I don’t know what was more dissapointing about today, the pathetically weak performance or the frustrating feeling of inevitability.
Five minutes into the game, I turned to my old man and said, ‘we’re gonna get turned over here’. You see, everything about Wovles was wrong; the team selection, the shape and balance of the side and the distinct lack of any real spark or creativity.
But perhaps most disappointingly of all, Pompey wanted it and Wolves didn’t. How we weren’t fired up for a game of such magnitude is beyond me and the visitors were able to cash in on our slow start, with what proved to be the only goal. From that point on, I never really believed we were going to get back in.
So the inquisition begins.
In my opinion, the first finger of blame should be firmly pointed at the manager, for glaring errors with his team selection. Mistake one: bringing Foley in from the cold, when Halford was doing a perfectly good job at right-back. Mistake two: not playing Kightly from the start. Mistake three: thinking Edwards and Henry can play together in a two man midfield.
And that’s just for a kick-off.
From a tactical point of view, we were a mess. There were gaping holes in the middle of the park and acres of space for Pompey’s attackers to move the ball around. Edwards spent far too much time galloping forward like a headless chicken and although Henry did a decent job of plugging the gaps, we were still far too open.
In defence, Elokobi had one of the worst games I’ve ever seen from a Wolves full-back. To say he looked sluggish would be a great understatement. As well as picking out a succession of woeful passes, he appeared to be running through treacle at times, getting left for dead on numerous occassions.
Going forward, we were laughable. I mean, what was the plan? All we seemed capable of doing was lumping the ball forward, hoping for Doyle and Keogh to feed off the scraps. On occassion when we worked the ball out to Jarvis, we looked OK, but that was soon figured out and he became more and more ineffective as the game went on.
One thing I will credit Mick with is that he had the good sense to change things at the half-time. The introductions of Kightly and SEB had me thinking we could turn things around, but it wasn’t to be and both were starved of possession in decent areas.
Of course we had our moments and also our share of bad luck. How we weren’t given a penalty for one of the most obvious handballs of all time I’ll never know. The ref might not have seen the incident but the linesman was looking straight at it.
But our real moment of opportunity came and went when Halford’s fierce volley was palmed out by James straight into the path of SEB. I would have put my house on our number 9 to find the net, so was obviously distraught to see him blaze over when it seemed easier to score.
Had we got the equaliser, I’m not even sure it would have been deserved. We were just poor today, front to back.
So who do I blame for defeat?
McCarthy, for putting the wrong players on the pitch?
The officials for missing crucial decisions?
SEB, for wasting our one golden chance?
All of the above and many more.
I don’t begrduge Portsmouth the win. They executed their game plan very well and looked a good side in spells. So for Pompey fan Rich, who wrote the preview for us, well done and enjoy your weekend. After the misery you’ve had to suffer thus far, you deserve your moment in the sun.
For Wolves, there’s a dark cloud hanging over head with only 7 points on the board and a succession of difficult fixtures to come.
I just hope we can lick our wounds, come back stronger and conjure up a big result to get us back on track.
We shouldn’t be losing the faith just yet, but Wolves quite simply must do better.