Will Rooney assesses the talking points from Pompey’s 2-2 draw with Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday...
CURTIS PROVES HE’S HUMAN
Saturday proved Ronan Curtis is human after all.
The charismatic Irishman has made a whirlwind start to his Pompey career after arriving from Derry City this summer.
But his display against Wycombe was by far his most subdued donning the star & crescent.
The 22-year-old struggled to offer the same goalscoring threat that yielded five goals and as many assists in his previous eight appearances.
Wanderers right-back Jason McCarthy nullified Curtis throughout, despite his best efforts to conjure up opportunities for Kenny Jackett’s troops.
The Republic of Ireland under-21 international persevered down the left but had little joy.
It proved a disappointing day at the office for Curtis as he was far from his swashbuckling best.
But, in fairness, wingers often struggle for cast-iron consistency.
It’s quite remarkable Curtis hadn’t delivered an underwhelming performance until Saturday
He’s entitled to a display of this nature and will no doubt return to the peak of his powers sooner rather than later.
BURGESS UNDER PRESSURE
Some of the abuse that went Christian Burgess' way on social media after Pompey's 2-2 draw with Wycombe overstepped the mark.
Fans berating him behind screens would likely not dare do similar to his face if they ever ran into him in public.
But the centre-back’s nudge on Fred Onyedinma inside the box ultimately meant Pompey surrendered top spot in League One.
Just two minutes after Brett Pitman thought he’d delivered the Blues a victory, Wycombe were back level.
Granted, referee Craig Hicks’ decision to award Wycombe a penalty was a soft one.
But Kenny Jackett had no issue with it, with Joe Jacobson sending the effort home to grab Wanderers a point.
Burgess’ overall display was impressive. He handled Adebayo Akinfenwa well, rarely allowing the striker to utilise his strength and power.
But a second key error in as many home games, following his misjudged header that led to Shrewsbury’s goal in the 1-1 draw, means his starting spot now looks vulnerable.
Jack Whatmough has returned to full fitness after his hamstring injury.
He and Matt Clarke was Jackett’s favoured centre-back pairing at the start of the season, before the academy graduate left the game early against Plymouth.
Burgess was confined to the substitutes’ bench during that period and was only granted his opportunity following Whatmough’s injury.
The Gosport ace wasn’t included in Pompey’s squad to face the Chairboys, instead spending the morning at the club’s Roko training base before watching from the stands.
However, Whatmough’s chances of winning his berth in the starting XI have now been significantly bolstered ahead of this weekend’s trip to Rochdale.
If Jackett had a close call to make regarding the 22-year-old and Burgess, it’s now a lot easier to make following the draw with the Chairboys.
While Ronan Curtis disappointed on the left, Jamal Lowe conjured up two moments of magic on the opposite flank.
The winger provided assists for Gareth Evans and Brett Pitman’s goals with inch-perfect crosses from the right.
Neither scorer could really have missed from point-blank range.
The hard work had been done by Lowe to tee both efforts up.
For Pompey’s equaliser, the winger's first-time ball picked out Evans, who headed home from inside six yards.
And it was Lowe’ brilliance again that provided Pitman with his third goal of the season.
Despite being under pressure, the former Hampton & Richmond ace’s clip to the back post put Wycombe keeper Ryan Allsop in no man’s land, allowing Pitman to pounce.
Lowe now has five goals and three assists this term as he continues his hurtling progress.
If he maintains his form, he looks certain to surpass the six goals and seven assists he registered last campaign.