Mixed emotions for US Portsmouth boss Grice after keeper Kramer’s penalty-saving heroics in vital Wessex Premier success

US Portsmouth boss Tom Grice is wrestling with mixed emotions after goalkeeper Dylan Kramer’s penalty-saving heroics gave his side a vital victory.

By Simon Carter
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 11:26 am
Cameron Quirke, left, was on target as US Portsmouth claimed a vital Wessex Premier win against Bournemouth Poppies.

Picture: Neil Marshall
Cameron Quirke, left, was on target as US Portsmouth claimed a vital Wessex Premier win against Bournemouth Poppies. Picture: Neil Marshall

Kramer saved two second half spot-kicks as US claimed only a second win in 10 Wessex Premier matches with a 3-2 home win over Bournemouth Poppies last night.

Poppies had arrived on Portsea Island as one of just four teams below US in the table, three points adrift but with two games in hand.

Both penalty saves came after Flo Vucaj had restored US’ lead with his first goal for the club after Poppies had hit back from 0-2 down to level.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Less than a fortnight earlier, Kramer had also saved a penalty against Hamble Club - another game where US conceded two spot-kicks.

‘We don’t do boring games,’ conceded Grice. ‘I’m trying hard not to be angry with the performance. I need to take a step back.

‘It was such a big three points, an unbelievably big three points.

‘If it wasn’t for Dylan we would have lost, it’s as simple as that. I said to the team afterwards you can’t keep relying on him to get you out of trouble. It’s not fair on Dylan. We’ve got to stop conceding penalties for stupid reasons.

‘We were trying our hardest to let them (Poppies) back in it.’

Obi Saidy, on as a sub for centre half Connor Saunders, who went off feeling sick, was penalised for a handball for the first penalty. And John Cass was adjudged to have used both hands in the back of a Poppies player while defending a corner for the second.

That was the game’s third penalty, after Portchester loanee Lamin Jatta - playing as the lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation - had given US an early lead from the spot. Cameron Quirke added a second before Poppies levelled before the interval.

Quirke and Vucaj were part of a central midfield three with new signing Tom Dinsmore, who completed his first 90 minutes since joining from Portchester.

‘I need to snap out of the fact it could have been worse,’ said Grice. ‘The performance doesn’t sit comfortably with me. We start well and let teams back into it - the result (v Poppies) papers over the cracks that we’ve got.’