Embarrassing second-half collapse condemns Portsmouth to Rotherham United thumping

A second-half collapse sent Pompey spinning to a dreadful 4-1 thumping at Rotherham United.

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 4:55 pm
Pompey were thumped today at Rotherham (Photo by Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com)

Three goals in eight minutes after the break and some embarrassing defending condemned the Blues to a comprehensive defeat against the in-form Millers.

Michael Smith enjoyed meeting his former side as he helped himself to two goals, the second a backheel following a dreadful Gavin Bazunu error – after a peach of a 20-yard leveller from Marcus Harness.

Richard Wood’s header and Ben Wiles fourth then buried Danny Cowley’s side - and it could have been worse as the home side piled forward in search of more goals.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Pompey made one change as Connor Ogilvie came in for the suspended Ronan Curtis.

The visitors came out of the blocks quickly in a lively opening, with Shaun Williams seeing his long-range drive pushed over by Viktor Johansson as it moved in the air.

Gavin Bazunu was required to make a brave block to deny Rarmani Edmonds-Green after 18 minutes from Dan Barlaser’s free-kick.

Pompey were getting themselves into a number of threatening positions with Marcus Harness looking lively, but it was the final execution which was letting Cowley’s side down.

And that came back to undo them after 29 minutes, when Wes Harding was given space to cross from the right and Smith rose unopposed to nod home at the back post.

After getting some stick from the away fans, the former striker enjoyed the moment as he celebrated in front of the travelling Pompey faithful.

Pompey were level four minutes after the restart as Ryan Tunnicliffe robbed Dan Barlaser and teed up Harness, who swept home a peach of a finish from outside the box.

But three goals in eight minutes then buried the Blues in devastating fashion.

It was a howler from Bazunu which opened the floodgates as he spilled Ollie Rathbone’s long-range drive, and Smith was able to backheel the ball home at the second attempt.

Then a routine free-kick into the box was headed home by Richard Wood.

Pompey’s embarrassment was complete after 63 minutes, as Mickel Miller had the time to pick out Ben Wiles to sweep home the fourth.

The only relief was it didn’t get worse from there as Rotherham pushed forward in search of more goals.

Cowley’s side managed to see it to the final whistle without the scoreline being more comprehensive on another day to forget.