Cook experiences the Pompey flipside

Michael Smith had no joy on a frustrating day for Pompey at Accrington. Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Smith had no joy on a frustrating day for Pompey at Accrington. Picture: Joe Pepler
Oli Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler

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No plaudits following this weekend, instead Pompey were left to reflect on a barrage of criticism following an awful showing at Accrington Stanley.

It was meant to be a glorious fifth successive victory, yet the outcome took the form of a 1-0 defeat in a deeply-disappointing display.

When you come away from home, like Morecambe, like Crewe, and our flair players don’t play well – that’s the people at the top end of the pitch – then we won’t win games

Paul Cook

Certainly no positives for Paul Cook, who was swift to acknowledge the failure of his side to perform at a sunny Crown Ground.

Pompey deserved a defeat inflicted by Paddy Lacey’s superb 52nd minute strike from distance.

They were unrecognisable from the side which had charged up to second spot following a stuttering start to the campaign.

And Cook was also scratching his head over the stark turnaround in fortunes.

He said: ‘We’ve had a great couple of weeks with everyone lauding us and how good we look and how we have been doing this and that – well Saturday was a bad day for us.

‘We huffed and puffed without ever looking like scoring. It was lacklustre.

‘That’s football. I was very optimistic before the game, yet we were flat as a team, we never played well, the players didn’t play well and we weren’t at it.

‘When you come away from home, like Morecambe, like Crewe, and our flair players don’t play well – that’s the people at the top end of the pitch – then we won’t win games.

‘I am not going to continually shout at them, I am not like that, but we weren’t good and there were key points in the game that summed us up, some things I don’t want to go into them now.

‘You look at the last cross from Enda Stevens when he stood the ball up. We don’t stand crosses up, keepers catch crosses which are stood up, you fizz the ball into the box, not that.

‘We all watched the same game and know we have got to do better than that.

‘The match was not great, it never got us off the edge of our seat, we were always flat on a lovely day and never got going. You must give credit to Accrington, that’s the reality.

‘However, we have gone from a free-scoring team right the way back to performances at Crewe and Morecambe when we looked a stale team.’

It was back-to-back victories for Accrington following a poor start to the campaign after an impressive last term.

Undoubtedly it helped avenge the 3-1 loss suffered at the hands of Pompey back in March.

And Cook was adamant the hosts deserved victory from Saturday’s encounter.

He added: ‘There’s that many teams that go to Accrington and get beat and they all moan about something – but we are not moaning.

‘We got beat because we were the second-best team on the pitch. There are no issues, no gripes, we were beaten and move onto the next game.

‘It is not about how bad we are sometimes, if you are not allowed to play that well you can also lose and all credit to Accrington – and for a great goal from the lad.

‘But there is one league table that counts, that’s the one on the last day of the season.’