Pompey 0 AFC Wimbledon 2

Former Fratton loanee Frankie Sutherland is congratulated after opening the scoring. Picture: Joe Pepler

Former Fratton loanee Frankie Sutherland is congratulated after opening the scoring. Picture: Joe Pepler

Christian Burgess saw red at Stevenage last Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Newport: Early team news

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Pompey past and hopefully the Pompey future popped up to haunt the Blues in a depressing Christmas encounter.

AFC Wimbledon visited Fratton Park on Boxing Day and cantered to a 2-0 victory which once again throws up questions over Andy Awford’s reign.

The campaign is unravelling by the month and the latest abysmal result did little to convince a revival is on the horizon.

The architects of yesterday afternoon’s downfall were Andy Awford’s own defenders – yet the goalscorers were Frankie Sutherland and Matt Tubbs.

Midfielder Sutherland was given his Football League debut by Guy Whittingham as a Pompey player in January 2013 – a first-team loan spell which spanned 27 minutes.

As for Tubbs, he’s a player Awford rejected signing on loan from Bournemouth in the summer yet admitted to The News he is now interested in snapping him up in January.

Intriguingly, when the 14-goal striker was substituted in the 85th minute, Blues chairman Iain McInnes stood up in the directors’ box to applaud him off. Everyone else remained seated.

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The damage was applied in the opening 17 minutes, Sutherland’s shot from distance and Tubbs’ classy angled finish giving the visitors a 2-0 lead.

Dreadful Pompey limped to the break after which, in fairness, they rallied and put consistent pressure on the Wombles.

That was until Dan Butler was dismissed for a second bookable offence in the 69th minute, leaving them at a numerical disadvantage.

As the match petered out, a chant of ‘this is awful, we want to go home’ emerged from a rapidly-emptying Fratton end.

And once again boos filled the ground after the defeat – a second in succession at home to leave the Blues with one point from their past four matches.

Awford made two changes to the side which drew at Cheltenham last weekend.

Out went Whaddon Road goalscorer Nigel Atangana, with Craig Westcarr preferred in a role operating behind lone striker Ryan Taylor.

Meanwhile, Adam Webster was picked ahead of Joe Devera in the right-back role, with another alternative, loanee Matt Fish, not even making the squad.

Awford opted to retain the 4-2-3-1 system, despite the fixture with Wimbledon taking place at Fratton Park.

That again meant Danny Hollands and Marcus Bean as holding midfielders, with Lee Holmes and Jed Wallace offering width as part of the attacking three behind the striker.

This time they were joined by Westcarr, who netted in his last home appearance in the 3-2 defeat to Accrington Stanley.

There was also a return to the match-day 18 for Ben Chorley, who appeared on the bench in place of Fish after being left out at Whaddon Road.

Once more there was no squad place for Alex Wynter, Ricky Holmes, Nick Awford and Johnny Ertl, while James Dunne and Danny East are not yet ready to return following injury.

When the match kicked off, after four minutes Wallace delivered a dangerous deep cross from the right which Holmes controlled by couldn’t quite tee-up Taylor.

At the other end, on seven minutes Adam Barrett struck a left-foot volley over the bar from inside the box after cleverly meeting a ball from the left.

Yet the Blues fell behind two minutes later through former loanee Sutherland.

The midfielder picked the ball up on the left and curled in a right-foot shot from 25 yards which caught out Paul Jones and entered the net.

Jones had got a hand to the effort but on first impression appeared to have been too far off his line to deal with it effectively.

Pompey’s response was immediate with Taylor striking a fierce left-foot shot which rattled the right-hand post and cannoned to safety.

Jack Whatmough then clipped a dangerous ball back into the box but Barry Fuller did superbly to get ahead of Westcarr to nick it behind for a corner.

The hosts fell further behind, though, following an initial mistake by Butler.

The left-back was caught in possession by Tubbs during a counter from a corner and hauled down the striker in a bid to make amends, earning a booking in the process.

Fuller delivered the free-kick down the right channel into the path of Tubbs who slotted it home from the angle across Jones into the far corner.

On 24 minutes, there was another scare for Awford’s men when Adebayo Azeez drove into the box down the right and then cut across, only to overhit a square pass intended for Tubbs.

It was not until the 35th minute that Pompey had their first shot on target – an effort greeted with sarcastic cheers from the Fratton end.

Holmes fired in a powerful left-foot shot from outside the area which, unfortunately for the hosts, was straight at keeper James Shea.

Paul Robinson was the next to be booked after dragging down Sutherland on the edge of the area. George Francomb’s free-kick took a deflection on its way through to Jones.

A slip in the Blues defence let in Tubbs on the stroke of half-time.

He fed Azeez but Webster put in a brilliant sliding block to put it out for a corner.

During two minutes of time added on, Westcarr drove in a cross from the left which was diverted goalwards by Taylor only for Shea to push it around the post.

At the break, Atangana was brought on in place of Holmes as the Blues introduced a diamond formation.

The hosts started the second half brighter and Dannie Bulman nicked the ball away from Hollands with his toe as the Pompey midfielder swung his foot to shoot inside the box.

A neat touch by Tubbs from a cross from the right then earned himself space in the Blues penalty area but Jones came out to gather safely.

On 59 minutes, Westcarr fed Hollands whose on-target attempt was blocked by Francomb as the hosts continued to probe for a way back into the match.

Hollands then swung in a deep cross from the right which was met by Westcarr at the far post but his header – aiming for the far corner – was wide.

It was improved stuff from Awford’s men and a fine through ball from Taylor released Westcarr.

But he was beaten to the ball by Shea who dashed out from his goal to clear. The momentum was halted, however, when Butler received a red card in the 69th minute following a challenge on Francomb.

The left-back, who had been causing problems with his attacking after the break, earned a second yellow card for his robust slide challenge.

It deflated the hosts and there was no coming back.

Then, as the match limped to its conclusion, the Fratton faithful made their thoughts known – in no uncertain terms – on another poor display.

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