A good point in isolation as Portsmouth show things are coming together at Blackpool

Sports writer Will Rooney picks out the talking points from the 1-1 draw with Blackpool on Saturday...

Monday, 2nd September 2019, 11:00 am
Updated Monday, 2nd September 2019, 3:01 pm
Pompey's players applaud the 1,816 travelling support following their 1-1 draw at Blackpool. Picture: Paul Thompson/ProSportsImages

A good point in isolation

Sporadic boos rang out from the away section at the final whistle at Bloomfield Road.

They were nowhere near as deafening as after the 3-3 draw with Coventry – but nonetheless some of the Fratton faithful were frustrated only a draw was yielded against Blackpool.

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Pompey dropped points from a winning position for a third success League One game and they’ve picked up just one win in five.

It’s been a stuttering start to the campaign, carrying over from how disappointing last term finished.

However, in isolation the result against Blackpool represented a good point for the Blues.

The high-flying Seasiders have yet to taste defeat in the division. There’s a strong feel-good factor around the club with the summer takeover, the arrival of Simon Grayson as boss and the new players they’ve recruited.

Marcus Harness celebrates his goal against Blackpool. Picture: Paul Thompson/ProSportsImages

In truth, Blackpool look an outfit who’ll be competing for a a play-off berth this term.

A draw was a fair result, one that shouldn’t be scoffed, although Kenny Jackett will understand his side need to start delivering wins on a consistent basis.

Signs things are clicking

There was a 20-minute spell in the first half at Bloomfield Road when Pompey were rampant.

Andy Cannon impressed against Blackpool. Picture: Paul Thompson/ProSportsImages

After Marcus Harness opened the scoring, the Blues continued to be the side on the front foot as they searched to double their lead.

John Marquis was rewarded for his harrying, winning possession and flashing a deflected effort just wide before Harness had a header saved.

Andy Cannon was a pest in the engine room, wriggling a ball to a foraying Christian Burgess inside the area but he couldn't quite adjust his feet in time.

Cannon also linked well with Harness, the pair’s lower centre of gravity being able to swiftly manoeuvre the ball.

And there was one delightful reverse pass Brandon Haunstrup played to spot the run of Ben Close down the flank.

During that period of the game, Kenny Jackett’s troops excited, playing high-octane football that supporters have craved.

Fans have often being critical of Pompey’s style in the past but there could have been few complaints at that time.

With eight new faces arriving – four of who started in the north west – things might take a bit longer to fully click but there’re encouraging signs.

A controversial change – but one that made a difference

Gareth Evans cut a bemused and frustrated figure when he discovered he was being replaced in the 65th minute.

Despite coming on as a substitute 25 minutes earlier, the fans’ favourite was sacrificed for Ellis Harrison.

Evans had been introduced on 40 minutes for Marcus Harness, who'd limped off with a thigh strain.

Harness had again been the Blues' chief attacking threat, a constant menace down the right flank.

His injury meant the visitors lost their impetus and Blackpool came out in the second half on the front foot, with Armand Gnanduillet notching the equaliser.

Kenny Jackett felt he needed an extra forward on to shift the momentum back to his side.

Harrison’s presence, coupled with Anton Walkes’ encouraging impact after a tough period, allowed Pompey to again start threatening Blackpool.

John Marquis missed a gilt-edged opportunity as the Blues finished the team on the ascendancy.

Jackett quite rightly received criticism for bringing an extra defender against nine-man Coventry.

Yet, although it was harsh on Evans – who through no fault of his own couldn't impact the game – the boss’ changes at Blackpool were positive.