A decent point against Peterborough but one Portsmouth could look back on with regret

Sports writer Will Rooney assesses the talking points from Pompey's 2-2 draw with Peterborough...

Sunday, 8th December 2019, 9:49 pm
Updated Monday, 9th December 2019, 6:41 pm

A decent point – but one that may be rued in long run

Make no bones about it, this was a decent result for Pompey.

Most supporters would have snapped it up before kick-off, happy to settle for a point against a Peterborough side who've outscored every other side in League One this campaign.

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But perhaps further down the line, the Blues may rue a missed opportunity.

For starters, the visitors were missing six first-team players, including the mercurial Marcus Maddison due to illness.

Pompey were unable to take advantage, however.

While they had more shots, more efforts on target and shaded possession, the score was deadlocked at full-time.

Pompey dejected after Ivan Toney's opening goal for Peterborough. Picture: Joe Pepler

Ultimately, it was two poor bits of defending which cost the Blues, although John Marquis and Ronan Curtis both missed golden chances to rectify the mistakes at the other end.

Frustratingly, a win would have moved Kenny Jackett’s men to just one point and one place off the play-offs, leapfrogging Fleetwood, Rotherham and Oxford in the process.

The promotion race could come down to fine margins at the end of the campaign and this might be a result pinpointed if things don't go in Pompey's favour.

Central defence again a talking point

It’s been a perennial issue that continues to hamper Pompey’s promotion bid.

Central defence remains something of a problem position and an area yet to settle down since the loss of Matt Clarke to Brighton in the summer.

Christian Burgess has been the mainstay to date, enjoying a fine campaign overall.

Currently it's Oli Hawkins who is hisfavourted partner, converted from a striker into a makeshift defender.

The former Dagenham man was at fault for Ivan Toney’s opening goal. He badly sliced Dan Butler’s cross and left the unmarked striker to slide home from close range.

In fairness to Hawkins, he bounced back from that miscued clearance. There was one run threatening run from Idris Kanu that took a well-timed sliding challenge to snuff out the danger.

But there'll undoubtedly be a post-mortem into the second goal when Mo Eisa was left in all sorts of space to nod home on 72 minutes.

Sentiment among large contingents of fans is the experiment to turn the marksman into a centre-half isn't working.

Despite five wins and a draw since his injury return at Harrogate, Hawkins has given a penalty away against Rotherham and survived a big shout against Altrincham.

Given that Paul Downing was handed a three-year deal when arriving in June, Kenny Jackett clearly rates him.

He may get the nod to replace the suspended Burgess at Accrington – and will no doubt relish the chance to stake a claim for a regular place in the team.

If he doesn’t, Raggett will also waiting in the wings.

Jackett taking right steps to winning back detractors

Things have got significantly rosier after a lacklustre start to the season.

Following Pompey’s defeat to AFC Wimbledon in October, they sat just two points above the relegation places.

In the Kingsmeadow dugout that day, Kenny Jackett was firmly in the firing line, with many fans calling for his head following a stoppage-time defeat.

Not only that but performances were disjointed and many supporters bemoaned the lack of entertainment they were subjected to.

Fast forward to the present and Pompey are yet to lose in the 10 matches that have followed.

That run has included positive performances in a 1-1 draw with Oxford, the 3-2 defeat of Rotherham and now the stalemate with Peterborough.

All three should be in and around the top six come May and it underlines the Blues are capable of mixing it with the best in the division.

While the Pompey boss hasn’t emphatically won back all of his detractors, he’s made the right steps towards doing so.