Knight: Encouraging new Pompey system must have a run

There had been whispers that Pompey were going to line up against Scunthorpe with a back three.

Monday, 15th January 2018, 6:30 pm
On-loan Wolves midfielder Connor Ronan impressed against Scunthorpe Picture: Joe Pepler
On-loan Wolves midfielder Connor Ronan impressed against Scunthorpe Picture: Joe Pepler

But having heard that, even I was taken by surprise when I saw Kenny Jackett’s team.

Mind you, I quite like the idea of that formation and thought the lads did pretty well with it.

It was a hard-earned point, especially following successive defeats to last-minute goals, and many of us would have taken a draw before the match.

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Scunthorpe are a big, physical side and during the second half we did well to hang in there after they upped the pressure.

But the first half was Pompey’s and we deserved to have the lead through Jamal Lowe at half-time.

Connor Ronan, especially, impressed with his quick feet and running at defenders – it scared the living daylights out of Scunthorpe.

The issue with him, however, is he drifted out of the game in the second half, but his display was still really encouraging and everyone must be very enthused with what they saw.

Having done okay against Chelsea under-21s, all the signs with him are good and you would have thought he’ll only get better after a decent start to life at Fratton Park.

Elsewhere, Nathan Thompson broke everything up and was my man of the match, although when our tactics changed Brett Pitman was a little bit isolated, while Oli Hawkins was caught for the goal.

Overall, though, the system wasn’t too bad and we restricted Scunthorpe’s chances, with Luke McGee making a fantastic second-half save from Josh Morris.

Like any system, you need to play the 3-5-2 regularly to enable the players to get used to it and feel more comfortable.

Paul Cook tried it at Stevenage towards the end of last season when we lost 3-0, with Tom Davies in there. We got smacked up that day, but perhaps it should have been employed more.

It is something which has to be worked on – and you can take a lot of positives from its unveiling on Saturday.

The players also demonstrated their flexibility and, while tactics were maybe changed a bit too much in the second half, overall I’m pleased with the way it went.

And I’d like to see it used by us a few more times this season rather than a one-off.