Cabrer lauds Tsikras impact as Portsmouth City open account

Portsmouth City had to conjure up all tricks in the book to record their first National League division two south win of the season.

Thursday, 17th November 2016, 7:00 am
Leandros Tsikras. Picture: Mick Young (141588-03)

They defeated Wessex M2 3-1 in a highly-competitive clash at Oakmead Technology College in Bournemouth.

It was a triumphant return to the fold for play-markers Leandros Tsikras and Matthew Jackson, who had both missed their team’s previous loss to their rivals.

Player-coach Nasser Ssemuwemba said: ‘It was a massive relief to have both Leandros and Matthew back.

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‘Any team playing without their setter would struggle.

‘The fluency exhibited by our team was unbelievable.

‘Everybody seemed lively and motivated.

‘It was nice for us to be able to showcase some good volleyball out there after a succession of six defeats.’

It took the visitors 23 minutes to pocket their first set of the season – 25-21 – thanks to well-angled shots from opposite player Joan Francesc Cabrer Gomila and outside attacker Adamantios Xanthoudidis.

Portsmouth were quick to double their lead, winning the second 25-19 after a dominant display at the net and in the back-court defence.

But sloppy play allowed the home team to bounce back and win the third set 27-25.

However, the visitors re-organised – allowing middle blockers Richard Ferguson and Akram Mahmoud Samir El Saka to torment their opponents with well-placed floating serves en route to a 25-22 fourth set victory.

Spanish player Cabrer, who has shone despite his side’s recent poor form, paid tribute to man-of-the-match Tsikras.

He said: ‘It was my first time playing alongside him.

‘His presence is massive. He has got good ball distribution and command on court.

‘He just makes things tick and he very much deserved the award. This is a big win for the team and I hope it is a start for many more to come.

‘On a personal basis, I was a bit disappointed by my own performance.

‘I’m angry with myself because I know I should have played better and maybe we would have been able to win in straight sets.’

Portsmouth will be hoping deputy setter Jackson steps up to the plate during their next two matches – with Tsikras unavailable through work commitments.

Ssemuwemba’s team host Exeter Storm on Saturday before a long trip to Exeter for their encounter with Tendring VC Men II on Saturday, December 10.