Defensive issues frustrate Blues manager

Fleetwood net the third goal to pile the misery on Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler
Fleetwood net the third goal to pile the misery on Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey defender Matt Clarke

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Richie Barker rued Pompey’s defensive downfall at Fleetwood, although admitted not all of it was inflicted by them.

The Blues boss was disappointed with the manner of Jon Parkin’s 16th minute opener after a throw-in from the right was not dealt with.

In the second half, the Cod Army netted a third goal when Jamille Matt finished from close range following a right-wing corner.

Sandwiched in between was a highly debatable penalty scored by Antoni Sarcevic after Daniel Alfei was adjudged to have pushed Josh Morris in the 25th minute.

That decision by referee Iain Williamson, in particular, frustrated Barker as his side slipped to a 3-1 defeat partly of their own making.

He said: ‘The first goal was poor defensively. They were more physical, stronger and more aggressive than us in our own box. That wasn’t great defending.

‘That penalty wasn’t one. You see people running into each other and, to be fair, I thought Dan stood his ground.

‘They were both holding their own ground, the ball was going to go out of play over Dan’s head and the lads have run into each, I don’t think there was any intention from Dan to foul him.

‘If we had come in at 1-0 there would have been a little bit more belief.

‘As it was, we talked at half-time about staying in the game and then unfortunately the third goal came after they had a corner.

‘In the end, their manager was making substitutions to break the game up, which proves we were on top for quite a while, but they had three goals.’

Barker made four changes to the side which drew against Burton in the week.

And he explained injury to Romain Padovani and skipper Ben Chorley were behind their absences at the Highbury Stadium.

He added: ‘Romain got a knock on his calf the other day (against Burton) and has not been able to train since.

‘Ben was improving slightly and he’s having a particular treatment today which hopefully within 48 hours will have an effect.

‘In his head he thinks he’s playing and going to be involved and fit for next Saturday, in his head he doesn’t want to miss the game – so I think that speaks volumes about him.’