Pompey paying penalty for disciplinary record

Liam Lawrence receives his marching orders
Liam Lawrence receives his marching orders
HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Portsmouth            Picture: PA

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Pompey’s disciplinary record is fairly awful – and on Saturday, in the 4-3 defeat at West Ham, it caught up with them.

Let’s not pull any punches here.

Liam Lawrence should have been sent off for the dreadful over-the-ball challenge which earned him his first yellow card at Upton Park.

Yet, he was reckless enough to push his luck again with another poor tackle in the second half and had to go.

Suddenly playing with 10 men in a match they might well have won, Pompey quickly found themselves 4-2 down and out of the game.

Sorry to say this, but Steve Cotterill really does need to read the riot act to his players over what is a worrying crime sheet.

Last season Pompey picked up 81 yellow and seven red cards – only Leeds in the Championship got more cautions.

So far this term there have been another 18 yellows and one red in six games. This might well cost Pompey when suspensions start to kick in as players reach five cautions.

Once or twice this season, and last, Pompey have looked a bit of an argumentative rabble and that needs to change.

Where Pompey did have a case on Saturday was in the extremely harsh penalty given against Jason Pearce – as clear a case of ball to hand as you are likely to see,

Frankly, it was a pathetic piece of refereeing to give the penalty as Law 12 states clearly that handball has to be intentional.

So it was that Pompey scored three goals for the first time this season and still lost – no matter how promising the performance.

Of course – for public consumption – the manager and his team-mates will rally round Lawrence with comforting quotes.

Privately, they will be seething that such an experienced pro let them down. Of course, Lawrence is a good enough player to pay the club back several times over if rediscovering his top form.

But both he and Pompey will benefit from a cooler and calmer approach from now on.