Fratton stalemate felt like a defeat

It was a disappointing home draw for Pompey against Hartlepool. Gaffer for a day John Middleton, 37, from Baffins, gives his verdict on the match...

Sunday, 18th December 2016, 7:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:12 pm
Gary Roberts. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gary Roberts. Picture: Joe Pepler

So what were your thoughts on the final Fratton match of 2016?

It felt like a loss, it really did.

We created a fair few opportunities but had no end product, with Trevor Carson making a couple of reasonable saves.

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Hartlepool didn’t have anything about them, they were happy to get a point, to keep game at 0-0 and – that is exactly what they managed to do.

I came away feeling really flat.

What are your thoughts on Gary Roberts’ form?

I said beforehand I wouldn’t have started him against Hartlepool, at the moment he needs a break.

He has gone flat, definitely not as good as he has been, and has now had a few games where he’s been a passenger.

When things don’t come off he is very theatrical, waving his arms in the air, he needs to just get on with it.

The flipside is who do you replace him with in that formation? Carl Baker could potentially do a job there or Kal Naismith possibly.

Anyone stand out for you?

To be fair, no-one really shone, it is fairly difficult to single out someone, but I’ll go with the sponsors’ man of the match – Michael Smith.

He worked as hard as he could in that set-up, although I don’t know how he fits into the team at present.

We either hit him with the long ball and when he wins it Gary Roberts chases dead balls, or he is asked to hold the ball up and bring others into play.

Most teams come to Fratton Park with two big, powerful, strong players, but Pompey don’t seem to have that.

Smith worked very hard, although should have done better with that first-half header.

What next?

We have to get consistency – and I am not saying the manager needs to go.

The club have had so many ups and downs in the last five or six years.

And Paul Cook’s heart is in the right place, he is passionate to succeed.

We just need to string a bit of a run together.

On Saturday it could easily have gone the other way, once the breakthrough arrived we could have ended up winning by four or goals.

My ratings

David Forde 7

Gareth Evans 7

Christian Burgess 7

Matt Clarke 7

Enda Stevens 7

Michael Doyle 7

Danny Rose 7

Carl Baker 7

Gary Roberts 6

Kyle Bennett 6

Michael Smith 7