There’s a cliché, which perhaps I shouldn’t use, but it sums up Saturday perfectly.
Goals change games.
Those present at the Kassam Stadium will hopefully agree with that summary of what turned the match in Oxford United’s favour.
I didn’t think there was any difference between the teams during the first half, yet we gave them a goal on 47 minutes and that was it.
Afterwards, our build-up play was non-existent, we didn’t get any decent ball into the boys at the top of the pitch and Pep Clotet’s side capitalised.
Oxford had five shots on target and scored with three of them – two in the final eight minutes as we chased the game.
However, I am not as doom and gloom as some are about it.
Oxford certainly didn’t wow me and I don’t think they played us off the park. If anything, we beat ourselves.
I would even argue that 3-0 flattered them. All the same, they deserved to win the game.
Obviously, there’s lots for Pompey to do, but let’s not press any panic buttons.
It appears one or two people are getting jittery already and are calling to spend loads of dough – and we’re two games into the campaign!
There have been comments saying we are no better than last year, which is a bit harsh on those players still here and those which arrived in the summer.
I don’t think you can make that assumption at this moment in time. They should be given 10 matches before making those comments.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but you cannot start digging people out.
Still, there were some positives in the game and I thought Adam May did all right on his maiden Football League start.
We more than matched Oxford during the first half and he looked comfortable, looking to pass the ball forwards and create things.
A couple of his passes didn’t come off, but I like the fact he is willing to make things happen and is prepared to play positively.
There will be chances for some other youngsters to impress on Wednesday night in the Checkatrade Trophy match against Fulham under-21s.
It will give a few lads an opportunity, in particular Ben Close, so let’s hope he can show what he can do with first-team places up for grabs.
Mind you, these type of matches are always difficult when asked to play in front of a small crowd at Fratton Park, affecting the atmosphere.
Still, the manager is waiting for someone to stand out and say ‘pick me’. It’s up to them.