Appy unhappy with surface after Pompey defeat

Luke Rodgers was one of the many triallists in Pompey's starting line-up against Gibraltar    Picture: John Shephard
Luke Rodgers was one of the many triallists in Pompey's starting line-up against Gibraltar Picture: John Shephard
Matt Clarke celebrates his goal at MK Dons. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Michael Appleton voiced his criticism of the Gibraltar pitch after watching his side slump to a 4-0 defeat last night.

The hosts scored twice in each half to embarrass the Blues in front of a noisy home contingent at the Victoria Stadium.

The opening fixture of the pre-season was played on an unfamiliar surface for Appleton’s men – a 3G pitch.

His squad clearly struggled to come to terms with the bounce the artificial turf created as Gibraltar ran out comfortable winners.

It was a tough night for Pompey, the match also played in sweltering conditions.

And the Blues boss admitted the pitch had hampered his team.

Appleton said: ‘It was a difficult night for a few of the young boys, the two centre-halves will remember that one, probably not for all the right reasons.

‘It’s also the first game against a side that have been together for a long time, on a difficult surface, with an almost balloon of a ball.

‘I have got to admit, I wouldn’t have liked to have played on that surface myself.

‘The ball bobbled a mile and it was almost like playing on a dirt track, but they had to play on the same pitch as well.

‘They have a few talented players and I was talking to Luke (Dowling) and Ash (Westwood) and I would like to see what they are like on grass.

‘Sometimes it is a bit misleading when you see players have good games and do really well and it would be interesting to see how they do on grass.

‘Still, on another night we could have and should have had two or three goals ourselves. I just felt they were a little bit more clinical and at it happens, we always seem to get punished when we concede that first goal.’

Regardless of the disappointing scoreline, Appleton was still taking positives out of the match.

And he was satisfied with his squad’s overall fitness in the conditions.

He added: ‘There were positives to take. They looked fit enough, there were no problems with the fitness levels which was a bonus.

‘They are in good shape, which is a good thing. The game on Saturday didn’t help being called off because that was our first game on that pitch.

‘They were clinical, some very good finishes. The penalty was a bit soft and we probably should have had one as well, but we weren’t cunning enough in their box.’