Sloppy starts and jittery finishes have been too regular

Carlisle players celebrate their last-gasp equaliser against Pompey yesterday   Picture: Joe Pepler

Carlisle players celebrate their last-gasp equaliser against Pompey yesterday Picture: Joe Pepler

Former Pompey boss Frank Burrows

Knight: Gone are Pompey pre-seasons of dodging nettles and brambles

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We’ve been here before.

The stats will probably suggest that Pompey score and concede just as many stoppage-time goals as every other club in the land.

It just feels like it happens more frequently to the Blues.

But we weren’t all saying ‘same old Pompey’ when Jed Wallace tucked away his winner in added time against Exeter not so long ago.

No doubt many of us were using that phrase and probably rather more colourful language at this latest late kick in the nether regions.

If you could shave off the first 10 minutes and final 10 minutes of games over the course of a season, Pompey would probably be right up there challenging for promotion.

The fact that we need to do that is an obvious reason why they are not.

Sloppy starts – especially away from home – have reared their head far too often this campaign.

But those jittery finishes have also been a regular visitor.

Yesterday afternoon, Carlisle were ahead with just 88 seconds on the clock.

It was a smart finish but nowhere near enough pressure on the ball when the goalscorer took aim.

Yet after those ragged first 20 minutes, Pompey were much the better side – spurred on by Wallace – and the whole team looked comfortable in their given roles.

While it looked like a diamond midfield system to many of us, apparently it was a 4-2-3-1.

Either way, it worked better than the wing-backs have lately.

After Wallace’s superb strike ripped into the net and Matt Tubbs poked home a second, the Blues were in control, although not total control – after all, this is Pompey.

But there was energy and dynamism back in midfield, with Nigel Atangana and Wes Fogden back in the starting line-up.

They looked like they would see it out.

However, one criticism of the Blues is that their dominance in possession should have yielded more efforts on goal to kill the game off.

Perhaps that told a tale as the natural instinct was to hold on to what they had, rather than push for that clincher.

Even so, they should have seen the game out.

Someone should have got their foot on the ball and shown some calm authority.

The referee should have blown his whistle for full time.

Or, someone at the back should have just put their boot through it.

We all should have known better!

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