Danny Cowley joy at Portsmouth first half show against Shrewsbury - but improvement required

Danny Cowley hailed Pompey’s first-half masterclass – but admitted they still have plenty to learn.

Saturday, 27th March 2021, 6:13 pm

Goals from Marcus Harness and John Marquis capped a wonderful opening 45 minutes to give the Blues a 2-0 lead over Shrewsbury at the break.

However, Nathanael Ogbeta’s fine solo goal for the Shrews reduced the arrears on 52 minutes.

Cowley’s men then had to negotiate the final 23 minutes with 10 men – and did so superbly to claim today’s 2-1 success.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Danny Cowley believes Pompey's second-half display shows they still have much to learn. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

It signals successive victories to the start of the Cowley brothers’ Fratton Park careers.

Yet he insists there’s much for his fifth-placed side to learn.

Cowley told The News: ‘It was a really good first-half performance, we were able to play with a really good level of control.

‘We got good dominance in the first half and I was certainly pleased with the goals we scored.

‘Credit to Shrewsbury, in the second half they changed their system and went to a 4-3-3. We don’t quite have the answers yet as a group to get control of that system.

‘We’ve done a lot of work this week, we knew we were playing against a team that like to fill the middle and like to sit deep.

‘So we knew it would be about getting quick switches of play and then trying to penetrate down the sides and get some combination play down the sides of the pitch.

‘When the next problem came in the second half, we didn’t quite have the tactical solutions because, as a group, we are really new and haven’t got to that yet.

‘We would have learnt a lot today. When you play against that 4-3-3 and three forwards, the full-backs have to run their wide players off and then you can get a 2v1 with the centre-half against their number nine.

‘When you can do that, you can force them back to a 4-5-1 and get some territorial advantage.

‘It’s no good us knowing that, the players have to know that – and that comes from time, rehearsal and practice.

‘We have got to work towards that.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

The News has launched a subscription offer which gives you unlimited access to all of our Pompey coverage, starting at less than 14p a day.

You can subscribe here to get the latest news from Fratton Park - and to support our local team of expert Pompey writers.