A Portsmouth conundrum with no answers - the shocking deep-rooted issues wrecking season after Ipswich Town debacle

Pompey have no answers in how to improve following last night’s defeat to Ipswich Town.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 4:00 pm

That’s the thoughts of The News’ Pepe Lacey who believes the Blues were simply not good enough at Fratton Park last night.

Paul Cook returned to PO4 and registered his first victory over his former employers, as Danny Cowley’s side delivered an abject performance.

Boos rang around Fratton Park last night as the visitors ran riot in the second half, when goals from Sone Aluko, Conor Chaplin, and Wes Burns added to Macauley Bonne’s opener.

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Speaking on the latest edition of the Pompey Q&A follow the defeat, Lacey offered a damming verdict on Cowley side.

Q: Thoughts on today’s game…

A: It was absolutely shocking really. It was disappointing again, I was there at Rotherham on Saturday and witnessed the second half collapse and today it was progressively bad. There was nothing really going on attacking wise and defensively, I don’t know what it was.

We saw Gavin Bazunu make two more mistakes like he did against the Millers and he may need to bring in Bass for Saturday. There’s not really a lot to say after that because it was just all over the place. Dreadfully bad and poor in all areas of the pitch.

Pompey registered only two shots on target against Ipswich Town last night. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages

There was nothing going forward or in defence. Take a look at their fourth goal, Pompey were so open and allowed Ipswich to run through and tap it in. That shouldn’t happen if you want to be a high end League One team.

Pompey have a lot of issues at the moment. There’s no fit centre-half other than Sean Raggett and John Marquis can’t score. But if you take the latter off you only have George Hirst who also can’t score and hasn’t proven himself in League One.

There’s no answers to Pompey’s problems at the moment.

Q: Why do the Blues seem to capitulate after half-time?

A: I can’t put my finger on it. We looked alright in the first half, but Gavin Bazunu’s mistake again proved costly. It’s strange because Pompey have a solid starting XI and played okay in the first half but died off in the second.

One moment Pompey look good then they die off. We saw it on Saturday when Rotherham overran Pompey and Ipswich did the same tonight. There’s no answers and there's real questions as to what is going on.

Do the players not trust Cowley? I don’t think anyone really knows. What would sacking Cowley really prove?

Admittedly he has made a few system and player changes that haven’t worked. The club changed the manager in March, but that hasn’t answered the questions as Pompey are still bad now.

The responsibility needs to fall at the players sooner rather than later because questions aren’t being answered.

Q: With the defensive frailties, is it time to go back to a back four?

A: Pompey have conceded 10 goals in a week in all competitions. That shouldn’t happen, really. At the start of the season the Blues played a 4-2-3-1 and didn’t concede for three games but it’s all gone down hill.

Yes Pompey weren’t scoring goals at the beginning of the season, but we were winning games so is it time to revert back? They need to keep clean sheets at the moment and that’s where they're really falling hard.

Q: Do Pompey have a personnel issue at the back at the moment?

A: That’s got to be the reason they’re conceding so many goals. There can’t be any other answer as there’s not many options for Cowley to pick. He hasn’t got a lot of squad depth but there’s also no real quality.

I keep alluding to it, Pompey have a good starting XI. It was arguably their best side available out there at the moment.

Mahlon Romeo, a high-end Championship player, Shaun Williams, experienced in the Championship, Joe Morrell, a Wales international, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Championship player, Marquis, proven League One goalscorer but it’s not working now.

Q: What did you make of the reception Conor Chaplin received?

A: Conor Chaplin is a fan’s favourite down here and is liked by all Pompey fans. Whenever his name is mentioned they love to hear it.

He reciprocates the love as well and today showed that. It was one of my highlights and it wasn’t part of the match.

Q: Only two shots on target in the match for the hosts, is it good enough?

A: No. When both teams are struggling like the two were going into the game, you’ve got to be more dominant especially at home. Two-weeks ago Pompey ran Sunderland over 4-0. I know it was wet but there was proven quality in that team, and it was the exact same team named for tonight who were done 4-0 by Ipswich.

What more can you say? There’s so many things wrong with the team at the moment but no one knows where the answers are. Going forward, Pompey are going to struggle on Saturday.

Q: Accrington away next followed by a difficult run. Do you think Pompey will respond?

A: Accrington away is a really tough game. I distinctly remember Pompey’s 4-1 loss there in December 2019. The Blues never play well there as it’s a notorious bogey ground.