Jordan Cross looks back on Saturday’s defeat to Oldham and assesses the main talking points...
Pompey were the masters of their own downfall against Oldham. Let that be abundantly clear.
Despite Kenny Jackett’s thoughts to the contrary, the majority of Blues observers will view this as the worst display since he became manager – by quite some distance.
Matched up against a side without a manager after a struggling start to the campaign, the Blues were inferior in every department - particularly energy levels and physicality.
But there was credence to Jackett’s assertion Pompey’s defensive woes contributed significantly to their downfall.
It must be highlighted Oldham were already in front by the time Nathan Thompson was left apparently unconscious on the Fratton turn, after an aerial collision with Drew Talbot.
But the enforced reshuffle rocked the Blues’ evidently-shaky confidence – and Latics strikers Craig Davies and old-boy Eoin Doyle feasted on the fragility.
Talbot, understandably looked ill-at-ease when shifted inside as Pompey’s defensive crisis deepened.
The half-time shot count of 16 to four in favour of the visitors was a fair reflection of the balance of power favouring a team who’ve struggled this term.
Oli Hawkins deserved credit for manfully operating as a makeshift defender, but there’s major issues to tackle moving forward with the defence decimated.
There was much to admire about the performance of an Oldham side playing with no fear under caretaker boss Richie Wellens.
Yes, they were afforded the conditions to put in a winning display by the generosity of the home team, but the bravery of their attacking approach should be applauded.
It may have been old-boy Eoin Doyle who grabbed the headlines for two joyously-celebrated goals against his old side but it was midfielder Jack Byrne who was the chief architect of their downfall.
It says much about the quality and depth in Wigan’s squad that they can afford to let someone of the fiery Irishman’s talent out on loan.
Alongside the physical force of Frenchman Ousmane Fane, Byrne picked apart Pompey with an impressive range of passing.
Admittedly, the Blues appeared to be all-too-keen to afford the attacking midfielder the space and time in which to cause damage. Byrne wasn’t about to turn down the invitation.
Jackett voiced concerns after the game about the manner in which his side lost out in the midfield battleground and their lack of physicality.
Changes could well be on the horizon there, with Danny Rose waiting patiently and hungrily for his chance.
When has booing a player ever led to a constructive outcome?
Saturday’s defeat provided another example it only ever creates a bleak and depressing environment.
Drew Talbot found himself the target of flak from a section of Pompey fans after enduring a tough afternoon.
Eoin Doyle benefitted as he pressured and won the ball with Talbot dallying two minutes after the restart for Oldham’s second goal.
That was after the 31-year-old was involved in the first-half collision which left Nathan Thompson concussed, following miscommunication between the pair.
There was further evidence of a mix-up with keeper Luke McGee when Talbot was shifted into an unfamiliar central-defensive role.
The outcome was boos when Talbot touched the ball, followed by ironic cheers when he was replaced by Kyle Bennett – a move which had nothing to do with the flak he took.
Supporter frustration was entirely understandable at the insipid fare served up by their side.
But venting their anger at Talbot was unfair and ugly, especially with the Fratton faithful’s standing in the game.