Sonny Bradley believes Pompey’s latest League Two defeat could easily have been avoided.
But the centre-half is confident the team’s impressive performance at Roots Hall yesterday should give the Blues plenty of belief as they head into the second half of the season under the threat of a League Two relegation battle.
Two Ryan Leonard goals at the tail end of each half cancelled out Bradley’s first goal for the club on 30 minutes and condemned Richie Barker’s side to their 10th league loss of the season.
The result at Southend left Pompey 19th in the table, four points above the drop zone.
The performance yesterday, however, fails to reflect that lowly standing in the Football League pryamid.
And Bradley believes their position in the rankings could have been greatly improved if the Blues had done better to prevent Ryan Leonard’s dramatic New Year’s Day double.
‘One lapse of concentration definitely cost us in the end,’ admitted Bradley.
‘I’m not too sure about the first one – the player sold the dummy too easily, it’s taken a deflection and it was quite a scrappy goal in the end.
‘But the goal at the end, I think their keeper has been given far too much time.
‘The more time the keeper had on the ball, he was coming forward and there was no pressure on the ball.
‘We were dropping and dropping and they’ve played a perfect ball into Barry Corr.
‘He’s then brought it down, got a good touch and then the boy Leonard has struck it perfectly and it’s gone into the bottom corner.
‘Maybe, in hindsight, we could have been prevented it.
‘But apart from that, we’re going to take a lot of positives out of the game and move on.
‘Hopefully we can win on Saturday.’
Among the positives from yesterday’s trip to Essex was Pompey’s attacking play in the first half, with Shrimpers keeper Daniel Bentley having to be at his best to prevent the visitors adding to Bradley’s opener.
The Blues’ defending also stood up to the test as the home side upped their game in the second half and put Trevor Carson’s goal under pressure.
It took a wonder strike from Leonard to break Pompey hearts in the end.
Bradley admitted it was always going to take something special for Southend to snatch the points from an enthralling game played in atrocious conditions.
‘I really couldn’t see any way how they were going to score,’ said Bradley.
‘We were solid at the back.
‘The full-backs, Joe Devera and Marcos Painter, were solid – they weren’t getting beat down the line and I think it was going to take something like a wonder strike to win the game.
‘Jed’s hit one in the second half and it’s come off the bar and would have been the one to have won it for us.
‘But it wasn’t and it didn’t go our way.’
The former Hull defender added he wouldn’t have been able to predict yesterday’s scoreline as Pompey looked to stretch their unbeaten record to three games after picking up four points from their other festive fixtures against Dagenham & Redbridge and Northampton.
Bradley said: ‘We went 1-0 up. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and I scored my goal.
‘And 10-15 minutes after that we could have been 3-0 up.
‘Ricky Holmes, I think, had a header, Connolly hit the post and we could have put the game to bed by half-time.
‘But that’s not the way it went.
‘It didn’t go for us – they got a quite lucky goal via a deflection .
‘We went into the second half thinking we had a job on our hands.
‘We were up against the wind, but for 45 minutes we did well.
‘One lapse of concentration and it’s cost us.’