PORTSMOUTH CITY’s search for a National League division two south win continues after a straight sets loss to London Lynx seconds.
The defeat means this is the worst-ever start to the season for Nasser Ssemuwemba’s team who have now gone five games without tasting victory.
Six players made the trip to the University of East London Sports Dock arena, but crucially the south-coast side had no natural setter.
With both playmakers Leandros Tsikras and Matthew Jackson unavailable, the role was handed to Joan Francesc Cabrer Gomila.
The Spanish opposite player put up an impressive performance to help his side to a double technical time out points lead, before Lynx recovered to win the set 25-20.
Set two was also close but despite the resistance from utility player Adamantios Xanthoudidis, outside-attacker Damian Roberts and middle blocker Akram Mahmoud Samir El Saka, it was the home team who took it 25-22.
This forced player-coach Ssemuwemba to make a few changes, with Roberts swapping positions with Francesc, who earned his second man-of-the-match accolade.
However, a catalogue of individual errors allowed the former division one outfit to close out the match 25-15.
Roberts believes Portsmouth need a better mindset when playing without their natural setter.
He said: ‘I volunteered to assume the setter’s duties for our third set because I wanted to give Francesc the chance to also play in his usual position, which is in attack.
‘But as I later discovered my setting was not up to scratch and unfortunately I ended up making a lot of mistakes.
‘It’s going to be hard for us in the next couple of games because there is a possibility that both of our trusted setters might not be back.
‘However, we had a good chat with the coach after the game and we all agreed we are experienced enough to offer better resistance, even without our natural setters.
‘We just need to get our fighting spirit back.’
Portsmouth host Wessex M2 on Saturday at the Mountbatten Centre (12.30pm).