There aren’t many — if at all any — Portsmouth fans who would have accepted a position of 14th in the League One table after four games of this, the new campaign. But reality bites for supporters of the Blues as that is exactly where they find themselves after tuesday night’s 3-3 draw with Coventry City at Fratton Park.
The general consensus is that Pompey have been playing marginally better than their league position indicates. But it has to be wondered how long the board of directors will put up with the mid-table life under the stewardship of Kenny Jackett should it continue much longer. Remember Pompey missed out on promotion last time of asking despite a thrilling term in which they flirted with promotion only so see their dreams fade as the curtain came down on the campaign.
So, the bottom line this season has got to be getting up a league into the Championship where many feel they belong, Certainly, if the passion of the Pompey fans is anything to by, they deserve to gain promotion. But on tuesday night they shot themselves in the foot with the visitors, who finished the contest with nine men having had two players red-carded, ultimately cashing in on defensive blunders.
The Sky Blues stunned the home side when they had the temerity to take the lead early through Jordy Hiwula. But not to be denied, Ronan Curtis headed home for 1-1 still in the first half — and before the interval John Marquis made it 2-1 and Fratton Park was soon rocking to the tune of the famous Pompey Chimes.
Gareth Evans increased the home side’s advantage on the hour before Fankaty Dabo got his marching orders following s second yellow card. Then Matt Godden tucked away a spot-kick for 3-2 and then saw Gervane Kastaneer become the second City player to be dismissed following a second yellow card. The drama was unfolding with great speed and although great for the neutral, it wasn’t good for the hearts of the home faithful. And with three minutes to go their worst fears were confirmed when, following a stint of pressure, City snatched a leveller through the excellent Michael Rose.
Blues boss Jackett must have been pulling his hair out as he surveyed the draw given that his side were so in command of the game and held a two-goal advantage without ever looking likely to let go of it. But let go they did and Jackett spoke of his “disappointment and frustration” after the match. He added:
“We were in a winning position and basically threw two points away. It’s two big points that we’ve lost and of course we know that we have to be better defensively as a unit.”