The men who looked to have delivered Portsmouth return after fearsome first-half battering

Pompey writer Jordan Cross breaks down the top-of-the-table clash at Luton to see what we learnt as the Hatters opened up a five-point gap on Kenny Jackett’s side.

Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 12:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:49 pm
New Pompey striker Omar Bogle. Picture: Joe Pepler

Omar God 

After taking a first-half battering, Pompey desperately needed some positives to emerge from the top-of-the-table clash at Luton.

In the shape of new man Omar Bogle, and a promising debut, the travelling faithful were given something to hang on to.

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The manner in which Kenny Jackett spoke of more attacking threat being delivered after the break than in the previous two-and-a-half games told how he was doing the same.

It was hardly Brett Pitman's fault with a lack of service evident, but there was a clear lack of presence in the first 45 minutes with the ball constantly coming back at the visitors.

That changed with the loanee’s introduction, with Bogle bringing a physical prowess along with some greater mobility to the table.

He got the goal his display deserved, and, if it wasn’t for a fine save from James Shea, could have had an even greater reward.

 

Middle Man

Dion Donohue’s half-time introduction was a big factor in Pompey gaining a foothold at Luton.

The Welshman was thrown into the action following a half-time reshuffle from Kenny Jackett and had a game-changing impact.

After starting with three defenders in a wing-back formation, the approach was ditched at the interval for a 4-3-3.

Donohue came into the fray for the ineffective Gareth Evans and was partnered by Tom Naylor, with Bryn Morris moving from the left to right of the central three.

The former Chesterfield’s man calm and efficient use of the ball was key to promoting Pompey’s attacks, with Ronan Curtis and Jamal Lowe either side of the dangerous Omar Bogle.

His display gives Jackett some food for thought ahead of Saturday’s visit of Doncaster.

 

A Tale of Two Halves

No one has carried out the kind of first-half demolition job Luton delivered to dismantle Pompey.

The Hatters dominated the visitors in every department in the snow at Kenilworth Road.

The good news is they don’t play like that every week, with two-goal striker James Collins rating the first 45 minutes at the top of the efforts he’s been part of since joining the club in the summer of 2017.

Luton carved out 13 shots on goal to a single wayward effort from Gareth Evans two minutes before the break.

Arguably, Pompey have not been on the wrong end of such a battering since the 1-1 draw at Wigan at the start of last season.

Somehow the Blues almost delivered a return on this occasion, too, with the second half a totally different story.

Collins himself admitted he would have taken a point at 2-2, but the softest of free-kicks given for a foul by Anton Walkes on George Moncur, conspired to allow the sub to rather harshly decide the game.