Comment: Pompey over-reliant on duo... learning curve for McGee

Pompey keeper Luke McGee
Pompey keeper Luke McGee
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Will Rooney looks back on Saturday's Pompey defeat at Bury and draws two conclusions...

OVER-RELIANCE

Kenny Jackett spoke of how he wanted to finish the campaign strongly and take impetus into next season.

However, it has proved to be quite the opposite.

Granted, if Pompey had delivered victory over Bury on Saturday, their play-off hopes still would have been extinguished.

That’s after both Charlton and Scunthorpe won their respective encounters to put them out of reach of the Blues.

Prior to kick-off, of course, there was a slim chance of results going Pompey’s way.

Yet, they played as if a top-six berth was already out of the question against the division’s whipping boys.

In many ways, the Blues have regressed in recent weeks, with previous problems they suffered from earlier in the season reoccurring.

That’s now three successive defeats for Kenny Jackett’s side – and they’re currently winless in five.

At the weekend, there was a lack of penetration and creativity in the final third, with Jamal Lowe the only player who looked like unlocking the League One basement side’s defence.

Meanwhile, Shakers boss Ryan Lowe’s game plan was to nullify Brett Pitman.

Bury’s centre-backs Adam Thompson and Saul Shotton handled the Pompey skipper impeccably and he offered little in front of goal.

When Pitman hasn’t scored this campaign, it’s more often than not ended in the Blues not picking up anything from matches.

You have to go back to the win over Walsall on March 31 to the last time Pompey won without the striker or Jamal Lowe not on the scoresheet.

The Blues has relied on the pair too heavily this season and it’s a key factor why they will again be in League One next term.

A VALUABLE LEARNING CURVE

Luke McGee wouldn’t have been tuning into Football on 5 on Saturday night and would have been advised to stay clear of Sky Sports News for the rest of the weekend.

His error at Gigg Lane is one he, his manager and team-mates will hastily want to forget.

To try to Cruyff turn George Miller inside his own six-yard box was a ludicrous decision and ultimately proved detrimental.

In the modern-day game of keepers such as Ederson and Manuel Neuer being equally as good on the ball as outfield players, safety first isn’t as greatly emphasised, with keeping possession often prioritised.

But in that situation, McGee should have launched the ball into the stands.

In fairness to the former Spurs man, the options his Pompey team-mates gave him were scant.

No player moved to such an angle for the keeper to play a pass out from goal.

However, in that case, there is only one option available – clear the danger and then vent frustration about a lack of movement in the aftermath.

It’s an error that McGee must and will learn from going forward, no doubt.

Have you read Will Rooney's comment piece on Kal Naismith?