Pompey 3 Morecambe 0

Pompey celebrate Patrick Agyemang's goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey celebrate Patrick Agyemang's goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
Former Pompey defender Sonny Bradley has a word with Peterborough forward Marcus Maddison    Picture: Joe Dent

Pompey v Plymouth: The Opposition View

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A beleaguered Jed Wallace has still to return to Twitter after deciding to take a sudden sabbatical.

Stung by abuse from several Pompey fans in relation to his performance in the 2-2 draw with Accrington, he initiated a tactical withdrawal.

By the 19-year-old’s own admission, his displays in the opening matches have lacked the dynamism, drive and effectiveness of last season.

Through social media others also decided to point that out, although aided by expletives and brutal language to hammer home their observations.

Not many Blues followers have behaved in such a manner to a player who is a prolific user of Twitter, you could count them on one hand, but it was still too many for his eyes to take.

It prompted Wallace to write ‘off here for a bit’ on his Twitter account a week ago yesterday. He has not posted anything since.

A mature reaction from the midfielder, who refused to rise to the bait thrust under his nose and opted to walk away from his right to defend himself against those harshest of critics.

Subsequently, his response on the pitch against Morecambe was simply classy.

The real Jed Wallace finally emerged for Pompey on Saturday and with it arrived that precious first win of a campaign which was becoming ridiculously fraught.

Guy Whittingham had retained his faith in the youngster for the fourth match of the campaign, particularly in the face of tough right-flank competition from Ricky Holmes.

Fellow Academy graduate Dan Butler had already been taken out.

And Marcos Painter has been recruited to add to the options on the left-hand side of the defence.

Wallace remained in the line-up against Morecambe, though, another chance to impress after an ineffective but certainly not awful start to his second professional season.

The energy has remained undiminished, the enthusiasm could never be questioned.

What has been absent, though, has been the telling contribution.

Unquestionably his displays didn’t warrant being targeted for the manner of abuse by certain individuals on Twitter, characters who appear to be around the same age.

Incidentally, Wallace claims nobody has said such damning criticism to his face, conveniently it has all come via a keyboard.

How the former Lewes player needed a morale-boosting personal performance against Morecambe and how the Blues needed a win with patience among some beginning to fray.

And that is precisely what the Fratton faithful were served up during a scintillating opening 45 minutes which had the destination of the three points sewn up before half-time.

Crucially for Wallace, he was at the heart of it, the fulcrum and the inspiration during a superb display of attacking football from Whittingham’s men which overwhelmed the Shrimps.

Admittedly he, like the majority of his team-mates, failed to maintain that mouth-watering tempo during a frustrating second half when the anticipated arrival of more goals failed to emerge.

In truth, reorganised and an increasingly-resolute Morecambe were made to look far too comfortable as the hosts failed to even threaten Andreas Arestidou’s goal after the interval.

That was despite the visitors having been reduced to 10-men shortly before goal number three when Andrew Wright was dismissed for two yellow cards, both on the unfortunate and ever-lively Andy Barcham.

Of course, an often-sloppy second half showing from the comfortable Blues was a frustrating sight, particularly considering their numerical advantage and undoubted superiority on the day.

Certainly the 113 Morecambe fans remained cheerful throughout, drawing a genuine round of applause from the respectful Fratton faithful upon their first song early in the match.

A total of 12 tickets had been sold in advance, yet with pay-on-the-day options available, many instead took advantage of that to provide an enthusiastic backing to their team during the encounter.

For Pompey the second-half failure to add more goals to their tally should not be allowed to overshadow what was still an excellent display at the right time – and from precisely the right player in Wallace.

Painter was the only change to the team which drew at Accrington in the previous outing, missing plenty of goal-scoring opportunities in the process and at the other end looking defensively shaky.

Whittingham’s men took the lead in the 20th minute against the Shrimps and it was comfortable from then as their attacking capabilities were this time capped by goals.

It was Wallace who arrived with the breakthrough, Patrick Agyemang pushing a ball through to pick up the youngster’s clever run.

The flight of the outside of the right boot did the rest and you could see the relief in the face of the midfielder as he roared to the skies and accepted the congratulations of his team-mates.

Pompey doubled the lead in the 26th minute, through an excellent breakaway instigated by David Connolly winning a tackle in his own half.

Wallace led the charge up field and threaded a pass through to Barcham, who then appeared to be upended inside the right edge of the box.

Then up popped newly-instilled skipper Connolly to slot the ball home from a tight angle to finish the move he started.

Wright was then given his marching orders and in the 39th minute the hosts had their third goal through another well-worked move.

Connolly slid a ball down the left-hand channel of the box and Agyemang collected before crashing home an angled drive which rebounded into the net off the inside of the far post.

It was the 14th goal in 13 starts together as a strike partnership.

The former Wimbledon team-mates from a decade ago have certainly linked up well at Fratton Park – and there obviously will be many more goals to come from them.

The second half was largely a non-event, although Whittingham did introduce all three of his substitutes.

Pompey, perhaps unwittingly, took their foot off the accelerator rather than going in search of the extra goals the crowd were baying for.

Wallace also faded after the break, not that it mattered too much as the damage had been done to the visitors long before.

Pompey have their first win of the season – and Wallace answered his foul-mouthed cyber critics in the best possible way.