Gaffer: Sunday League players would have put in better crosses than Portsmouth against Sunderland

Gaffer for a Day, Brooke Smedley, aged 22 from Drayton, dissects Pompey’s 2-1 defeat at Sunderland...

Sunday, 18th August 2019, 6:00 pm

What are your thoughts on that?

We played really well other than two defensive mistakes, it was one of our better performances of the season so far.

In the first half we absolutely dominated, with Sunderland picking up the pace a bit in the second, but we deserved more.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Gaffer for a Day, Brooke Smedley, made Marcus Harness his man of the match against Sunderland. Malcolm Mackenzie

At times we won’t perform well and pick up results, Saturday was one of those days, although our crossing was really poor.

A lot of Pompey fans are quite fickle, there is no way to please some people, but overall I thought we played well.

You mentioned crossing the ball?

We couldn’t cross a ball at Sunderland to save our lives. There was not one set-piece which came into open play and caused danger.

It’s a shame because against Birmingham every delivery was promising – but on Saturday they were straight down the keeper's throat or high and wide.

Even when Gareth Evans came on there was not much improvement.

It’s a pet peeve of mine when players can’t beat the first man from the corner. Sunday League players could have whipped in better deliveries.

Who was your man of the match?

It has to be Marcus Harness, he has such attacking drive. Whereas some people get on the ball and beat their man, he will probably do it twice over.

At Sunderland he was a lot better than in his first game at Shrewsbury, when he was a little jittery.

I thought he linked up well with John Marquis and he’ll be really good for us this season, potentially 10 goals and 10 assists.

Another who impressed me was Andy Cannon, he gave so much and hustled the game. He’s come on in leaps and bounds, he must be one of the first names on the team sheet.

What did you make of Anton Walkes' display?

He needs something needs to happen with him, hopefully Saturday saw a little ignition go off in his mind.

If I was Walkes and replaced at right-back by a central midfielder then it would occur to me that I needed to improve.

He’s an average player and was exceptionally poor at Sunderland. Given how McCrorie did and with James Bolton coming back, there is pressure on him.

It is about how to respond to something like this, it can make or break a player, we’ll see how Walkes comes back.

Craig MacGillivray 6

Anton Walkes 5

Paul Downing 6

Christian Burgess 7

Lee Brown 6

Tom Naylor 7

Ben Close 6

Andy Cannon 7

Marcus Harness 8

Ronan Curtis 6

John Marquis 7