behind them sometimes. If we carry on supporting as we do, not just in numbers but by boosting confidence of our players we’ll do fine.

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On a brighter note we met some good lads from Accrington after the match back at The Crown and had an…interesting…mini pub crawl out in Accrington. Shout out to Lee and his mates for being our tour guides and showing us around, we look forward to welcoming you to Pompey in February.

Roll on Barnet, Play Up Pompey and Keep the Faith!

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