Jordan Cross takes a look at the main talking points from Pompey’s 2-1 win against Leyton Orient...
Attack, attack, attack
It was a moment which summed up the challenges Pompey face at Fratton Park.
David Forde stepped up to take a goal-kick with a wall of seven red Leyton Orient shirts strung out in a line in front of their 18-yard box.
Two more were sat just in front of the scarlet barricade obstructing Paul Cook’s side, with former Blues loanee Paul McCallum a lonely, isolated and increasingly-frustrated presence up front. It was an incredible example of what the Blues have to deal with when teams arrive in town with the ambition purely to stop their hosts playing.
Orient, in fact, operated with three central defenders and two wing-backs, if you want to call them that, with little desire to venture forward. Sammy Moore was stationed a few yards in front of the back line, with Michael Collins and Nigel Atangana completing the central midfield.
It allowed Cook the freedom to attack in hitherto unseen fashion.
So two strikers were supplemented in the second half, with new attacking talent Jamal Lowe on the right side of midfield and Kal Naismith on the left.
With the O’s not playing with any wingers, Carl Baker found himself in an unaccustomed right-back role after Gareth Evans’ withdrawal through injury.
Amine Linganzi solidifed things as Cook went to a 4-3-3 formation 14 minutes from time, but anyone questioning Cook’s attacking intent got their answer.
Reasons to be cheerful
Pompey fans stopped short of getting the bunting out and letting off fireworks.
But there it was in all its glory: 4-4-2 at Fratton Park.
Those who think two up front is going to be permanent fixture at home moving forward better cut short their celebrations, though.
Paul Cook felt Leyton Orient’s approach presented the perfect opportunity to go with two strikers.
And the Blues boss intends to tinker with his set-up and style of play moving forward.
So, just like Newport County on Boxing Day when a heavy pitch led to a direct approach and two up front, the change in formation was less a reaction to pressure and more a response to circumstance.
Whatever it was, it had the desired effect when it came to carving out chances. Eighteen shots were created as the Blues constantly opened up the visitors, despite Leyton Orient parking the bus. Pompey’s profligacy was summed up by a couple of missed efforts from the otherwise impressive Kal Naismith and Conor Chaplin’s penalty miss.
It nearly proved costly after Gavin Massey’s goal from Orient’s only chance, and offered a salutary lesson on what happens when you fail to take your chances.