Ritchie shares Pompey pain

Former Pompey player Matt Ritchie holds off the challenge of James Keene at Dean Court on Saturday
Former Pompey player Matt Ritchie holds off the challenge of James Keene at Dean Court on Saturday
Jamal Lowe sends a shot towards goal in Pompey's match at Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

Plymouth 0 Pompey 0: they said what?

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Matt Ritchie admitted his sadness at Pompey’s continued demise.

But the Gosport youngster is adamant ‘good people’ at the club can inspire its recovery.

The 23-year-old featured at left-back in Bournemouth’s 2-0 victory over the Blues on Saturday.

It was Pompey’s ninth defeat in a row and 19th match without a victory – equalling two club records.

A far cry from the club Ritchie represented in the Premier League before departing for Swindon in January 2011.

A born-and-bred Pompey fan who came through the Fratton Park ranks, its plummet towards League Two is not lost on him.

But he is convinced, with the likes of Guy Whittingham and Andy Awford behind the scenes – his former coaches – they can lay the foundations for an encouraging future.

‘It’s a shame and hopefully can be sorted as soon as possible,’ said Ritchie.

‘There are good people at the club and I am sure it will.

‘I worked with Guy when I was there and feel for everyone at the club.

‘They are good people and people who love the club. Hopefully it will pick itself back up and see better days.

‘Awfs (Awford) was reserve manager when I was in the youth team. From a distance I was trying to get into his team.

‘The fans turn up in numbers, sing and support the team, while people like Guy and Andy have been there for years and years.

‘I don’t really remember watching them playing but, as my coaches, I’ve still got memories of that. They are good people and hopefully will be able to sort the situation out.

‘I can’t really get my head around what has happened. I don’t think anyone really knows how it happened. It’s a shame.

‘My mates and people I know who support Pompey still go down there.

‘It saddens me and everyone who has been involved in the club.

‘Anyone that goes there knows what it is like with great fans and that is the core of the club.’

It was a second appearance for the Cherries for Ritchie, following a £550,000 switch from Swindon last month. Pompey earned around £40,000 from the deal, courtesy of a sell-on clause.

The winger has been played as a left-back in both his appearances so far.

Nonetheless, he was still a key performer for the hosts, who had to wait until the 63rd minute to break the Blues’ resistance.

In the end, though, Bournemouth ran out comfortable winners to maintain their charge for promotion.

Ritchie added: ‘It was frustrating, especially the first half. They were tough to break down and came here with a game-plan.

‘It wasn’t ideal but we managed to break them down and get the three points. They had two good banks of four and the strikers worked hard as well, which made it tough, and that’s what teams are going to do now.

‘There was definitely a sense of relief. We said at half-time to get one and go from there.

‘I think Pompey looked dangerous on the counter-attack and had a couple of half chances, but we had good organisation and managed to see it through.’